Kal Yafai vs. Sho Ishida

Kal Yafai vs. Sho Ishida
Kal Yafai vs. Sho Ishida

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By Jeff Aranow: Making his second defense of his WBA World super flyweight title, undefeated Kal Yafai (23-0, 14 KOs) easily defeated his mandatory challenger Sho Ishida (24-1, 13 KOs) by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Pincipality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

The judges scored the fight 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112. Those were very generous scores for Ishida, as he appeared to win only 1 one round at best. It was that kind of a fight. Yafai dominated throughout the contest. However, in the last 2 rounds, Yafai looked pretty depleted from the pace. Yafai still landed the better shots in the 11th.

As bad as Ishida looked throughout the fight, it’s shocking that the World Boxing Association had him ranked No.1 going into the Yafai fight. Ishida looked more like bottom 100 ranked fighter rather than a fighter that you would see at No.1. The WBA clearly dropped the ball when they rated Ishida at No.1 with their organization. Ishida just didn’t belong in the ring with Yafai, and he clearly didn’t belong ranked at No.1.

Ishida, 5’8”, had a 4” height advantage over Yafai, but he failed to utilize it properly. Ishida wasn’t letting his hands go until the 11th and 12th rounds, and by that point in the fight he was far behind on the scorecard. It was a hopeless situation for Ishida. He didn’t have the punching power to get himself back into the fight by knocking down or knocking out the 28-year-old Yafai.

As weak as Ishida’s punches looked, it was a surprise that he had any knockouts. Ishida came into the fight with a respectable 52% knockout percentage on his resume, but those knockouts had come against extremely weak opposition. Ishida hadn’t knocked out any quality fighters. He was stopping a lot of guys that were making their pro debuts. Ishida’s unbeaten record was built on beating 2nd and 3rd tier opposition. He didn’t beat any good fighters for him to get his high ranking.

”I want to look over the fight again,” said Yafai after the contest. ”I wasn’t too impressed with my performance tonight. I felt sluggish in there, but I got the win again. He was a very awkward opponent. Yeah, I would be happy,” said Yafai when asked if he wants to participate in the SuperFlyd2 card in early 2018. ”If I can get out in the spring, that would be great.”

Yafai missed with a lot of his punches, especially in the second half of the fight when he visibly got tired. The height and the reach of Ishida made it difficult for Yafai to land his power shots like h wanted to. Ishida was smart to stay on the outside as much as possible to keep from getting hit by Yafai’s best power shots. The slender stork-like Ishida had no power on his punches whatsoever. The only thing Ishida had going for him

Yafai had his way in rounds 1-6. Ishida threw very few punches in any of those rounds. There was absolutely nothing coming back from Ishida at all in those rounds. Ishida didn’t land one punch on Boxing News 24’ scoring of round 6. There was nothing coming from Ishida. He was frozen in that round, and just taking a beating from Yafai.

In the 7th, Yafai teed off on Ishida with beautiful pot shots to the head. Yafai was able to get close enough to land long rights and left hands. Late in the round, Yafai connected with a huge left to the midsection of Ishida. The punch landed with a loud whacking sound. As Yafai was walking back to his corner, he raised his right hand in celebration of having fought a good round.

In rounds 8 and 9, it was all one-way traffic with Yafai doing all the throwing and landing of punches. It’s unclear what Ishida was waiting for, as this was his big chance to fight for a world title and he wasn’t taking advantage of it. Ishida looked like he was afraid to throw shots. This was the big stage for Ishida, with him fighting a world champion in front of a large crowd of boxing fans. At the time Ishida and Yafai fought, the stadium still hadn’t filled to the full capacity of 78,000 fans like it did later on for the Anthony Joshua vs. Carlos Takam fight, but there were still a lot of fans there. Ishida did not look like he was mentally ready to fight hard.

In round 10, Ishida was dealing with a nose bleed. Like the first 9 rounds, it was another one-sided round with Yafai doing all the landing. I counted 3 punches that Ishida landed in the round, and those were weak shots, almost like jabs.

In the 11th and 12th, Yafai looked tired, and he wasn’t able to let his hands go like he’d done earlier in the fight. Ishida came on to outwork Yafai in both of those rounds. However, Yafai still landed the harder punches in the 11th and he deserved that round. In the 12th, Ishida definitely took that round with his higher work rate. Yafai looked too tired to get any zip on his shots.

Yafai said after the fight that he’s interested in competing in the SuperFly2 card in the U.S if his hands are healthy enough for him to compete. Yafai is interested in facing former 4 division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. It’ll be up to Yafai’s promoter Eddie Hearn if he can make that fight soon.

Other boxing results on the card:

Joshua Buatsi decision 6 Saidou Sall

Lawrence Okolie KO 3 Adam Williams

Frank Buglioni UD 12 Craig Richards

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