It's sad to think of just how many fighters have gone under the radar of the average boxing fan. There is so much talent and excitement out there that fans are just unaware of. One great example of a fighter who was talented and exciting, but is rarely spoken about, is Kozo Ishii (31-4, 21). Ishii fought between 1995 and 2003 and multi-time world title challenger and an OPBF champion, with an exciting style and real charisma.
Whilst Ishii is over-looked, that doesn't mean he should be forgotten, and today we want to shine a light on the former fighter form Nagoya, who was taken from the world far too early. During his career Ishii fought at world level 3 times, facing Nestor Garza, Yober Ortega and Oscar Larios for world titles. Although he came up short in all 3 of those bouts that doesn't take away from how good they were, at least the first two.
So for those unaware of who Ishii is, here are 5 Midweek Facts about Kozo Ishii.
1-Ishii attended Aichi Reimei High School, sadly the school doesn't have many notable students other than Ishii, though there was two professional baseball players and actor Masami Yamamoto.
2-Like many Japanese boxers from the 1990's and early 00's he was inspired to box thanks to Joichiro Tatsuyoshi.
3-Although Ishii came up short in his world title bouts he was still able to leave an impact on the sport. His 1999 bout with Nestor Garza was selected as the best match of the year in Japan, and what a great fight it was. It's worth noting he was also supposed to face Antonio Cermeno in 2000, before Cermeno ended up in legal trouble, resulting in Ishii battling Yober Ortega for the WBA "interim" Super Bantamweight world title.
4-In 2004 Ishii had planned to face off with Yoshikane Nakajima, in an attempt to reclaim the Japanese Super Bantamweight title. Sadly those plans were scrapped when Ishii was forced to retire due to a herniated disk in his back. He was less than years old at this point, but this wouldn't be the only tragedy in Ishii's life
5-After retiring from in ring competition he opened the KOZO BOXING FITNESS GYM, in 2004. Sadly he wasn't unable to get the gym well established as he passed away only a few years later in a traffic accident, in 2012. He was just 34 at the time. His death came only days after he had promoted a show, and spoke about being able to take a break on his blog.
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).