We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect Manny Pacquiao and....Akira Yaegashi!
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them, or the most fun, and at the end of the days, these articles are supposed to be a bit of fun!
1-Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has established himself as one of the all time greats, a legend who will not only leave a mark during his career but a mark that will continue to be felt well after his retirement. It's something that few Asian fighters have managed to do. Pacquiao was born on December 17th 1978. That same day Venezuelan fighter Fulgencio Obelmejias won the WBC FECARBOX Middleweight title, yes those regional titles are a lot older than you realise!
2-The hard hitting Fulgencio Obelmejias would go on to achieve a lot more with his career than just holding the FECARBOX title. He would go on to have a number of high profile bouts against the likes of Marvin Hagler, Chong Pal Park and In Chul Baek.
3-The monstrously hard hitting In Chul Baek was one of the stars of Korean boxing in the late 1980's. Win or lose it was rare for his bouts to go to the final bell. In fact in 50 career bouts only 5 bouts went the distance, 90% of his 50 bouts ended in side the distance! Surprisingly he scored at least one (T)KO in every round, except for round 8. Whilst only 10% of his bouts went the distance, he actually scored stoppages in 86% of his career bouts! On man who did see the final bell with In Chul Baek was English born Australian Troy Waters.
4-Although not a big name Troy Waters did have an interesting career. He lost to In Chul Baek by split decision in his 6th professional bout, and later faced Terry Norris, Simon Brown and Felix Trinidad, during a career that saw him go 28-5 (20). Troy Water's wasn't the only boxer in his family, another was Guy Waters.
5-Guy "Arc Angel" Waters wasn't as successful as Troy Waters, but faced some notable names in a career that saw him going up and down the weights. He began his career at Light Heavyweight, even fighting Virgil Hill in 1993 for the WBA world title, moved up to Cruiserweight, where he challenged the then WBC Champion Juan Carlos Gomez in 1998, before dropping down to Super Middleweight. In 2000 Guy Walters beat Yoshinori Nishizawa.
6-Yoshinori Nishizawa was a fighter from the Yonekura Gym, managed by Kenji Yonekura alongside close friend Hideyuki Ohashi. Their friendship has seen Nishizawa become a trainer at the Ohashi Gym. The gym that has promoted Akira Yaegashi through his entire professional career!
(Image courtesy of Pixabay and Boxmob)
One of the modern day Japanese greats is Shinsuke Yamanaka, who had a fantastic career, going 27-2-2 (19) and running up an excellent 12 world title defenses. Dubbed "God's Left" due to the power in his straight left hand Yamanaka was never the most versatile of fighters, but he perfect playing to his strengths, and his 1-2 was genuine dynamite.
During his great career he would score notable wins over the likes of Vic Darchinyan, Romas Rojas, Malcolm Tunacao, Suriyan Por Chokchai, Anselmo Moreno and Liborio Solis though ended his career following controversial back to back losses to Luis Nery.
Unlike many fighters from Japan Yamanaka had a solid following among fight fans from the west, but there was still plenty of things we suspect didn't know about the heavy handed southpaw.
With that in mind we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Shinsuke Yamanaka, in what is our final 10 facts you probably didn't know about... article for 2019! Don't worry however as we will be back in the new year with more of these!
1-When he was 14, and before really picking up the sport, Yamanaka wrote in his junior high school graduation book "WBC世界チャンピオンになる" (WBC sekai chanpion ni naru) which translates as "become a WBC World Champion".
2-Yamanaka began boxing as an orthodox fighter, though converted to southpaw under advice from his high school teacher Maekawa Takemoto. Sadly Mr Takemoto passed away in 2010, before Yamanaka managed to win the WBC Bantamweight title. Added to this is the fact he's not actually right handed, in fact he's somewhat ambidextrous and revealed he would write left handed, but use chopsticks and scissors right handed, and also played baseball right handed.
3-Prior to being caught by the boxing bug Yamanaka played baseball at junior high school. He decided to pursue boxing in 1997 when he watched Joichiro Tatsuyoshi's bout with Sirimongkol Singwancha.
