Are We Witnessing The Decline Of Kosei Tanaka?

Kosei Tanaka Delivers Lackluster Win Over Sho Ishida. Has He Peaked?

Kosei Tanaka waves to the crowd as he enters the ring
Kosei Tanaka

Kosei Tanaka Delivers Lackluster Win Over Sho Ishida. Has He Peaked?


Kosei Tanaka (16-1, 9 KOs) wanted to win impressively against countryman and ex-world title challenger Sho Ishida (29-3, 15 KOs), on December 11 at the International Conference Hall in Nagoya, Japan. That was far from the case. He struggled throughout and found it difficult dealing with the taller Ishida, who forced him to work hard and dig deep. In an entertaining battle, Tanaka won, but only by a close split decision (96-94 and 96-95 for Tanaka, 96-94 Ishida).

This was his first fight since a devastating eighth round TKO loss to current WBO world junior bantamweight champion Kazuto Ioka on December 31, 2020. Heading into that match, Tanaka said he was the future of boxing in Japan and looking to become a world champion in a fourth-weight division. Instead, the experience and savvy Ioka took him to school. After a shaky performance against Ishida, there could be cause for concern.

HAS TANAKA PEAKED?

During his world title reigns at 105, 108, and 112 pounds, the native of Nagoya was dominant and often spectacular in the ring. He boasted a style that was an exciting mix of aggression, boxing skills, and punching power that made him a favorite among smaller-weight observers of the sport.

In his last two outings, he’s looked nothing like the man who was a mainstay in the 3KingsBoxing Top Ten fighter rankings. One now wonders if, at age 26, he has peaked. Or, is fighting at 115 pounds too much of a stretch?

Now, the defeat to Ioka was against someone that is arguably a future Hall of Fame fighter. So, there is no shame in that loss. The struggle with Ishida raises more eyebrows because it was to someone respectable but far from a world-beater. He was not considered a great threat.

However, Kosei is still a genuine talent, capable of bringing the form that had him so highly regarded. The ability is there to win another world title. However, some fans and pundits have their alarm bells ringing. For the first time as a pro, Tanaka is dealing with adversity. The question now is, does he have the fortitude to overcome?

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.2017 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.