Home News Toshiaki Nishioka vs. Rafael Marquez Fight Preview and Prediction

Toshiaki Nishioka vs. Rafael Marquez Fight Preview and Prediction

Photo Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Japanese world champion Toshiaki Nishioka looks to continue his high-flying ways, as he comes to Las Vegas to face former champ and standout Rafael Marquez. Nishioka looks to be one of those rare Japanese champions. He is unusual in that he is still reigning in his mid-30’s and also because, unlike many of his contemporaries, he is eager to prove his worth abroad. Marquez, meanwhile, drops down to 122 pounds after a failed title try at featherweight. At least he seems to have given himself a chance to reclaim some glory.

  • Date: Saturday, October 1, 2011
  • Site: MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Title: WBC Super Bantamweight Title: 12 Rounds


Photo Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Nishioka: The 35-year old Nishioka stands a shade over 5’6” with a 68-inch reach. His record stands at 38-4-3 (24 KOs) in a career that began way back in 1994. The Tokyo resident is making the 6th defense of a title he won in 2009.

Marquez: The 36-year old stands 5’5” with a 68-inch reach. His record stands at 40-6 (36 KOs) in a career that began in 1995. With his last 4 fights at featherweight poundage, Marquez is dropping back to 122—the same division where he fought Israel Vazquez in a historic trilogy.


Nishioka: Slashing southpaw is exceptionally quick and savvy, utilizing a vast bank of experience to dominate his foes. His straight southpaw left is a dangerous weapon and he is a decidedly hard-edged fighter, only being stopped in his 2nd pro fight in 1995.

Marquez: With 36 knockouts in 40 wins, Marquez is obviously adept at applying his power shots. But the Mexico City-native is actually quite skilled, able to get his opponents to commit before lashing out with strong counters.

Capsulized Ring History

Nishioka: Didn’t come up the easy way—that’s for sure. It took Nishioka 14 years to be crowned a champion. The Japanese fought an amazing four title fights with longtime bantie kingpin Veeraphol Sahaprom from 2000-2004, going 0-2-2. Last loss to Sahaprom was over 7 years ago and he is unbeaten since. Among his triumphs as 122-pound champion include a road-knockout of Jhonny Gonzalez and a decision over classy British contender Rendall Munroe.

Marquez: Seemingly came out of nowhere in 2001 to defeat Mark Johnson twice and punch his ticket. Wins over unbeaten Tim Austin, Mauricio Pastrana, and a pair of stoppages over top contender Silence Mabuza set him up for a series of fights with Israel Vazquez. Broke Vazquez’ nose badly in the first fight, leading to a TKO win, but lost the next two in an unforgettable series of fights. Evened things at two wins apiece in 2010 with a stoppage of a worn-out Vazquez, before not answering the bell for the 9th round against Juan Manuel Lopez in a featherweight title fight.

Questions and Issues

Nishioka: At 35, when will Nishioka get old? Not to stereotype, but it’s difficult to name many Japanese fighters who have succeeded at this age. While he did stop Jhonny Gonzalez in Mexico, will fighting at MGM so far from home rattle him? Can he withstand Marquez’ combination of bone-crunching power and technical acumen?

Marquez: Following a long world title run, he had 3 brutal fights with Vazquez and suffered a knockout to JuanMa. Now 36, how can it even be possible that he’s anywhere near his peak? Did the Lopez fight show his power and thirst for a battle of attrition have waned? Or is that reading too much into a result over a much bigger opponent? Is this a better spot for him, fighting a less furious offensive fighter closer to his size? Is there just something about these crazy Marquez brothers where you simply can’t get rid of them?

Nishioka vs. Marquez Prediction

It seems easy to adopt the school of thought that says Marquez is finished. It’s a very sensible conclusion in light of the available evidence. Recent events in the sport, however, have conditioned us to observe the fact that when it seems that easy—it never is. Sure, Marquez is probably done. How can he not be? But if he were to rise from the ashes, why not against a guy almost his age who is fighting far from home?

Both guys are question marks. We don’t know with any certainty what Marquez has left. Nishioka has been cruising lately, but does one K.O. over Jhonny Gonzalez automatically make him a cinch against Marquez? Gonzalez, like Marquez, has power, but might not be as refined as “Rafa.” A win over one doesn’t guarantee a win over the other.

Nishioka is really an anomaly—a late-bloomer who became better after already logging a lot of years and fights in the business. The dye seemed cast, before Nishioka emerged from contender status to become the top 122-pounder in the business. When it’s all said and done, Marquez will be the one with the better career between the two, but they’re at different points in their career. Nishioka hasn’t lost in a long time and is riding high, while Marquez has dropped 3 fights in the past 4 years—two by knockout.

Look for a quicker Nishioka to evade Marquez for the most part, while zinging home enough hard left hand smacks to keep his opponent from becoming too eager. Marquez might give Nishioka a moment of crisis or two, but otherwise expect the Japanese star to swashbuckle his way to a unanimous nod.

Prediction: Toshiaki Nishioka by unanimous decision.