4-As an amateur Yamanaka went 34-13 (10)
5-Following some poor results whilst boxing as an amateur at university Yamanaka considered walking away from the sport, and came very close to retiring, before the fire he had had for the sport in high school re-emerged. Thankfully for Japanese boxing, his decision to turn professional turned out to be a great one, and lead to one of the most remarkable careers of a Japanese fighter in recent years.
6-Through his entire career Yamanaka was a Bantamweight, and there was only 4 times in 31 bouts that he came in above the 118lbs limit, the most he ever weighed in at was 120¼lbs, for his 13th professional bout.
7-Although noted for his power, especially in his left hand, Yamanaka only scored 2 early wins in his first 8 bouts, going 6-0-2 (2) during that early stretch. In his following 23 bouts he scored 17 stoppages, going 21-0-2 (17) during that run including a 9 fight stoppage run.
8-When Yamanaka stopped Jose Nieves in the first round he caused NTV to change their plans of using social media to engage the fans. Originally they had planned to use twitter to increase fan interest, letting fans tweet who they thought had won each round...unfortunately the bout was over before the tweeting really began and before the opening round was even over.
9-With 12 defenses of the WBC Bantamweight title to his name he holds second place for most successive defenses of a world title by a Japanese male fighter. The male record is held by Yoko Gushiken, at 13, whilst Momo Koseki holds the record if you include female fighters, at 17.
10-In 2019, well after his professional retirement, Yamanaka became an Executive Advisor for Japanese company Angfa Ltd, which sells things like shampoo, health food and cosmetics.
Extra Fact - From 2011 to 2016 Yamanaka picked up at least 1 of the awards at the annual Japanese boxing awards. He won the skills award 3 times, the KO award 3 times, the MVP twice and the Fight of the Year during that run.
On December 23rd baby faced fighter Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) notched his 7th defense of the WBC Light Flyweight title, stopping Randy Petalcorin in 4 rounds, following 4 knockdowns. With that win fresh in the memory we've decided to do an extra "Five for..." this week and look at some potential bouts we could see Kenshiro in in 2020. We already know that the Japanese world champion is wanting to not only fight 3 times next year, but also unify and fight overseas. With that in mind we've tried to find bouts that fulfil those criteria here.
1-Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9)
An obvious number #1 choice here is a bout between Kenshiro and fellow Japanese world champion Hiroto Kyoguchi, the current WBA "super" champion. This is a bout that both men spoke about more than a year ago, and it really is time the two sat down and tried to make it happen. It's known that the two men are friends, they get on, but they also have a rivalry from their days as amateurs and what better time than to face off this Spring? The loser certainly may see their shine vanish, along with their title and unbeaten record, but with both men being in their mid 20's their careers certainly wouldn't be over. Instead the winner would go into the rest of the year as a big star, and the loser, would remain in the mix and be hunting another major bout later in the year.
2-Elwin Soto (16-1, 11)
In 2019 Mexican puncher Elwin Soto became one of the sports break out fighters for the lower weights, and his two world title bouts both took place in the US, as he won and defended the WBO world title. His world title would see Kenshiro get the much desired unification bout, and with Soto's growing reputation Stateside he could also get his over-seas bout here. The fight would also have a serious sense of danger, with Soto being a monstrous puncher, meaning the Japanese fighter would have to be at his best, defensively, and this is likely to get the very best performance from Kenshiro. As for Soto this would be a huge fight, and allow him a chance to unify titles just a year after winning his first, from Angel Acosta.
3-Felix Alvarado (35-2, 30)
A bout that was arranged, and was supposed to take place earlier this month, was for Kenshiro to take on IBF champion Felix Alvarado in Yokohama, to unify the WBC and IBF titles. Sadly that bout fell through when Alvarado fell ill, and Petalcorin ended up becoming Kenshiro's December opponent as a result. Now as we head into 2020 the bout can be re-arranged, if and when Alvarado is fit and healthy again. On paper this is a mouth watering match up pitting one of the best pure boxers in the division, Kenshiro, against one of the most brutish punchers in the division. This is a brilliant clash of styles and would be a meeting of two legitimate world class talents. Being totally honest the fact this bout fell through originally was one of the biggest disappointments of the year, and fingers crossed this now gets made at some point in 2020.
