Sadly though for all the great stories the sport has also given us some horrific ones. Stories like James Butler, who murdered Sam Kellerman and assaulted Richard Grant in one of the most sickening scenes ever seen in a boxing ring.
Another harrowing story of a boxer turned bad is that of the scarcely remembered Akio Konishi, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Japan for killing his own father.
Konishi, from Gifu, broke on to the professional boxing scene in the early 00's, debuting in July 2002. His career quickly got attention in Gifu due to his exciting and heavy handed style that helped him create a genuine buzz in the local region. By the end of 2006 he had amassed an impressive record of 20-0 (17) and was beginning to move towards a Japanese title fight despite only being 22. In fact he was ranked #2 by the JBC at Bantamweight and really on the verge of becoming a break out boxing star.
Sadly for Konishi his career would be curtailed in 2007 after suffering a detached retina in a bout against Alex Escaner. Not only was Konishi forcibly retired by the injury but he also suffered his first loss, being stopped in 2 rounds by the 32 year old Escaner.
With his career over the young Konishi seemed to face away completely from the limelight and attention. That was until December 2014 when his name was all over the Japanese press, and not in a good way.
The news had reported that the then unemployed Konishi had been been arrested in connection with the death of his father, Yasuhide Konishi,
The 60 year old Mr Konishi had been literally beaten to death by his son in the house they shared, along with Akio's mother who was at work of the time of the assault.
When questioned by the police Akio had claimed that his father had abused him during a quarrel and that had lead to the younger of the two men hitting his father, repeatedly, until the elder man was unconscious. After more than 2 hours of Yasuhide being unconscious a call was made to 119, the Japanese number for the emergency medical service, who arrived at the scene but were unable to revive Yasuhide.
Following the medical service arriving they quickly informed the police who investigated the incident, and quickly arrested Akio.
In September 2015 Akio was sentenced to prison after being found guilty of causing injuries that lead to the death of his father, who had died died from heart disease. The official cause of death likely saved Akio from being sentenced for murder, though the court ruled that the actions of Akio had lead to his father's death.
Akio had argued that he had never intended to kill his father but the judge rejected claims that Akio's had not intended to “inflict serious injury”, given the amount of times Yasuhide had been hit and given Akio's former profession.
Friends and family had stated that Akio wasn't usually a violent person but that prior to the incident he had shown some issues and had struggled to get a job following his boxing career. It would seem like the loss of his dreams of boxing for a career lead to a downward spiral that resulted in arguments with his father, likely about his job status, and eventually his father's death.
Konishi will be in prison until 2021 and we hope, when he's released, that he'll find some purpose in life. Sadly though it seems unlikely given how things have been since his forced retirement. Sadly knowing what he has done there is a chance that Konishi will never manage to return from the darkness and will manage to integrate properly into society