Back on September 23rd 2019 we took a look at exciting Japanese Light Welterweight Aso Ishiwaki (then 6-2-1 (4), now 8-3-1 (6)) as part of our “Introducing” series. Since then Ishiwaki has had an up and down run, where he scored his best win, but also took a high profile beating on a major show and lost the momentum he had been building through 2019.
Before we take a look at what Ishiwaki has been upto recently we probably need to go back a little bit and look at what the now 21 year old hopeful had done earlier in his career.
Ishiwaki had turned professional as a teenager and was stopped on his debut, inside a round in 2017. He rebuilt well from that setback however and was unlucky not to win the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year, losing a split decision over 5 rounds against George Tachbibana, falling to 5-2 (3) with that loss. Despite losing in the Rookie of the Year final he had shown real promise, an aggressive mentality and a fan friendly fun style. In 2019 he really impressed in a 6 round war with Yoji Saito before making his international debut and stopping Sudtay Daungmala in Thailand.
That was pretty much where we were when we spoke about Ishiwaki in 2019, just days before he was set for his 10th professional bout, against Takuya Matsusaka in Toyonaka.
The bout with Matsusaka saw Ishiwaki do a number on his man, stopping Matsusaka in the 3rd round of a scheduled 6 rounder. Ishiwaki was one of the main draws for that card and his win kept the momentum going from his draw with Saito and his win in Thailand. It was, however, an expected win against a man who had already been stopped 7 times and had been blown out inside a round in a number of his fights. It was an easy win against someone who he was expected to defeat.
Less than 2 months later Ishiwaki returned to the ring in a genuine step up as he took on former Japanese title challenger Ryuji Ikeda. The 24 year old Ikeda had recently challenged Koki Inoue, losing in 5 rounds to Inoue, and had also managed to go 8 rounds with Darragh Foley before a cut caused a technical decision to be rendered. Although no world beater Ikeda was expected to give Ishiwaki a lot to think about and a genuine test. In the end however the power and physicality of Ishiwaki was too much and he stopped Ikeda in just 2 rounds, making what seemed like a statement to close out 2019.
Sadly 2020 struck and the momentum and buzz Ishiwaki had begun to create slowled, like that of many fighters, and he was unable to fight through much of the year. Part way through the year however an idea was floated online for Ishiwaki to clash with rising young stud Jin Sasaki. Originally the bout wasn’t announced, with Sasaki’s team keeping their man active. On November 23rd 2020 however the bout was officially announced, with the two men going face to face after Sasaki had stopped Tatsuya Miyazaki. Soon afterwards it was confirmed that Ishiwaki and Sasaki would clash for the Japanese Youth 140lb title on December 26th, as one of the main supporting bouts to the brilliant match up between Masayuki Ito and Hironori Mishiro.
On paper the bout between Ishiwaki and Sasaki looked like an amazing one, between two young fighters who could both punch and both enjoyed a fight. Sadly however Sasaki’s power turned out to be too much for Ishiwaki, who was dropped twice in the opening round before being taken out in round 3 in a truly impressive performance from Sasaki.
At the age of 21 the loss to Sasaki, who looks to be a special fighter, isn’t the end for Ishiwaki, though it is a very clear set back. The youngster, who wasn’t helped at all by inactivity, had a lot to like and he shouldn’t feel that he can’t rebuild from the loss. Thankfully the Japanese scene at 140lbs is one where he can be involved in a lot of fun bouts over the next few years and hopefully the loss doesn’t see him losing his confidence and will to fight good competition. If the Neyagawa Ishida Boxing Club, who manage Ishiwaki's career, do right by him in 2021 we could see him in fun bouts against the likes of Kentaro Endo, Yasutaka Fujita, Kodai Honda, Ukyo Yoshigai or Shogo Yamaguchi. If that happens he could well be on the verge of another Youth title fight in 2022.
Ishiwaki isn’t going to be a world champion, but he does have the potential and style to be a very, very fan friendly and TV friendly fighter and to us that is not something to be ashamed by. We want to enjoy watching boxing, and we always enjoy watching Ishiwaki. We will always tune in when Ishiwaki fights, and we hope he and his team can continue to get him televised and streamed opportunities as he is far too much fun to miss out on. Sadly though 2021 could end up being another tough year for the youngster given how Covid19 continues to limit the opportunities for fighters all over the world.
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