When you talk about Nobuhiro Ishida’s performance last Saturday against former undefeated fighter James Kirkland, his eyes grow big.
It was the best boxing performance on his career. Nobody knew about Ishida’s decorated amateur background (101-15) or his 23 wins with only eight coming from knockouts. But everybody will now remember how a lanky 6'1" fighter from Japan won a first-round technical knockout against the once feared and hard-hitting Kirkland.
It was a special win for Ishida not because he scored the biggest upset of the year, but because it was a fight that he needed to win to uplift the spirit of a nation devastated by a catastrophe.
The moment he raised his hands up in victory. He thought about all the people putting all their hopes on him. He thought about all the pains and hardships they have encountered.
Everything is now all worth it.
Ishida was the biggest underdog going to the fight, a sacrificial lamb whose fate was a mere punching bag or a sparring partner. He was brought in to boost Kirkland’s undefeated record.
However, someone must have fallen asleep and given Ishida a different script. Everyone already expected a knockout but nobody predicted it would come from the other side of the corner. Not with a 35-year-old fighter who may have been way past his prime and fights with a measly 35 percent knockout ratio.
We could never know if Ishida is a one-hit wonder or a future opponent to the division’s kingpin Sergio Martinez. However, even for just one fight and one magical moment, Ishida brought a smile to his grieving countrymen. An inspiration for everyone who no matter how big or how difficult life takes us, we never stop punching.
Japan needs a superhero and they are lucky to have one.