4-Deejay Kriel (16-1-1, 8)
South African fighter Deejay Kriel has had a strange 2019, winning the IBF Minimumweight title early in the year before vacating and moving up before managing a single defense. He's now fought in the US and in Mexico, and it's unclear where his future lies going forward. Regardless of what he's got coming up it seems clear that he's now a Light Flyweight contender, and is a former world champion at Minimumweight, meaning he'd be a perfect possible opponent for Kenshiro, and give him a chance to shine to a new, South African, audience. Kriel doesn't appear to have much of a financial backing, so a good offer will lure him over to Japan
5-Jing Xiang (17-4-2, 3)
Another potential fight on the road could see Kenshiro head over to China to take on Chinese contender Jing Xiang, who has shown he's able to fight at either Minimumweight or Light Flyweight. The Chinese boxing scene has been growing notably over the last few years and Xiang is one of the nation's biggest hopes, with wins over former world champions like Merlito Sabillo and Kompayak Porpramook in recent years. If Kenshiro wants to get out of Japan, then China is a decent option, and Xiang is an excellent fighter to look good against. We like this bout a lot and although it would be seen as a "safe" fight for Kenshiro it would also be bout between two excellent boxers.
Back on December 22nd we saw the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year come to an end, and what a brilliant tournament it was! Today we take a look at some of the highs from that tournament and discussing some of the most notable action from through the tournament.
Boxer of the Tournament
Katsuki Mori (6-0, 1)
The 19 year old from the Ohashi Gym looks like a genuine special talent and officially only lost 1 round, in the eyes of 2 judges, in the entire tournament. Mori is an absolute joy to watch and we expect to see really big things from him going forward. The only issue, so far, is his lack of power, though we do get the feeling he punches harder than his record suggests, and he seemed to stagger Takumi Chono several times in their all-Japan final.
Fight of the Tournament
Kodai Honda (4-1, 3) vs Yasutaka Fujita (5-0, 5)
The best fight of Rookie of the Year, and one of the best fights of the year full stop, was a 4 knockdown thriller between Kodea Honda and Yasutaka Fujita. Fujita went for his man early, and threw the kitchen sink at him in the opening round, scoring 2 knockdowns. The incredible aggression and work rate of Fujita took a lot out of him as Honda came back into the fight, pressing and pressuring Fujita, dropping him later in the bout, in what was an incredible back and forth.
Round of the Tournament
Homare Yasui Vs Yuta Ashina (Round 5)
We had some amazing rounds through the Rookie of the Year tournament, but for us the round of the tournament was one of the very final rounds of the whole thing, as the All Japan Welterweight final saw Homare Yasui and Yuta Ashina just go to war for 3 minutes. This wasn't always the cleanest of action, but what we got was both men landing some dynamite, fighting on the inside with Ashina being unwilling to walk backwards. The better boxing of Yasui was eye catching but the desire and hunger of Ashina was incredible. A great 3 minutes that seemed to fly by.
Most Exciting fighter
Yasutaka Fujita (5-1, 5)
The hard hitting, all aggression Yasutaka Fujita may have come up short in his All Japan final, losing to Kodai Honda, but he showed, though out the tournament, that he was going to be a must watch fighter. Fujita seems to see himself as a boxer puncher but the reality is that he's a puncher first and foremost and win or lose he's going to be great fun to watch with his aggression, power, willingness to let his hands go and defensive problems. With a bit of polishing he could be the Yuki Beppu of the 2019 Rookie of the Year, and we certainly wouldn't write him off despite his loss in the final.
One to Follow
Yuta Ashina (4-2)
Although Welterweight fighter Yuta Ashina lost in the All Japan final he struck us as being a fighter who will be well and truly worth following over the coming years thanks to his exciting style, and fun bouts. His All Japan and East Japan finals were absolute fire crackers and he looks almost certain to be a man given TV exposure, though G+, next year. Sadly, for such a fun fighter to watch, he does appear to lack power. If he had that he would likely be able to develop into a title level fighter. Without it he's going to struggle to win things, but will be so much fun to follow.
