By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - In a shocking upset, Japan's Nobuhiro Ishida (23-6-2, 7KOs) destroyed previously undefeated James Kirkland (27-1, 24KOs) in the first round of their bout which was set for a catchweight of 158-pounds. Early in the first, Ishida dropped Kirkland with a hard hook as he was coming inside. Ishida continued the assault with a combination that nearly sent Kirkland through the second corner ropes.
Following the second knockdown, Ishida continued the beating with another combination that sent Kirkland down hard for a third time and referee Joe Cortez jumped in and stopped it. Kirkland had no defense, and did very little to move away from the punches. He was wide open and Ishida had a very easy time landing every single punch.