Sadly an illness would force him to miss the All-Japan Rookie of the Year and he'd then vanish from the eyes of fight fans for almost 2 years, training hard in America at the Mayweather Gym.
Today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Hiraoka return to the ring for the first time in 23 months, and despite some early nerves he shone. The return wasn't a high profile one but it was an impressive one as he dominated Looktam NP Boxing Gym (0-1) and forced a 3rd round TKO, with the referee needing to save the visitor.
Following the bout it seems a focused Hiraoka is wanting to make a name for himself both in Japan and in the US. Given his ability and US connections there is a good chance he could make his US debut next year on a notable card featuring Ohashi stablemate Naoya Inoue.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)