This past Tuesday we had the chance to enjoy an A-Sign Boxing card live on YouTube. Among the many interesting bouts on that show as a bout between former Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Kai Ishizawa (7-1, 7) and former multi-time Japanese national title challenger Masashi Tada (13-8-3, 8).
The contest wasn't the most exciting, but was still an interesting contest, until Ishizawa went through the gears and made the referee step in in round 6. Until then we had seen an interesting bout which had seen Ishizawa start well and Tada battle his way back into the contest until Ishizawa finally started to land bombs.
With the bout now in the record books and having been watched back here are our five Take Aways.
1-The gameplan to beat Ishizawa has been set
We've been following Ishizawa for a while and it does seem like there is a clear gameplan to beating him. We've seen one fighter do it, and take victory, we've seen another do it and come up short, and we saw Tada show glimpses of it here. To beat Ishizawa you need to use a lot of movement, a lot of jabs, and not remain in position for long. Ishizawa is a pretty predictable fighter, he likes to be set, hates lateral movement, and struggles to get past the jab. Tada wasn't able to consistently replicate the success of Masataka Taniguchi of Yuga Inoue, but it's clear he had scouted those two and was trying something similar at times.
2-Ishizawa doesn't let his hands go enough
As a short pressure fighter Ishizawa's entire gameplan is based around getting up close and personal and working away combinations. He has the perfect set up to that with a real stiff jab, very fluid combinations and hurtful power. Sadly though there are times that he sleep walks through bouts. We've seen this as a few times but it was particularly notable here in rounds 3, 4 and 5. There were a number of times where he was in range and instead of throwing and letting leather fly he just tucked up, letting Tada getaway. He wasn't made to pay for it too much here, but at the higher levels he needs to feel confident enough to let his shots go. Ishizawa's best asset is his combinations on the inside, and we'd love to see a lot more of them going forward.
3-Tada had real success, but maybe too much
When Ishizawa was pressing forward and not doing we saw Tada build his confidence, have success on the outside and work well on the inside. In fact at times the veteran was making it look easy to out box Ishizawa, who looked timid, and maybe even too wary of what Tada was doing. There was some great work from Tada. Sadly for him however there was several times where he got too greedy and was made to pay. This happened pretty often, and was occurring as early as round 2. If Ishizawa had let his shots fly early there's a good chance he'd have closed the show earlier than he did.
4-Ishizawa's power is legitimately nasty
In round 5 we were desperate to see Ishizawa let his hands go. He had spent 3 fighting ultra-conservatively and it was genuinely frustrating to see him doing so little and being easily out worked by Tada. In round 6 Ishizawa then opened up and oh boy did he every prove his power was genuinely fight changing. In just over 100 seconds he rocked Tada, dropped Tada and then stopped Tada. It was a brutal display of clean, hard, combination punching. It looked natural, free flowing, destructive and fantastic. This is not the sort of thing we typically see from Minimumweights or Light Flyweights. This young man has fight changing power, he just needs to use it more!
Just to add to this, this was only the second time someone has stopped Tada, who is well known in Japan for his toughness!
5-There are some great bouts to make at 105 and 108 in Japan
Ok this is quite an Ishizawa centric 5 Take Aways article but it's hard not to not see just how many great bouts there are out there for him. For example who wouldn't love to see Ishizawa in with Tsubasa Koura, Katsuki Mori, Ginjiro Shigeoka, Yudai Shigeoka, Masamichi Yabuki, Ryu Horikawa, Shokichi Iwata or Reiya Konishi? We understand some of those guys won't be on a collision course any time soon but some of the bouts we could see Ishizawa in in the coming years look amazing!
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).