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Japanese Scene: Shimoda and Sasaki Heading Abroad, Ishida Looking at Big Fight

Japanese middleweight Nobuhiro Ishida is looking to land a meeting with champion Sergio Martinez (pictured).  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Japanese middleweight Nobuhiro Ishida is looking to land a meeting with champion Sergio Martinez (pictured). (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Sidney Boquiren has the latest boxing news and notes from Japan.  For more Japanese boxing updates, you can follow Sidney on twitter: RingwalkNippon@Twitter

Shimoda & Sasaki lead Teiken’s foreign invasion

As reported weeks ago, Teiken was working on plans to send several of their clients to fight abroad and it seems that the promotional powerhouse has finalized some of the bouts. Not only have they managed to set up aging warrior Motoki Sasaki with a date with Humberto Soto for the Mexican’s lightweight strap, but it also appears that they will have Akifumi Shimoda fighting in Atlantic City on HBO, July 9.

Shimoda (23-2-1, 10KO) vaulted into the #2 spot in Ring Magazine’s 122-pound rankings after knocking down Ryol Li Lee three times en route to a unanimous decision victory this past January. The 26-year old has had an up-and-down career and looked like he may have reached his limit before the breakthrough against Lee. The solid performance exceeded the expectations of many, and it will be interesting to see how he matches up with undefeated prospect Rico Ramos (19-0, 10KO).

The Teiken product will be breaking new ground once the fight is underway. Not only would he be the first Japanese pugilist to be featured on HBO, but Shimoda will be the first to defend a world title on the US mainland according to Sports Hochi. In addition, should he retain his crown, he would also be the first to successfully make the initial defense of his crown outside of Japanese borders. Though he does not have much experience fighting outside of his home country, Shimoda has fought once in Mexico and has spent time training in California.

Ishida contemplating both Martinez and Williams

As Scott posted earlier, discussions for a fight between Paul Williams and Nobuhiro Ishida are underway. Osaka Hochi confirmed that Ishida’s camp has received an offer for a September bout in Las Vegas, but a contract has not yet been signed. It appears there is still the possibility that the 35-year old challenges Sergio Martinez in July or August for the Argentinean’s middleweight crown.

Certainly Ishida deserves credit for his performance against James Kirkland, and it is great that he has lined himself up for one big payday after toiling for years in anonymity even when he held a belt. But it is hard to believe that Ishida would be competitive against either Martinez or Williams. He has a better chance at another upset with the later option, but unless the Punisher is a spent force after his two round debacle with Martinez, Williams overpowers Ishida with his physical superiority and activity. The fighter himself would prefer to take on the 160lb champ and claims that he is confident he would be able to beat either.

Frankly, outside of his surprising three-knockdown assault on Kirkland, Ishida is typically a technical boxer whose style is not so pleasing to watch. I’ll agree with Scott on his assessment should HBO actually approve this one – they’d be buying Paul Williams and not Williams vs. Ishida.

More Japanese boxing news after the jump.

  • Masayuki Kuroda stopped heavy-handed veteran Katsuhiko Iezumi on Monday to claim the vacant national light flyweight strap. The new champ dominated throughout the fight, scoring with hard left hooks and lefts to the body from the opening innings. The 24-year old forced the referee to intercede at 1:13 of the 8th round by rocking Iezumi with a straight right. Kuroda improved to 19-3 (13KO), while Iezumi, who had owned the regional version of the 108lb title last year, falls to 29-9-3 (19KO).
  • Nobuo Nashiro’s gymmate, Hirofumi Mukai hopes to add another respected name to his list of conquered opponents as he has scored a shot at OPBF 112lb beltholder Rocky Fuentes. In his last performance, the 25-year old prospect (5-0, 0KO) earned a wide decision victory over fringe contender Sonny Boy Jaro. Fuentes, Ring Magazine’s #8 flyweight, has looked particularly good since edging Masafumi Okubo for the title last March, and it will be a very tough match-up for someone with only five pro appearances.

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For more coverage of Japanese boxing, follow Sidney on Twitter: RingwalkNippon@Twitter

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