The great Masahiko "Fighting" Harada [ファイティング原田] will long be remembered as one of Japan's greatest ever boxers, and in fact his name should be on any list of the greatest boxers, greatest Asian boxers, greatest Flyweights and greatest Bantamweights.
Today it was announced that his impact on boxing was so big that he will be honoured in this year's "Order of the Rising Sun", with the 73 year old earning the Gold Rays with Rosette which is the 4th highest honour vaialble.
Hqrada is only the second boxer to be awarded with such an honour in Japan, following the first Japanese world champion Yoshio Shirai.
Harada, as many will know, fought between 1960 and 1970 and despite only having a 10 year career he amassed a brilliant 55-7 (22) record. During his career he claimed notable wins over Pone Kingpetch, for the WBA Flyweight title, Eder Jofre, twice for the unified Bantamweight titles, Alan Rudkin and Joe Medel. He also came to within a whisker of becoming a 3-weight world, when he was beaten 69-70 on the score-cards by WBC Featherweight champion Johnny Famechon back in 1969.
Following his retirement from the ring Harada remained a key figure in Japanese boxing and was the leader of the JBC and key man at the JPBA, though did suffer a brain hemorrhage in the early 00's. Since then he has recovered and is still seen in and around boxing circles in Japan, where he is still regarded incredibly highly and is one of the few Japanese fighters enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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