The Super Flyweight division may not be one of the most attractive division's in boxing but it is one that looks like it is heating up and becoming interesting after a few barren years. Much of that excitement has come from the emerging generation of fighters such as world champion Naoya Inoue, the fast rising Takuma Inoue and Hong Kong star Rex Tso.
As you can tell from those names, much of the excitement has come from Japan. Another young Japanese fighter receiving rave reviews is current Japanese champion Sho Ishida (18-0, 10), an Ioka gym prospect who looks set to progress on to the world title scene soon. Aged just 23 he's wonderfully talented, young and part of the excellent Ioka stable which boats a number of world class fighters, such as Kazuto Ioka, Ryo Miyazaki and Masayoshi Nakatani, with Nakatani himself fighting in a similar way to Ishida.
Although still just a prospect Ishida is a young fighter who has shown all the tools for major success. Physically he's a perfect fighter with a long and lean frame. He's managed to use that frame to his advantage and fights to his strentghs. This sees him boxing on the move, using his long and sharp jab and his powerful straight to establish the pace and distance of the fight. On the inside he can hold his own though looks a lot more comfortable on the outside.
On paper Ishida's record a little bit thin for a fast rising Japanese prospect. Saying that however he already holds notable wins over Yasuto Aritomi, Petchbarngborn Kokietgym and Yohei Tobe, with the win over Tobe being the best of the bunch and also the fight that resulted in Ishida beginning his title reign last August. Although the best win is the one over Tobe it was the win over Petchbarngborn that really caught the eye with the Japanese youngster stopping the world ranked Thai.
So far Ishida has defended the title just once, stopping the horrible over-matched Masato Morisaki at the end of 2014 in a predictably one-sided affair. On April 22nd Ishida will face his first real challenge since winning the title as he defends his belt against the heavy handed but flawed Taiki Eto (14-3, 10), who is hoping to claim a title at the third time of asking.
Eto, the twin brother of the all-action Flyweight Koki Eto, suffered his first professional loss less than a year after his debut, being surprisingly stopped in 148 seconds by Takeo Kuranaga, that loss saw Eto fall to 5-1 (3). Following that loss things were a bit stop-start. He returned to the ring 3 months after the loss and blew away Yutaka Kato and quickly followed that up with a stoppage against Shota Hashimoto before spending more than 2 years out of the ring.
Upon Eto's return to action following his long break he went on to recors 3 wins, including a notable stoppage victory against Konosuke Tomiyama and an 8 round decision against Isack Junior. Those two wins moved Eto towards his first title fight though he came up short against Arthur Villanueva in a bout for the OPBF Super Flyweight title, a bout that saw Villanueva being dropped twice and Eto himself being dropped once in an up-and-down affair. Just 3 fights later Eto was out boxed and subsequently stopped by Yohei Tobe in a bout for the Japanese Super Flyweight title.
Eto, like his twin brother, often looks crude, he's slightly more polished than Koki but lacks the chin of the former WBA interim Flyweight champion. As seen in his bout with Tobe, he can be out boxed, relatively easily by a fighter who uses their jab and can be made to look silly by a boxer-mover. He does however possess that nasty power which can bail him out when he connects. If an opponent can avoid the spiteful power of Eto they tend to be able to over-come the Japanese youngster, if they taste the power however bouts can swing in his favour.
Having seen how Tobe beat Eto and how Ishida beat Tobe there is only really one logical outcome here. Ishida will win. The real question however is whether Ishida takes a decision or goes for the early win. It's a hard there and depends on whether or not Ishida is intent on doing more than hist retain his title. If Ishida just wants to retain his belt the odds are that he will be happy to cruise to a clear decision win, if he wishes to make a statement then he will likely turn the screw and hunt a late round stoppage victory.
Prior to starting this site some of our team were involved in a website looking at the brightest and most exciting youngsters in the sport. That site spent a lot of time observing the development of prospects in various counties and one of those fighters was the then unbeaten Yohei Tobe (now 7-1-1, 4).
In his first handful of of fighters Tobe's match making was seen as exciting and adventurous. Within just 4 fights he had beaten Wandee Singwancha, Kohei Kono and Ryan Bito. He had the look of a man on the fast track to the top and although their was still a lot of flaws with him he seemed to have something special about him, something you couldn't help but admire.
Unfortunately it came crashing down for Tobe just a fight later as he was stopped by Ryo Akaho in an OPBF title challenge. From then on Tobe has been largely forgotten, not helped by his draw with the then unheralded Richard Pumicpic. Of course Pumicpic turned out to be rather good and a draw to the Filipino youngster now looks like a solid result, but it didn't at the time.
Those early fights of Tobe showed some great promise and some major flaws. Firstly he is talented, brave and has amazing heart. Unfortunately he's often too brave, too open and defensively he's naive to say the least. He's often been happy to take one to land one and against some opponents that's been fine against Akaho however it wasn't such a good idea and he was stopped as Akaho had too much power for him.
Since the setbacks to Akaho and Pumicpic we have thankfully, see Tobe get his career back on track with a trio of victories though he steps back this Monday as he fights for the Japanese Super Flyweight title against the big hitting Taiki Eto (12-2, 9).
Taiki Eto, the twin brother of former WBA interim Flyweight champion Koki Eto, is another fighter who was tipped for major success early in his career. The Eto trio, Taiki, Koki and younger brother Shingo Eto, were described early in their careers as the "Okinawa Kameda's".
Although the Eto's have failed to fulfil their tag of being the Okinawa Kameda's they have still got a lot of time left to improve and become genuine starts. That journey to stardom however will require some great victories and fantastic performance, such as a win here for Taiki.
Whilst Tobe has got wins over Kono, Bito and Wandee it's hard to ignore that Eto himself has some notable results including stoppages over Konosuke Tomiyama, Isaack Junior, Ali Rochmad and a very hard fought loss to Filipino Arthur Villanueva.
In those wins we've seen Taiki often throw boxing formalities out of the window and instead turn fights in battles trying to out man his opponents in all out wars which make for some great action fights even if they are likely to see Taiki have a somewhat shortened career.
Going in to this Tobe is the #1 ranked Japanese Super Flyweight whilst Eto is the #2 ranked fighter as they meet for the title recently vacated by Teiru Kinoshita. In theory the ranking would make Tobe the favourite though we're going to be favouring Eto in what promises to be a wild and crazy war. We expect both to have their defensive issues taken advantage of, we expect to see both throw a lot and take a lot, though the difference will be the power. Taiki simply hits too hard to take repeated shots from and for Tobe this is an issue. Unless Tobe has been working incredibly hard on defence we can't see him lasting out the storm that Taiki will rain down on him early on.
Expect this to be a thrilling and exciting battle but a short lived one before we have an OPBF Light Welterweight title clash between Keita Obara and Jay Solmiano in a bout that could be just as exciting.
(Poster courtesy of http://danganboxing.com/)
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.