This coming Tuesday fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get a very interesting Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight title fight, as defending champion Haruki Ishikawa (9-3, 7) takes on Ryuya Tsugawa (8-1, 4), in a brilliant match up, and a great example of the bouts we've been getting due to the Youth title in Japan.
Of the two men the more well known is Ishikawa. The 22 year old champion has been a professional since 2017, and reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2018, when he lost in the final to Yusei Fujikawa. He bounced back from that loss with a pair of wins, though then suffered back to back losses, losing in a 4 round thriller against Toshiya Ishii and a disappointing performance with Kai Chiba. After those losses it seemed he was faltering big time, before resurrecting his career last year with a big domestic win over Tom Mizokoshi for the Japanese youth title.
In the ring Ishikawa is somewhat crude, a little bit wild, but also naturally heavy handed, and when he lands he can really hurt people. He's also someone who has been developing his skills over the years. He can still be out boxed, and as we saw against Chiba, he can be put into his shell by someone who can box, moves and has some power themselves, but when he's on song he's very dangerous and not the type of fighter anyone at this level wants to get into a fire fight with.
In the opposite corner is a 21 year old challenger who debuted in 2018 as a Bantamweight and reached what is, essentially, the Rookie of the Year semi-final, losing to Yusei Fujikawa in the West Japan final. Since then he has bounced back with 4 wins, 3 by stoppage, and won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2019. Along with his recent winning run he has shown impressive development, not just with his boxing skills but also his power and his physical strength, settling in as a very solid Super Bantamweight prospect. Not only has he been in good form, but also scoring solid wins, beating Takeshi Takehara, in the 2019 Rookie of the Year final, and Hikari Mineta in his last two bouts, though has sadly been out of the ring since late 2020.
In the ring Tsugawa is a relaxed fighter, who has lovely fluidity with his shots and soaks up pressure well with some crafty subtle movements and counter shots. He looks to keep things at mid range when he can, but has got skills to counter up close and hits hard enough to get respect when he lands. He also seems happy to have a war when he needs to. Notably he is better at boxing, than fighting, but can do both. The big worry for him however, is that his chin is something of an unknown and it will be very interesting to see how he fares against a big puncher, someone like Ishikawa.
We can't help but think this is going to be a fire fight. Ishikawa loves a war, and Tsugawa seems happy to be dragged into one. Tsugawa is the better from a technical stand point, but Ishikawa is the bigger puncher, and our feeling is that Ishikawa power could be a major issue. When he lands he hurts people and if Tsugawa can be dragged into a war here, he could be in all sorts of trouble.
We suspect this will be an intense, action war, but a short one, and after 4 rounds or so Ishikawa's power will prove to be the difference maker, breaking down Tsugawa in a genuine thriller.
Prediction - Ishikawa TKO4
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.