Shuichiro Yoshino’s hopes and dreams may have been incredibly lofty but the 31-year-old lightweight contender was convinced that they were very much achievable.
In a haste, Yoshino peeled himself out of bed, quickly packed his bags, and made the long trek stateside. Although his reward for being an undefeated contender was a showdown against Shakur Stevenson, Yoshino knew good and well that the opportunities, if he were successful, would be endless.
On April 8th, at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, Stevenson (20-0, 10 KOs) taught the Japanese native a lesson in the art of pure boxing. Known as one of the best technical operators around, Yoshino appeared to be on his way to losing a lopsided decision. However, his beating was only exacerbated in the middle rounds as Stevenson kicked his aggression up a notch.
Having tasted the sting of defeat for the first time in his career via sixth-round stoppage, Yoshino (16-1, 12 KOs) is anxious to put it behind him. Of course, he’ll first be forced to heal from his wounds and figure out what exactly went wrong. Nevertheless, once he’s given the green light, team Yoshino has an intriguing list of opponents they would love to share the ring with.
"He would fight anybody at 135,” said Kai Zama - translator and assistant trainer to Yoshino. “Isaac Cruz, George Kambosos.”
In all likelihood, the chances of Yoshino landing a showdown against either Cruz or Kambosos next remain slim. One name, however, that could be a distinct possibility, would be Keyshawn Davis.
Prior to Yoshino marching his way to the ring this past weekend, the former Olympic silver medalist attempted to steal the show. With Anthony Yigit proving to be nothing more than cannon fodder, the 24-year-old up-and-comer has claimed that in just two more bouts, he’ll be ready to take on the best of the best.
In the case of Yoshino, a showdown against Davis (8-0, 6 KOs) isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Ultimately, considering his lack of star power, Zama would rather eschew the young American while chasing down one of the lightweight division’s mainstays.
“I think so,” said Zama when asked if Yoshino would be willing to face Davis next. “He’s a great fighter. I don’t know what Top Rank wants to do with him. But I think there’s a lot of big names at 135. It would be a good opportunity for Yoshino to get one of those big money fights. I don't think Keyshawn is a superstar yet. I’d like Yoshino to get a good a payday for his next fight if he can.”