Today fans in Osaka got 4 title bouts though only one of them ended up being particularly competitive. That was the Japanese Flyweight title bout between unbeaten champion Sho Ishida (22-0, 11) [石田 匠] and his mandatory challenger Ryuichi Funai (24-7, 16) [船井 龍一].
The bout saw Ishida get off to a good start, making the most of his excellent jab. By round 3 however Funai had found an answer and was starting to land his own jab and do damage to Ishida, who suffered a cut above his right eye. By the end of the 4th round it seemed that Funai had done more than just work his way into the bout and had actually drawn level with the cards, following the 5th round, having Ishida in a very narrow lead, with scores of 48-47, twice, and 48-48.
Knowing he was really in the fight Funai picked up the pace in round 6 and upped his offense. With Funai throwing more Ishida was being given more opportunity to counter, which he did regularly with some very eye catching shots of his own.
Knowing it was still close going into the final round both men put it all on the line for a thrilling final 3 minutes, which was scored a 10-10 round by two of the judges. Despite a great effort from Funai it was all in vain with the judges scoring the bout 96-94 and 97-95 in favour of the champion, whilst the third judge had the bout even at 96-96.
Following the bout Ishida, who recorded the 5th defense of the title with this win, seemed to suggest that he was now looking to fight in a world title bout, and that this bout will serve as a great experience as he looks to become another Ioka gym fighter to claim a world title, following in he footsteps of Kazuto Ioka and Ryo Miyazaki.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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