NOTE - The following write up is of a bout being aired on tape delay on Fuji TV - As a result this may feature spoilers for those watching that show.
Earlier today Japanese fans in Zama had the chance to see the debut of 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (1-0, 1) [清水 聡], who kicked off his career in impressive fashion, stopping Korean In Kyoo Lee (3-3, 1) [이인규] in 5 rounds.
From the opening bell Shimizu looked calm and confident, taking the fight to Lee, a Korean Featherweight champion, and targeted the body before scoring a knockdown in the latter stages of the opening round. A second knockdown came part way through round 2 and it seemed only a matter of time before Shimizu was going to see off the Korean, however it was clear he was in no rush and wanted to test things.
In the 4th round an exhausted and hurt looking Lee was seemingly unable to keep upright but Shimizu continued to look fresh and like a fighter wanting more rounds than his opponent was capable of. Lee though was gutsy and continued going until being stopped in the final minute of round 5 as Shimizu turned it on again. The referee stopped the fight just as the towel was coming in, though in all honesty there has to be questions as to why the corner didn't pull Lee out earlier.
Shimizu stated after the fight that he wanted to continue to develop as a professional and win a world title. On this performance he has the potential to go all the way, however a lot of that potential is untapped and we're a long way from seeing whether he can make the most of the skills that made him one of Japan's most notable amateur fighters.
For Lee the journey back to Korea will likely be a relief, though one must wonder whether he has a career left in the sport given his terrible performance here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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