Earlier this week we received news that former Japanese Featherweight champion Koji Umetsu (22-17-3, 10) had finally announced an end to his long professional career, at the age of 39.
The Watanabe gym fighter, who debuted back in November 2000, got off to a less than great start and lost 4 of his first 8 bouts, leaving him at 4-4. From them however he began to get some form and built a memorable career that saw him competing regularly in domestic title bouts. The first of those came in September 2005, when he came up short against the then unbeaten Hiroyuki Enoki, though he did claim the title the following year with a narrow win over Kazuhisa Watanabe.
Sadly for Umetsu his reign didn't last long, losing in his first defense against future world champion Takahiro Ao. Despite the loss of his national title he would continue competing at 126lbs and came up short in three title bouts. Two of those came against Naoki Matsuda, drawing the first and losing the second in 2009 and 2010, whilst the third saw him come up short against Satoshi Hosono
In late 2011 Umetsu made the move to Super Featherweight where he almost dethroned Seiichi Okada. Sadly however the narrow loss to Okada was the start of the end with Umetsu going 4-5 in subsequent bouts, including a 0-3 run to end his career.
(Image courtesy of Watanabe gym)
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