Introducing... Issei Ochiai
For a second week in a row we're getting the chance to speak about a former amateur standout making their debut in Japan, with this week's "Introducing" looking at Celes Gym's new hopeful Issei Ochiai (0-0), who begins his career on August 3rd. The touted southpaw is tipped for big things at the Celes gym, managed by former world champion Celes Kobayashi, and it's not without good reason.
The Celes gym isn't one of the biggest, and it rarely promotes shows of it's own, but it has guided Ryosuke Iwasa to a world title and will be hoping to do the same with Ochiai, who like Iwasa is a southpaw fighter.
The youngster was a notable feature on the domestic amateur scene over the last few years, and ran up a solid, if unspectacular, 23-7 amateur record. That might not be a jaw dropping figure, but he was often fighting against more experienced foes and he managed to show real improvement as an amateur, coming second in the national championships in 2018 at the junior level,
Ochiai began fighting at a really young age, in fact he was still in elementary school when he began training under his father's guidance. He would later develop his skills enough to fight at a higher and higher level, reaching the quarter finals of major domestic tournament in 2017.
The youngster continued to develop his skills and created a bit of a buzz locally in Ehime Prefecture but nationally attention on him was relatively minimal, allowing him to build on his skills without too much in terms of major media attention. That means a lot of his amateur fights aren't actually available, but from the few that are we can see a really solid and sharp fighter.
From the footage available Ochiai as an amateur he's a sharp punching southpaw, with nice movement, good speed, nice variety to his punching and an excellent straight left hand. There were some clear areas to work on, often being a touch wide with his punches, as we saw against Riki Kawabe in one of his Inter-High School bouts. One of the notable features of Ochiai's amateur style was the he used distance, and fought at range with his footwork being incredibly smart.
Ochiai will debut as a Super Flyweight on August 3rd as he takes on Thai foe Lerdchai Chaiyawed. On paper this should be a formality for Ochiai, but in reality Chaiyawed is no push over and has already scored a win over Samartlek Kokietgym and put up two solid efforts in Japan. As a win it won't be a huge one, but it's a sign of intent from Celes and from Ochiai, who we expect to be moved quickly through the ranks.
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