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)