Kodai Honda (5-1, 4)
Few fighters would have taken the punishment and damage that Light Welterweight war monger Kodai Honda took, and managed to go all the. We've spoken about his role in the fight of the tournament, but that wasn't the only bout where he took punishment, as Masaki Kobayashi also managed to land plenty on him in the East Japan final. Kobayashi never managed to put him down, like Yasutaka Fujita, but Honda still had to walk through some huge shots to get his win. Back to back wars against unbeaten punchers quickly made us fans of Honda, who is much fun to watch.
Most over-looked bout
Shu Nawai (2-1, 1) vs Yuichi Baba (3-4, 3)
Whilst the 2019 East Japan semi-final bout between Shu Nawai and Yuichi Baba won't get a lot of attention in any end of year review, it was a sensational bout, and well worth a watch, and a rewatch. Nawai brought the pressure before Baba began to find a lot of success with his straight right hand. Nawai dug his toes in and we ended up up with a fire fight. This was a thriller, and although not the bout of the tournament it is one of those bouts that fans should make sure they watch, as it was spectacular.
Kantaro Nakanishi (3-0-1)
Teenager Kentaro Nakanishi seemed to go about his tournament quietly impressing. He never seemed to make a lot of fuss whilst going through the tournament, but repeatedly put on excellent showcases of skills en route to winning the All Japan Bantamweight tournament. Like Katsuki Mori, Nakanishi is all about skills, counter punching, drawing mistakes, creating space and landing clean shots. There's no smoke and mirrors, no blistering power, but excellent timing, great accuracy and a lot to be excited about. As he develops physically he could seriously be one to watch, but given he's only 18 we hope his team don't feel the need to throw him in too deep in 2020. Like the kid develop, mature and improve, because he is an excellent young fighter who has so much potential and just needs that potential to be guided properly.
Earlier this week we saw Japanese star Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) retain his WBA Middleweight title with a TKO win over Canadian challenger Steven Butler. After that promoter Bob Arum mentioned two possible bouts for Murata for 2020, for the Tokyo Dome. Here we look not only at those 2 bouts, but also 3 other potential options for Murata for his next bout, as the Japanese Middleweight star looks to further build on his career. With that in mind lets look at "Five for...Ryota Murata".
1-Gennady Golovkin (40-1-1, 35)
One of the potential opponents mentioned by Arum was Kazakh fighter Gennady Golovkin, the current IBF Middleweight champion and one of the biggest names in the sport. At 37, soon to be 38, time is running out on Golovkin's career, and a huge pay day for a summer fight with Murata would be enticing, especially with it being unification bout and a fight he'd feel he should win. This would be a massive all-Asian fight, between two heavy handed fighters, who can bring fireworks. The only real issue with this fight is just how much does Golovkin have left in the tank after a very long and career, which has seen him look more and more human in recent years.
2-Saul Alvarez (53-1-2, 36)
If Murata fails to land GGG then the obvious choice is a man who has been speaking of fighting in Japan recently, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Golden Boy Promotions, who promote Alvarez, were in Japan with Butler and they seemed very open to the idea of a Canelo Vs Murata fight in the new year. The date pencilled in for this would likely be after the 2020 Olympics games, but that's certainly not likely to be a problem for either man. The big question mark would be the weight, with Murata being a Middleweight and Canelo fighting between Middleweight and Light Heavyweight.
3-Liam Willams (22-2-1, 17)
If the big names can't be scheduled for Murata in 2020 we'd love a fan friendly battle with Welshman Liam Williams. This wouldn't be a big name, or a huge draw fight, but would be the sort of fun action bout that we'd enjoy watching. Murata would be strongly favoured against "The Machine", but Williams certainly deserves a big fight and why not have that against Murata in what would be a fun war? Williams may want to go a different route to a title, for example chasing Demetrius Andrade, but we suspect this would be the high profile option and the most exciting, by far. It would also help both men increase their profiles with a new audience, with British fans often over-looking Murata and an international audience not being that away of Williams.
