Michael Rosenthal

Stunner: Ishida stops Kirkland in first round

So much for James Kirkland’s big plans.

Nobuhiro Ishida, a light puncher who was supposed to be just another step in Kirkland’s rise to stardom, put the favorite down three times and scored a stunning knockout only 1:52 into their middleweight fight Saturday in Las Vegas.

Ishida (23-6-2, 8 knockouts) put Kirkland down and hurt him with a short left about 20 seconds into the fight and Kirkland never fully regained his composure.

The end was bizarre. Ishida put Kirkland down for the third time with a hard right, after which he tried to get up but referee Joe Cortez held him down.

Kirkland (27-1, 24 KOs) obviously was in trouble but didn’t seem to be badly hurt, particularly after he got up and asked Cortez why he stopped it.

Still, a slugger who was deemed a future star must now rebuild. Presumably that would include some fine-tuning of his defense.


Photo / Nakoki Fukuda

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