By Joe Koizumi
WBA interim 154-pound champ Nobuhiro Ishida (22-5-2, 7 KOs), 154, successfully kept his belt as he displayed his career-best performance, dropped Colombian challenger Oney Valdez (19-10-1, 14 KOs), 152.75, with a countering right to the temple in the tenth and pounded out a unanimous decision over twelve lopsided rounds on Tuesday in Osaka, Japan. The official tallies were: Sergio Caiz (US) 119-108, Silvestre Abainza (Philippines) 117-110 and Wansoo Yuh (Korea) 118-109, all for the 34-year-old Japanese speedster. The referee was Pinit Prayadsab (Thailand).
Valdez, also 34, took the initiative only in the fourth, and occasionally shifted to southpaw to frustrate the much taller champ in rounds four and five. But Ishida, with quick hands despite his lack of convincing power, accelerated his attack from the seventh onward and dominated the remainder with sharper combinations to confirm his initial defense.
It was surprising that Ishida, a Paul Pender stylist, showed not only his trade-mark jabs but such aggression in later rounds and scored a knockdown from the durable Colombian. In his last title-winning game with Marco Antonio Avendano in quest for the vacant interim belt, some people counted only ten right hands thrown by Ishida in comparison with his frequent jabs throughout the contest. Ishida thus acquired the WBA interim title just with his left hand.
Valdez, a black panther from Colombia, started his body attack from the outset, but Ishida kept on jabbing and throwing quick left-right combinations to the challenger’s face. Having been in command in five rounds of the first half, Ishida probably solved Valdez’s style and tight guard. The 6’2” Japanese turned loose from the seventh, landing rapid combos upstairs and downstairs with better precision.
Ishida completely swept the second half as he often battered Valdez, sometimes pinning him to the ropes with a flurry of punches. It was a very good shot that Ishida had the fading Colombian kneel down in the tenth, but Valdez furiously retaliated with all what he had, so the champ couldn’t go all out to follow up and finish him then. In the eleventh and twelfth sessions Ishida showed his still excellent hand speed to dominate them by a clear margin down the stretch. Valdez was streaming blood from a bad gash over the left eyebrow caused by an accidental butt midway in the eleventh, which apparently became a nuisance to his last surge.
Should you count Ishida’s flaws, there might be many since he is neither an attractive hard-puncher, nor colorful, nor so popular. But he has a good frame as Japanese with his advantageous height and reach, with which he upset then highly-ranked Argentine Javier Mamani to enter the WBA top ten last year.
Ishida is very much willing to participate in the WBA unification bout with Yuri Foreman who lately dethroned Daniel Santos, but the Japanese speedster is quite unknown and unheralded in the US. It may be really hard to book Foreman against Ishida here in Japan too, as his manager/promoter Hideo Kanazawa understandably cannot afford to cover the expected promotional cost to stage the unification bout. Ishida isn’t Kameda or Hasegawa.
Tonight we could re-evaluate Ishida with his fine performance even though Oney Valdez was a rather easy and slow challenger for him.
Promoter: Ioka Promotions.