Back on November 23rd we saw a really intriguing match up in Hyogo between Sho Ishida (28-3, 15) and Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2). The bout was a must win for Ishida, who did end up doing enough to earn the decision, and a massive step up in class for Ishii, who acquitted himself but came up short on the score-cards. The bout wasn't a big one in regards to the wider sport, but it was a compelling one, and a really good meshing of styles, matching a heavy handed pressure fighter against a quick, sharp mover.
The bout ended going the 8 rounds, and giving us a lot to talk about, and we'll look at some of those things here, as we give the bout the Five Take Aways treatment.
1-Ishida's jab is fantastic
With a tall long frame Sho Ishida has always been a fighter with the frame to be a fantastic outside fighter. Not only that is he long and rangy but he's also quick and has under-rated power. With that in mind it'll be absolutely no surprise to anyone that he has a good jab. In fact his jab is one of his 2 real weapons. The jab is his best weapon, his crutch and the shot he uses to create space, and and control range, when he doubles and triples it however it's really something special. When he uses the jab to set up the straight right hand however he looks sensational. The one thing he lacks is work rate, and his combinations using the jab and straight were far, far too rare. If you have a jab like Ishida does, with is sharp, piercing and stiff, you use it more, and launch that sneaky right hand more often!
2-Ishii will come again, do not that loss against him!
The 19 year old Toshiya Ishii put in a great effort, and we dare say that had the bout been in Kanto he'd have gotten the decision. He may have a "1" on his record, but that's not the end for Ishii and this will not be the last we'll see of him. Sometimes we talk about "good losses" and this was a good loss for Ishii, who put in a great account of himself, in a big step up, and showed he belonged at this level. However it also showed there was work to do, and a bout like this is a really good way to learn those things. He needs to move his head more, he needs to slip in and out of range better, and he needs to tighten up defensively. Those are technical areas he can work on, and are areas his team will get to work on before his next bout. There is absolutely no reason, at all, to write him off after such a good, competitive loss.
3-Ishida has no inside game
We've praise Ishida's jab and straight right hand, and they really brilliant, however they are, sadly, Ishida's only two consistent weapons. He really is lacking in terms of an inside game, and seems to have no real belief when it comes to fighting on the inside. We understand he's a tall, long, rangy fighter, and doesn't want to be on the inside, but we would still expect him to be able to fight up close. He really can't. Against an experienced shorter fighter, for example Roman Gonzalez or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, his inability to fight up close would be a major issues. He kept Ishii at range for long periods but Ishii still managed to get up close and have good success without Ishida have any answers, and that was an inexperienced Ishii. If Ishida is going to make a mark at world level he needs to be able to hold his own up close.
4-Credit goes to how Ishii dealt with his facial damage
The jabs and straight right hands of Ishida left Ishii's face a mess, he had a bloodied nose and a very nasty cut on his left eyelid. These were the type of injuries that could dent a young fighters confidence and even, potentially, lead to a stoppage. Ishii however dealt with them like they were nothing. The cut on his eyelid, at one point, seemed like it could end up really becoming a problem and stopping the fight, but really didn't show any discomfort at all from it, in what was a real sign of boxing maturity. Fingers crossed there won't be future issues with eye though we now know, after just 4 bouts, that Ishii is not afraid of giving his blood in the ring or fighting through adversity.
5-Masahiro Muroya wasn't needed
It's really rare to have a fight where a referee isn't needed but Masahiro Muroya was rarely seen here, with him not really being called on for more than a few moments late in the bout. We love to rave about the referees in this series, and if we got a chance we'd say something about Muroya, but it's hard to say anything at all about him. This was a clean, well fought contest, at a good pace, in great nature and as a result Muroya had what we suspect was one of the easiest fights he will ever have. From the little we saw of him, we liked his style, he let them work in the clinch and wasn't desperate to make himself part of the story. A minimalist job well done here Masahiro!
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).