On Sunday Higa, along with promoter Yoko Gushiken, attended a press conference and it was revealed by Mr Gushiken that he was incredibly close to closing the Shirai Gushiken Sports gym (SGS). In fact quotes to the media from Gushiken are that if Higa had lost, the gym would be closed as of this Monday, May 22nd.
The Hall of Famer seemed to come close to giving up as a promoter after failing to create a world champion since opening the SGS gym more than 20 years ago. My Gushiken has been unfortunate in some ways, with a lack of talent from Okinawa over the last few decades, but it seems clear that he's now found his diamond and with Higa's win the focus has shifted from potentially closing his gym to instead moving towards unification bouts, and potentially creating the gym's first unified champion.
Sometimes we forget about those behind the fighters, but here it's great to hear that Higa's success as kept alive the promotional gym of a former legendary fighter who has been responsible for one of the most exciting youngsters in a generation.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)