It's not too often that we see world ranked fighters colliding in a national title fight but that's exactly what Japanese fans have to look forward to on August 11th when they get a brilliant Super Flyweight title bout between two highly skilled and very promising young fighters.
In one corner will be the defending champion Yohei Tobe (8-1-1, 5), a man making the first defence of the title he won in impressive fashion earlier this year. Tobe goes into his first defence ranked in the top 15 by the IBF and with a lot of confidence courtesy not just of his team at the Misako Gym but also his results so far which have included wins over Wandee Singwancha, Kohei Kono and Taiki Eto.
Talented with nice speed, developing skills and credible power Tobe has strangely become one of the forgotten men in the Japanese scene. He started his career with sensational results then floundered before rebuilding to where he is now and another win in his first defence would likely move him into more world rankings and possibly even send him on to an OPBF title fight.
In the opposite corner to Tobe will be the unbeaten Sho Ishida (16-0, 9) of Ioka Gym. Ishida will be competing in his first professional title bout though has shared a gym with various championship level fighters, such as Masayoshi Nakatani, Kazuto Ioka and Ryo Miyaaki. He has also scored a very notable and highly impressive victory over Petchbarngborn Kokietgym, easily the most impressive victory on his ledger thus far.
Like Tobe, Ishida is a very promising fighter who seems to still be developing his enviable skills. Aged just 22 he appears to be the rising star of the Ioka Gym and has shown great skills, fantastic speed, under-rated power and a very sharp jab. Those skills have helped Ishida to a high world ranking with the WBA and presumably a win over Tobe would move him into contention for a shot at their belt in the next year or so.
Going in to the fight there is a lot of questions for both men and a lot on the line. In fact it's fair to say that this is the most important bout either man has been in and, aside from Tobe's loss to Ryo Akaho, this is the toughest bout either man has been involved in, and that's including Tobe's tough assignment with Richard Pumicpic.
For Tobe the question is how will he cope with the jab of Ishida. It's sharp, powerful and a really amazing weapon that he uses to great effect time and time again. The unbeaten man not only has a fabulous jab but he works off it amazingly well, throws it on the move and has shown that he can vary it's power and speed, a trick many fighters should make full use of. Tobe himself has nice movement though it's not quite looked as good as Ishida's movement which as really been great.
Whilst Ishida looks to be a better mover this is a big step up for him and, for the first time, he's facing someone who is not just talented but is actually his equal in many ways. Tobe, like Ishida, can hit harder than his record indicates, can box and move and can actually apply very intelligent pressure. The question of how Ishida copes with someone who is just as skilled is a huge one and we expect this to be the first time he is asked really serious questions.
Going in to the bout we dare say Ishida is the more gifted fighter, however we believe that Tobe's bouts with tougher opponents, such as Taiki Eto, Richard Pumicpic, Ryo Akaho and Kohei Kono will be the difference. He will know what to do when things aren't going all his way, something that Ishida hasn't ever had to face. With that in mind we are picking Tobe to win with a very late stoppage in a very good, highly competitive contest that brings out the best in both men.
For those lucky few who can get to the venue for this bout, you will also get the OPBF Light Welterweight clash between Keita Obara and Shinya Iwabuchi. That one looks to be special.
(Image courtesy of Danganboxing)
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.