SAITAMA – Heavyweight judo Olympic champion Satoshi Ishii has tasted defeat on his mixed martial arts debut, losing by a unanimous decision to another former judo star, Hidehiko Yoshida.
The 23-year-old Ishii, who won the gold in the men’s over 100-kilogram category at the 2009 Beijing Games, was unable to find any kind of rhythm in the three-round “Dynamite” event at Saitama Super Arena on Thursday.
Power-packed punches from Yoshida, the 78-kg judo champion at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, left Ishii wobbling in the first round and he also had points deducted for deploying improper kicking moves in the second.
Ishii, the third Japanese gold medalist in Olympic judo to switch sports following Yoshida and Makoto Takimoto, did not show up at the post-match press conference.
“The psychological damage of this defeat is big so he doesn’t want to comment,” Ishii’s management said.
Yoshida, 40, said, “Ishii is tough. He will get better with practice.”