On Wednesday parts of the Japanese boxing community took to the streets in support of Iwao Hakamada, the former fighter who spent several decades on death row in Japan for a crime which it seems he was wrongly convicted of. Among those at the event were WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama and WBC Light Flyweight world champion Naoya Inoue.
Earlier this year Hakamada was released from death row and his sentence was quashed however he wasn't a totally free man and the prosecution has sought for a retrial ever since. The protest is trying to prevent that retrial and keep Hakamada free for what remains of his life, which is sadly not likely to last long.
As well as the two active champions there was also Koichi Wajima who was among the leaders of the protest.
Hopefully the case will be dropped but if not then at least the case is getting publicity with these public events and this one has followed a previous one, just days ago, which featured Akira Yaegashi and we suspect more are to come.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
We are sad to report that former Japanese fighter Iwao Hakamada, AKA "The Japanese Rubin Carter", is in hospital after suffering a fall at home.
Hakamada, who served more than 40 years on death row, was said to be in good health despite the fall, though we do need to worry for the 78 who was said to have been suffering mental health problems prior to his release from prison. Thankfully he was said to have been in cheerful spirits whilst in hospital.
We'd like to wish Mr Hakamada a swift recovery from his recent fall and we hope the injuries he sustained aren't too bad though at the moment we're not fully sure how bad they were. We have been informed that the actual injuries aren't terrible though he's being kept in hospital due to other health issues, notably diabetes which he suffers from.
Get well soon Mr Hakamada! From all the team at www.asianboxing.info
(Image courtesy of the courtesy Japan Professional Boxing Association featuring Mr Hakamada, his sister and the general secretary for the JPBA)
Earlier today Japanese fans were treat to a spectacular day as Japanese boxers took part in a fan appreciation day to celebrate the sport, the fans and each other.
The highlight for the day, for many, was the appearance Iwao Hakamada who was handed an honorary WBC world title by Hideyuki Ohashi. Hakamada, who was wrongly convicted for a series several decades ago, was effectively the guest of honour at the show and is at the forefront of the picture opposite.
It wasn't all about Hakamada however and fans got to see a real celebration of the sport. This included an enthralling sparring session between WBC Light Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue and WBC Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi which ended with the two men being given a round of applause, a brilliant spar between Shingo Wake, the OPBF Super Bantamweight champion and Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa and also a spar between Satoshi Hosono and Hidenori Otake, both of whom are Japanese national champions.
As well as the sparring there was also mitt sessions which included work by Takashi Miura.
In total there were 29 active champions with the likes of Takashi Uchiyama and Naoko Fujioka both turning up as well as several notable non-champions, including Tomomi Takano who we believe did a talk for the fans in attendance.
The day was nothing short of sensational and we're hoping that other countries will follow suit and do similar events.
(All pictures courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Following the recent news of Iwao Hakamada's release from prison the WBC, who have been part of the "Free Hakamada Now" campaign, have issues a statement saying they will give Hakamada an honorary WBC world title.
This move comes after a similar case in the US of a fighter called Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. Carter, like Hakamada, had his freedom taken away from him for a heinous crime that he likely didn't commit. Carter's case is, at least in the west, a notable one with a movie, a book and a number of songs written about it.
Whilst Hakamada's case may not be as well known as Carters by many in the west it's an equally upsetting story, if not more so. Hakamada was beaten for his confession, spent almost 50 years on death row and spent much of that time with little to know contact with others.
Although the green and gold belt of the WBC will do nothing to bring back the more than 40 years of wasted time Hakamada has suffered in prison it is great to see the boxing community supporting on of it's own.
The title is expected to be handed to Hakamada on the April 6th at the upcoming Ohashi show dubbed "Ring of Diamonds".
(Courtesy of the Free Hakamada Now! campaign)
We're incredibly happy to report that former Japanese boxer Iwao Hakamada has finally been given a retrial and possible after one of the darkest stories in Japanese legal history.
Hakamada, 78, was a professional boxer back in the late 1950's and early 1960's when he ran up an uninspiring record of 16-11-2 (1) though his biggest and most famous bout has been a 48 year battle with the Japanese legal system.
In 1966 Hakamada was found guilty of 4 murders, including that of 2 children. He had confessed to their crimes when being detained though later claimed his innocence at his trial and accused the police of torturing the confession out of him. Unfortunately however he was found guilty on the back of that confession.
Since being locked up back in 1966 Hakamada had been on death row, setting a record for the longest time on death row of any living person, through it all he and his family protested his innocence. Unfortunately the battle took it's toll and the fighter began suffering from dementia whilst still behind bars.
Earlier today a judge ruled that Hakamada was to be given his freedom after hearing evidence to suggest that the original conviction was suspect.
Unfortunately however it seems likely that prosecutors in Japan will fight the ruling and we may end up seeing a retrial as this case continues to drag out even longer, rather than allowing Hakamada and his family celebrate what should be one of the greatest victories of all time.
(Photo courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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