Over the weekend we had the pleasure of catching up with unbeaten Japanese prospect Andy Hiraoka (12-0, 8), from the Ohashi Gym. The 21 year old prospect is the current Japanese Youth Light Welterweight champion and is regarded as one of many big hopes for the Japanese boxing scene in the years to come.
Asian Boxing-Hi Andy, thanks for being willing to answer a few questions.
Andy Hiraoka-Hi Scott, thank you for having me in mind.
AB-So firstly, what got you into boxing originally?
AH-My father got me into boxing at the age of four.
AB-You made your professional debut back in 2013, did you have any sort of an amateur career before that?
AH-Unfortunately no, but I was under fifteen champion at age of twelve. Then we decide to quit for some reasons.
AB-I believe you spent time taking part in some training in the US, what was the biggest lesson from that training? Does American training differ massively from that done in Japan?
AH-Yes, I spent several times in the U.S. training. Thinking of I can get a chance over there. The difference between Japan and U.S. is that you may have knowledge of boxers in the gym to spare with.
AB-Of course you're based in the Ohashi gym, whats that like? Given you get to train alongside elite fighters like Naoya Inoue, I guess that really helps you develop your skills
AH-I believe Ohashi gym is one of the best in Japan now. So I feel great being one of them. Yes, Mr. Naoya Inoue and Mr. Akira Yaegashi are more than inspiration to me.
AB-What's been your toughest bout so far?
AH-My toughest bout was the fight with Takahiko Kobayashi.
AB-I'm sure some of our readers will be aware you made it to the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but you were unable to fight in that final. How did it feel to miss out on the chance to be the Rookie of the Year?
AH-I did not fight rookie of the year the final duo to sickness, but I came back to fight the same opponent and won by K.O.
AB-On a bit of a lighter note, last year you claimed the Japanese Youth title at 140lbs, how did that feel?
AH-In the chances nothing too small so yes I was happy when claimed the Japan youth title but know body wants to challenge me for it.
AB-Whilst I'm sure a lot of fans will have heard your name, there's a chance not that many will have seen you in action. Could you explain your style for those who haven't had the chance to see you in action?
AH-My boxing style? I have more than one style.
AB-Looking towards the future, what are your plans for the rest of 2018? And longer term, where do you see your career?
AH-My time is coming, and I will give the fans the best they want.
AB-Finally, is there any message you'd like to send to fans looking to follow your career?
AH-Tell the boxing fans they should hold on for I have something special.
AB-Thanks Andy, this means a lot to us.
(Image courtesy of the Ohashi Gym)
On June 14th Japanese based Filipino fighter Warlito Parrenas Jr (26-7-1, 23) will battle against Ryuichi Funai for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Ahead of that bout we caught up with the hard hitting former world title challenger, and asked him a few quick questions about his past, including his bout with Naoya Inoue, and his upcoming bout against Funai.
Asian Boxing- Good morning Warlito, thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions for an interview at such a busy time.
Warlito Parrenas- Good day thank you for your interview.
AB-Firstly, what got you into boxing?
WP-Boxing is my life. Boxing helped me a lot because my life came from poor family and because of my talent as a boxer I managed to buy a house and a car and I have small business after my fight to inoya inoue. I also now have a stable job as a boxing trainer at Morioka boxing gym.
AB-What was your amateur career like?
WP-I travelled a lot and fought in in different countries. I recieved gold medals in different tournament and got the best boxer award in the Tammer cup tournament held in Finland and South East Asian championships held in Vietnam, and I had a lot of experiencec in amateur boxing before I turned professional.
(Ed's note - Warlito won the 51KG division at the 2005 Tammer Cup and the 2005 South East Asian Champions in Vietnam)
AB-Most fans, at least those in the western boxing world, will remember you best for your bout with Naoya Inoue. How would you describe facing the Monster?
WP-Naoya Inoue is a good fighter strong, fast and very talented boxer. He is so different to any other boxer that I've encountered. He is gifted
AB-Aside from Inoue you have faced other world class fighters, such as Marlon Tapales, Jonathan Taconing and David Carmona. Who did you enjoy facing the most? And which fight do you think taught you the most?
WP-Maybe Marlon Tapales. The fight that taught me most is my fight against Carmona it was a hard fight for me.
AB-Having been a professional for over a decade, what sort of advice would you give to an aspiring young professional?
WP-Don't under estimate your opponent, work hard, be determined and have self discipline.
AB-What would you regard as your biggest win, or best achievement, as a professional fighter?
WP-When i got my no.1 WBO Super Flyweight world ranking and my fight as a world championship challenger, against the tough boxer of the world like Naoya Inoue.
AB-You're currently a trainer at the Morioka gym right? The gym seems to have a real star in the making with Hinata Maruta, how far do you think Maruta can go in the future?
WP-Hinata Maruta is a good fighter, smart and strong boxer. He will be a world champion in the future
AB-Later this month you'll be facing Ryucihi Funai for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. What do you know about Funai?
WP-I saw his fight on youtube. He's strong and a good boxer, he has a tactical style. I study a lot of his boxing style and have prepared for that.
AB-Could you describe your style for fans who maybe haven't seen much of you?
WP-They will see the new Warlito Parrenas Jr. We have a good training program. i train hard they will see my improvement with the help of my boss Kazunori Morioka, at the Morioka boxing gym.
AB-Finally do you have any messages for fans following you?
WP-I will surprise you guys! i will do my best and god will do the rest. See you all this coming June 14th.
AB-Thank you so much for your time, and good luck on June 14th
(Image courtesy of Morioka Gym)
Not sure this needs to be explained! But here are out interviews with fighters!