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Ryosuke Nishida ponders his future after stealing the spotlight on Cinco de Mayo weekend

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While much of the attention leading into the Cinco De Mayo holiday centered around two of boxing’s biggest stars such as Canelo Alvarez and Naoya Inoue, there was also action from Japan’s Ryosuke Nishida, who successfully unseated highly regarded IBF bantamweight titleholder Emmanuel Rodriguez.

The win saw Nishida advance from No. 9 and land at No. 2 at 118-pounds in the latest Ring ratings after dropping his foe and then gutting it out to hold off the spirited Puerto Rican’s charge at the EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, last Saturday.

“In order to win, I analyzed my opponent’s weaknesses and strengths, and practiced (accordingly),” Nishida (9-0, 1 knockout) told The Ring. “On the day of the match, I fought with a strong desire to become a world champion, and was conscious of giving everything I had done in practice.”

At the conclusion of 12 hard rounds, Nishida, who was the subject of a New Faces in The Ring’s August 2022 issue, lived up to that promise and emerged victorious by scorecards of 117-110 and 115-112 (twice) but had to walk through fire to do so.

Despite it looking like the 27 year old southpaw had suffered serious facial injuries, it seems as if they were more superficial.

“The swollen face can be caused by punches, but there were a lot of head-to-head collisions, so it swelled up,” he explained.

“Although I haven’t had any tests done at the hospital, I don’t think there is a fracture because the swelling has healed and there is no pain when I touch it. It was quite swollen, but a few days later, the swelling has subsided.”

Entering the fight Nishida, had tunnel vision and was solely focused on Rodriguez.

“I had a dream of beating strong champions and becoming a world champion,” he said. “I’m very happy that I won against a champion who is highly rated and said to be strong in the bantamweight division.

“All I was thinking about was beating Rodriguez, so I haven’t thought about the future yet, but I feel like I want to take a little break and aim even higher.”

And now he can enjoy the fruits of his labor with those closest to him.

“I didn’t have time to spend time with my family in the days leading up to the match,” he said. “I want to back to my wife’s hometown and on a trip to South Korea, so I cherish the time I spend with my family.”

Meanwhile, well-known Australian Mike Altamura, who was the matchmaker and advisor for the Muto Boxing Gym, will look at what opportunities there are for the new champion.

“I think for now a decent rest and some downtime to enjoy a crowning achievement,” said Altamura. “Then I will talk with his manager Takashi Edagawa to figure out the steps to come. It’s a fascinating, exciting era. All four world champions at 118 are Japanese!”

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].

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