4-Demetrius Andrade (28-0, 17)
Few fighters have frustrated and disappointed as much as Demetrius Andrade. The American, known as "Boo Boo" has been a professional since late 2008 and has spoke a good fight but failed to secure any sort of career defining bout. Andrade has a dull style to watch and whilst he is a talent the 31 year old, who turns 32 in February needs a big fight. There won't be many bigger options than a unification bout in Japan with Murata. Andrade is pencilled in to fight Luke Keeler in January, but that should be a straight forward win, and a bout with Murata in May would certainly be do-able, if they both want it. It wouldn't be great to watch, but would see the winner leaving with 2 titles and having more power to call shots with the likes of Golovkin.
5-Esquiva Falcao (25-0, 17)
About that was once talked about a lot, but never materialised, was a bout between Murata and Brazilian Esquiva Falcao. The two men fought in two notable amateurs bouts, the semi-final of the 2011 World Championships and the final of the 2012 Olympics, with Murata winning both and a rematch in the pros always seemed the logical match up. We do wonder if the ship has perhaps sailed, but if not this bout would be an easy sell, and has a great back story running through it. Falcao's next bout is set to take place in China, in February, and if he wins there's no reason why Japan couldn't be next.
With the recent news that Kyoei would be shutting its doors as a professional boxing gym, at least temporarily, there seemed no better time than feature the legendary gym in the latest of our "Did you know" features
1-The gym was founded by former fighter Masaki Kanehira, the father of recent chairman Keiichiro Kanehira. As a fighter Masaki Kanehira ran up a record of 16-19-3 (1) during a career that ran from 1954 to 1959. Despite fighting almost 40 times there wasn't really anyone notable that he faced
2-The gym was one of the early success stories of Japanese, along with other highly established gyms like Teiken, Misako, Yonekura and Kadoebi. For years the main rivalry of gyms in Japan was Teiken Vs Kyoei, with the two being the biggest and strongest, by far. Sadly though since the death of Masaki Kanehira in 1999 Kyoei did fall behind Teiken, quite badly.
3-One of the gyms most notable "firsts" was promoting the first Japanese professional female fighter Masako Takatsuki, who fought way back in the 1970's. Takatsuki's career was a short one, and boxrec only list her as having 2 professional bouts. Japanse sources on the other hand suggest she had 11, going 8-2-1 (3).
4-The gym is an historically significant one for fans who have enjoyed the recent rise of fighters from former Soviet nations. In 1989 they signed a number of top amateurs from the former USSR, including Orzubek Nazarov and Yuri Arbachakov, who later went on to be among the most influential "Russian" fighters, laying down the ground work for the current rise of fighters from Russian, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
5-Something we intend to talk about in more details one day is "The Orange Incident", but it fits in nicely here. "The Orange Incident", also known as "the poison orange incident", was a massive controversy in the early 1980's when Masaki Kanehira, the then gym chairman, was accused of mixing drugs into orange juice used by Yoko Gushiken and Katsuo Tokashiki. It's unclear what they were poisoned with, though the talk is that it could been a muscle relaxant or a laxative. The accusation was so serious that the JBC stripped Mr Kanehira's licenses and Gushiken's retirement ceremony, which was to take place in 1982, was canceled.
6-The Kyoei gym had arguably the greatest North Korean professional boxer ever fighting for them back in the 1990's. Thanks to Mr Kanehira's relationship with professional wrestler, become promoter, become politician, Antonio Inoki the gym managed to sign 1992 Olympic gold medal winner Choi Su Chol. The North Korean isn't too well remembered now but between 1996 and 1999 he went 3-0 (3) as a professional and scored a very notable win over Samuel Duran. Sadly though his career never managed to reach the heights it could have, and he remains one of boxing's many enigma's.
