Over the weekend there was real confusion over the future of the legendary Kyoei gym. A press conference was held on Saturday with Keiichiro Kanehira announcing that he was stepping down as the gym's chairman due to issues with the gym's owners, and that the gym's activities in professional boxing would be suspended. Soon after that announcement the website stated that the media had got it wrong and the gym wasn't set to close.
Today we saw some clarity, and it wasn't great news for the gym.
Mr Kanehira visited the East Japan Boxing Association offices in Tokyo where he submitted the notice to suspend pro boxing at the gym. The association accepted the notice and with Mr Kanehira stepping down as chairman the gym is essentially without a license.
Reports from Japan suggest that on November 27th tensions escalated to breaking point, and that was when a decision was essentially made for Kanehira's contract with the gym to end. Mr Kanehira stated there had been monetary troubles, though specific details were unclear at the time.
Whilst the gym is expected to restart professional boxing activity in the future, this very much seems like a real issue of trust and finances. The once powerful Kyoei has fallen behind Teiken in recent years, and the gym that Mr Kanehira's father had established is now a shadow of what it once was.
Although personal issues between Mr Kanehira and the gym owners seem to be central to the gym suspending it's activities it is worth noting that two of the gym's fighters, Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) [亀田京之介] and Takeshi Takehara (5-0, 1) [竹原毅], are pencilled in for the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year Finals on December 22nd. They look very much like innocent victims of the situation, and the hope is the JBC will allow them to transfer to a new gym sooner rather than later.
Interestingly the Kameda Gym, who have long had Mr Kanehira as strong ally, may well look at this as a chance to petition the JBC for a new license under Mr Kanehira. Though that is speculation on our behalf, as a potential work around more than anything that has gotten mentioned in the Japanese press.
(image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On Saturday morning, in Japan, Keiichiro Kanehira held a press conference that legitimately shook the Japanese boxing scene, as he announced that legendary Kyoei gym, the long term rival of Teiken, would suspend it's activities in boxing.
Mr Kanehira, who is the Kyoei gym chairman, revealed that their had been "management trouble" between himself and the owner of the gym, and that he would be resigning with the gym essentially winding down as a result.
The gym, one of the most well established gyms in Japan was established in 1976 by Keiichiro's father Masaki Kanehira, and has lead 13 world champions, including the the likes of Shozo Saijo, Yuri Arbachakov, Yoko Gushiken, Koki Kameda, Tomoki Kameda and Yota Sato.
After today's announcement the future of the gym looks in serious doubt, with Mr Kanehira stating that they would begin the closing process on Monday, freeing up the fighters to move elsewhere. Also lawyers look like they will be getting involved in
It's unclear what is going to happen longer term, though it appears Mr Kanehira has plans to remain in boxing, and plans to "revive soon", suggesting he's going to be back in some capacity sooner rather than later.
It's worth noting that one of the gyms more notable names, Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) [亀田京之介], is supposed to be fighting in the All Japan Rookie of the Year on December 22nd, though this issue with the gym may end up costing him his chance to compete. When the gym closes his licenses will be there to transfer and there is a possibility that he could transfer to another gym in time, though things would have to move fast given the short window before the finals. Kameda isn't alone either, with Takeshi Takehara (5-0, 1) [竹原毅] also finding himself in a very similar situation.
In the hours that followed Mr Kanehira's announcement the gym it's self, on it's own website, has released a statement rubbishing the mews from Mr Kanehira. The website states the gym has not announced that they are being suspect and that the gym will continue to provide a similar service to members as they currently do.
Seeing what happens on Monday in regards to the gym will be very interesting, though the latest twist seems to show just how bad the relationship between gym owner and Mr Kanehira has got.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
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