It's been a while since we last mentioned former Japanese boxer Iwao Hakamada (16-11-2, 1) but he's come to the attention of Japanese boxing circles again today with the JPBA releasing a video in support of the former Death Row in-mate, who still has a retrial hanging over his head.
The "Japanese Rubin Carter", as he has been referred to in some Western media, is expected to be retried for the murder of 4 people, more than 50 years ago. That's despite incredibly flimsy evidence which actually forced Mr Hakamada to spend much of his life behind bars, before being released on a few years ago.
Mr Hakamada, who holds the world record for longest time spent on death row, has long had the support of Japanese boxing, who helped him get his original conviction quashed, and they continue to push for him to be totally exonerated of all crimes. That was seen in the video they JPBA released, which features a number of notable faces from the world of Japanese boxing.
Whilst we understand fight fans around the world not being fully aware of the story of Hakamada it is regarded as being a giant human rights violation, and has seen Amnesty International run a massive campaign to get Hakamada his freedom. And they have done a number of really good pieces on the whole story, which are well worth a read for those wanting to understand why Hakamada's story is such a big one for boxing, and for justing.
For those interesting the recent video we have featured it below.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp, video courtesy of the JPBA)
Earlier this week it was reported that there was set to be a film released about former Japanese boxer Iwao Hakamada (16-11-2, 1), a man better known by human rights activists than boxing fans.
The 78 year old former fighter failed to really make a mark in the boxing world, despite his 29 fight career, but following his boxing he became a central figure in Japanese legal history as he was put on death row for the murder of 4 people. His sentence was the longest of any death row inmate and saw Amnesty international campaign on his behalf.
Over the last few years we've seen Hakamada released ahead of a retrial, with real doubt on his conviction. In many ways he has been the Japanese Rubin Carter, though has received much less attention despite his longer struggle for justice.
The film, which is to be released next February, is a documentary that looks at Hakamada's battle for justice and his release. And is also thought to question Japans use of the death sentence, something that has been criticised by the international community.
Last year we saw the release of former Japanese fighters Iwao Hakamada, following his prolong stay on death row for murder. Unfortunately for the "Japanese Rubin Carter" his release wasn't an acceptance of his innocence but a release ahead of a retrail.
Today saw the fight for Hakamada's innocence continue as support groups tried to convince the Japanese court system that a retrial wasn't the right thing to do, considering that the evidence was flimsy in the first place.
Among those offering support to Hakamada today were current WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi and former WBA Minimumweight and WBC Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi who were both at a support event in Tokyo.
Yaegashi, who has regularly been at these events, stated the battle for Hakamada wasn't yet over whilst Taguchi stated his belief that Hakamada was innocent.
There is some hope that the 79 year old Hakamada will not be forced back to court, though given his treatment over the last 50 years there is real fear that he will again find himself being locked up, despite failing health.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
There was a guest of honour a the Korakuen Hall earlier today as former fighter Iwao Hakamada attended the show, his first since his release from the Tokyo Detention House last March.
Prior to his release Mr Hakamada had spent more than 40 years on death row for the murder of 4 people. The case however was fraught with controversy which had included the police beating a confession out of the former fighter and was the subject of an amnesty international campaign, as well as a campaign from the WBC and the JPBA, all of whom tried to get a retrial. The retrial was eventually ordered with Mr Hakamada eventually being released last year.
Upon his release he was honoured with a WBC honourary title, he was the guest of honour at the 2014 Boxing Day event and was also the man responsible for a review in to how Japanese police conducted their interviews and the legal system in Japan, including the death sentence.
Mr Hakamada was joined at ringside by his sister and current world champion Takashi Uchiyama and was also invited into the ring prior to the main event, which saw Satoshi Hosono successfully defend his Japanese Featherweight title against Rikiya Fukuhara.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Last year, after one of the longest legal battles in history battle, Iwao Hakamada was released form a Japanese prison. The former fighter had spent more than 40 years on death row for a crime it seems, he couldn't have committed. His case is seen as one of the biggest mistakes against a single person in legal history and was so famous that amnesty international had a petition for his release, or retrial.
His release came after numerous people, ranging from the JPBA to the WBC to those with no real interest in boxing helped raise attention regarding his plight and eventually helped get Mr Hakamada acquitted on several cases of murder that he was said to have committed in the 1960's. Following his acquittal Mr Hakamada was honoured by both the WBC, who presented him with an honorary title, and by Japanese boxing who helped through a massive event in his honour.
Despite being released as a free man Mr Hakamada hasn't made a huge name for himself and has, on the whole, stayed out of the media. This week however the Japanese boxing media did pick up on a story involving the now frail 78 year old.
Mr Hakamada, who turns 79 on March 10th, will be at the Korakuen Hall on Thursday to watch the rematch between Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono (26-2-1, 20) and Rikiya Fukuhara (30-7-1, 22). From the reports we've been sent this will be Hakamada's first show since he was released and he'll he a guest of honour at the Ohashi promoted card and will be the first time he's been part of any form of boxing activity since last year's Boxing Day event.
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