7-The gym has had 12 world champions, and one interim world champion. Those world champions are Hiroyuki Ebihara, Shozo Saijo, Yoko Gushiken, Yasutsune Uehara, Katsuo Tokashiki, Katsuya Onizuka, Yuri Arbachakov, Orzubek Nazarov, Osamu Sato, Koki Kaneda, Takefumi Sakata and Yota Sato. They also lead Tomoki Kameda to a reign as the WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight champion.
8-Among Kyoei's former fighters are Akira Jo (aka Joe Yamanaka), who would go on to have an excellent career as a musician and be well remembered for his charity work, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, who was dubbed "Santa Tokyo" whilst fighting in Japan, and voice actor Atsushi Imaruoka, who was in Super Street Fighter IV, Overwatch and several Way of the Samurai games, among other work.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect Kazuto Ioka to Choi Tseveenpurev.
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-Well known by modern day boxing fans as a multi-weight world champion and one of the best Japanese fighters of the current generation Kazuto Ioka isn't actually the first member of his family to be a boxing star. Whilst his father Kazunori Ioka, failed to leave a big mark in the pro ranks his uncle Hiroki Ioka, was a fantastic fighter and a multi-weight world champion him.
2-As a youngster Hiroki Ioka was a great talent, and he would become the 6th world champion to be trained under the legendary Eddie Townsend, who is such a big part of Japanese boxing that he's even had an award named after him, the "Eddie Townsend Award". Townsend was one of the most revered and legendary trainers in Japan and his time as a trainer really changed Japanese boxing, and how the sport was taught in the country.
3-The "Eddie Townsend Award" is one of the major Japanese boxing awards, and has been around since 1990. It recognises the best trainer in Japan in a given year, and has seen a number of very notable winners. In 2014 the winner was Shingo Inoue, the father of Naoya Inoue.
4-Japanese trainer Shingo Inoue is one of a number of trainers who also happen to be fathers of the fighters they train. Others come from all over the world, with a notable and loud mouthed example being Angel Garcia.
5-Angel Garcia has trained his son, Danny Garcia, for more than 20 years and whilst he's a controversial figure the work he has done for his son has been brilliant. Angel has often deflected attention from Danny and his performances, as well as teaching him the tools for Danny to go a very long way in the sport and have success through out his career. That includes Garcia's professional and amateur career. During his son's days as an amateur he won gold at the 2005 Tammer Tournament in Tampere, Finland.
6-Going back to the 1994 Tammer Tournament, 21 years before Danny Garcia won his, we saw popular Mongolian fighter Choi Tseveenpurev winning a gold medal! This was long before he made his name in the pros as a tough nosed warrior in the UK, and became a bit of a cult figure in British boxing circles.
When people talk about legendary Korean fighters names that often pop up are Jung Koo Chang, widely regarded as the greatest Korean fighter of all time, Ki Soo Kim, the first Korean world champion, Sung Kil Moon, a 2-weight world champion, and Myung Woo Yuh.
For this weeks 10 facts you probably didn't know about... we look Myung Woo Yuh.
The obvious details about Yuh are that he was a 2-time WBA Light Flyweight champion who run ran up a total of 18 defenses, with his first reign consisting of 17 of them, and that he beat everyone he faced, avenging his sole loss to Hiroki Ioka to become a 2-time champion. There is however a lot that fans don't know about the all action "Sonagi"
1-He began boxing at the Han River Middle School, in his first year there. As an amateur he reportedly went 1-3, whilst fighting at 45KG's. Due to his style not fitting the amateurs very well he turned professional aged just 18.
2-Yuh won the Korean Rookie of the Year tournament at Flyweight when he beat HyoYoung Park in July 1982
3-Yuh had awful problems making weight through much of his career, needing to cut down from 60KG's (132.27lbs) to 49KG's (108lbs), to hit his fighting weight.
4-Yuh's father was a bus driver and Yuh himself would use public transport whenever possible, not buying a car of his own until after his father retired. Once declining a free car from a manufacturer due to his dad's job
5-In 1988 Yuh was the highest paid boxer in Korea, out earning the likes of Park Jong-pal, Jung Koo Chang and Sung Kil Moon. During the year he earned a reported ₩380,000,000. In today's money that would be around ₩1,172,380,000, or $984,000.
