We keep the Take Away articles coming this week, as there really was so many damn fights worthy of extra attention. One of those was the intriguing 8 round bout between former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (19-4-1, 8) and Kiyohei Endo (3-4, 3). On paper this was a totally pointless match up, but in reality this was a really, really interesting, competitive, compelling and even bout. Not only was it well fought, but it was also dramatic and with a hint of controversy.
With that said lets take a look at our Five Take Aways from this bout which took place on Saturday at Korakuen Hall.
1-Endo is far, far better than his record suggests
as is common place with this series we start with an obvious one and that is that Kiyohei Endo's record is very, very misleading. The talented Endo was a solid amateur before turning professional and losing to what was a freak show on debut in 2017. His second loss, to the brilliant Toshiki Shimomachi, came to a fantastic fighter before he had found his groove. Now he's looking like a much, improved fighter and his record is so misleading. We'll accept he's never going to become a world beater, but we wouldn't be surprised that, in the coming years, he goes on a long stretch of wins and earns a Japanese of OPBF title fight. There may well be no better 3-4 fighter in the sport today and write him off at your peril.
2-Takahashi is a million miles from another title fight
We suspect those who recognise Ryohei Takahashi's name to know him best for his loss to TJ Doheny in 2019 in an IBF world title fight. Since then he has returned to Japan and racked up a few wins but looks a long, long way from getting another title fight. In fact if anything he looks like he's on the way to being shot. He's never been the most elusive, but he has, typically, been very tough. Here we saw him being hurt a number of times, and it's very, very clear that the 30 year old is paying for his hard, and painful career. Sadly however we suspect he's being lined up for something, so don't be surprised if he gets a Japanese or OPBF title fight in the near future.
3-Endo unlucky with knockdown
In round 3 Endo had a knockdown scored against him which seemed incredibly unlucky. It seemed like he was off balance and pushed down, with Takahashi pushing the back of his head to send him down. This was really, really unfortunate for Endo, who didn't complain despite having a legit reason to complain.
4-The judging didn't reflect the bout
One thing that was really notable was how wide the score-cards were. We had this as a razor thin bout, with Endo perhaps even doing enough to nick it. This view wasn't shared by any of the judged, who had it 77-74, twice, and a frankly terrible 78-73. Don't let those scorecards confuse you into thinking this was a one sided bout. It really wasn't. It was super close and Takahashi really had to work for the win. Add that to the knockdown call and we really see this as Endo being very unlucky and Takahashi being very fortunate.
5-We still have no idea what the referee did in round 6
So for those that haven't seen this one, Takahashi was dropped in round 6. A count was started, and taken up by the referee, who then seemed to decide, mid-count, that it wasn't a knockdown ,called a time out and called it a slip...we think. If anyone know quite what this was a bout we'd be grateful at an explanation as this was just odd, and seemed to buy a tiring Takahashi a few extra seconds of rest just as he needed them.
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).