Earlier today it was announced that Kazuhiko Hidaka (32-7, 23) was retiring from the sport of boxing putting a close to an excellent though often over-looked career than spanned almost 20 years and saw him claiming 2 OPBF title and beating several notable fighters.
Hidaka began his career in 1996 as a 18 year old and he would win his first 7 bouts by stoppage before running into Yoshinari Hayamizu who stopped the youngster in the 4th round of a bout in 1999.
It was in 2003 that Hidaka would fight in his first title bout, coming up short against Crazy Kim in a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout and due to this loss his record slumped to 15-4 (11) with 3 stoppage defeats. Within 2 years of the Kim fight we had seen Hidaka claim his first title stopping Filipino Rev Santillan in the 4th round to claim the OPBF Welterweight title in what was a sensational performance by the Japanese man who would defend the belt against Dondon Sultan just 4 months later. Unfortunately the victory over Sultan would be Hidaka's only successful defense of the belt before being stopped in a rematch with Santillan in late 2005.
Following the loss to Santillan we saw Hidaka move to Light Middleweight and in October 2007 he defeated the talented Yuki Nonaka via unanimous decision to claim the OPBF title at 154lbs. In his first defense stopped Akio Shibata before securing a second defense of the belt in November 2008 against Taisei Marumoto. Unfortunately a rematch with Nonaka in June 2009 ended Hidaka's second reign as a champion.
The loss to Nonaka was followed by a 3 year break from the ring though on his return he looked fairly recharged beating Kengo Nagashima in the most notable of 3 wins before he came up short against Hikaru Nishida in July 2013. The loss to Nishida would be his penultimate bout with only a win over Shiro Saito, last November, following it.
Whilst he's not a huge name, and he certainly didn't make a mark outside of Asia, he was a fun to watch and his reigns as OPBF champion were certainly notable inside Asia, as are wins over Shibata and Nonaka. It's just a shame that his reigns were short lived and both ended by the men he originally beat for the titles.
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