The sport of boxing has a lot of forgotten fighters. We suspect that any fight fan can come up with a list of fighters they feel were forgotten despite either achieving a surprising amount or promised a lot and failed to reach the heights expected of them.
One fighter who certainly fits into that "Forgotten Fighters" tag is Koki Ishii (12-2-1, 7), who fought as a Flyweight in the late 1970's and early 1980's. He had 15 fights in the professional but the expectations on his shoulders when he turned professional were huge and he was matched like a super stud due to those expectations. The fast track lead to him challenging WBC Super Flyweight champion Chul Ho Kim in 1982, in Korea, but losing in 8 rounds before ending his career in 1983.
Sadly Ishii isn't a name you see mentioned a lot, but his potential to be a star was huge and he is in the conversation as one of the best Japanese fighters to never win any kind of title.
We're not here today for a full career break down, but instead to bring 5 midweek facts about Koki Ishii.
1-Ishii's father was a US soldier, his mother was Japanese.
2-As an amateur Ishii went a reported 57-8 (29) and was seen as a very special talent. He as a multi-time Japanese national champion but his biggest amateur achievement was winning bronze at the 1978 World Championship's in Belgrade. Due to his amateur talent he was regarded as a real hopeful for the 1980's Olympics. Amazingly Ishii's medal at the 1978 World Championship's was Japan's only medal World Championships until Masatsugu Kawachi won bronze at the 2007 Championships.
3-Sadly Ishii's Olympic dreams were ended due to financial issues. Rather than remain in the unpaid ranks he turned professional in 1979 due to the need to have financial security. It's been reported in Japan that Ishii's mother was ill and later passed away, forcing Ishii to help look after his brothers and needed the money to help support himself and brothers.
4-Unlike most prospects in Japan Ishii actually made his debut in an 8 round bout. After his debut all of his other bouts were scheduled for either 10 or 15 rounds, a real oddity in professional boxing.
5-Although Ishii never won a title, losing in a world title fight and twice failing to win in challenged for a Japanese title, he did score wins over reigning OPBF and Japanese Flyweight champions early in his career, both in non-title bouts. In his 5th professional bout he stopped the then Japanese Flyweight champion Kazumasa Tamaki, who had defended the belt twice. In his 7th bout Ishii took a decision over OPBF Flyweight champion Hong Soo Yang, who had also defended his belt twice.
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).