6-Yuh married his wife in 1989, with over 300 guests. Included in the guests was the then WBC Super Middleweight champion In Chul Baek.
7-Yuh had hoped to retire unbeaten after scoring 20 defenses of the WBA Light Flyweight title. Those hopes were dashed when he lost in his international debut, losing a close decision to Hiroki Ioka. He would avenge the loss but admit the loss upset him and ended one of his dreams.
8-After retiring from active boxing Yuh would set up Buffalo Gym and Buffalo Promotions in the hope of developing the next generation of Korean fighters. He has also run a restaurant in Korea.
9-In 2017 Yuh was scheduled to compete in an exhibition bout with fellow Korean boxing legend Jung Koo Chang. Sadly that was cancelled due to pressure from others about the venue of the bout, which would have been on islands that Japand and Korea dispute. Sadly nothing has been done to reschedule the bout for some other venue.
10-Talking about Chang, Yuh has revealed in interviews that he feels he would have lost had he faced the "Korean Hawk" and also revealed that reasons for the bout not taking place included issues with TV, as he was an MBC fighter and Chang was a KBS fighter, and that it was better to have 2 Korean champions than just 1.
Extra Fact 1 - Yuh was twice appointed to be the Secretary General of the KBC, in 2009 and in 2012, but failed to sit a full term in either due to the political wrangling inside the KBC.
Extra Fact 2 - Yuh was the 2nd Korean inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, following Jung Koo Chang.
Extra Fact 3 - The brilliant 1985 bout between Yuh and Oh Kong Son was a WBA world title eliminator.
Back on December 12th exciting Japanese Super Bantamweight Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14) recorded his third win of the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, stopping Shohei Kawashima in 5 rounds, notching his third stoppage win of the year. After that win he spoke about fighting for a world title in 2020. Whilst that's a possibility it's expected that for him to do that, he would have to wait until towards the end of the year, giving him time to squeeze in one, or two, fights before battling at world level.
With momentum behind him, and an exciting style, we expect to see a lot of Teshigawara next year, and we expect more and more fans to become aware of him as he moves towards a world title fight. With that in mind we bring you "Five For....Hiroaki Teshigawara"
1 - Yusaku Kuga (19-3-1, 13)
Before fighting for a world title we would like to see Teshigawara fight one of two domestic opponents, the most notable of which is current Japanese champion Yusaku Kuga. On New Year's Eve Kuga fights for the WBO Asia Pacific title, and the reality is that if Kuga wins that bout, as expected, a bout between Teshigawara and Kuga would essentially be fore unified regional title, with the two men each holding 1 of the 2 major regional belts. Stylistically this would be a thriller, and the winner would open up different routes to a world title fight. At the moment both men are ranked by just a single world title body, with Teshigawara being in the IBF rankings and Kuga in the WBC, so whilst both would be risking a title and a regional ranking, they would also stand to gain a lot with a win. Also it helps that style wise, this would be a special type of war.
2 - Isaac Dogboe (20-2, 14)
Whilst we would love to see Teshigawara in an action bout in Japan he'll likely be looking to claim a major scalp in 2020, and a recent world title challenger or world champion would be the type of fighter he'd want on his record. Having someone like that would legitimise him on the international stage and see fight fans around the globe looking into him, and wanting to know more about him. Given how Top Rank have began looking more and more towards Japan for fighters Teshigawara may well be on their radar, and a bout with former WBO champion Isaac Dogboe would be a great introduction to the US market. Dogboe looks to be a faded force after back to back beatings to Emanuel Navarrete, and getting him now would be the perfect time. Also a win over Dogboe by Teshigawara would be give Top Rank a new challenger for Navarrete later in the year.
3 - Ryoichi Tamura (13-5-1, 7)
The other Japanese domestic option for Teshigawara is former Japanese national champion, and current OPBF "silver" champion Ryoichi Tamura. Tamura isn't as well known as Kuga, and has lost twice to Kuga, but is the type of fighter who would make for a very fan friendly clash with almost anyone. Tamura is a high work rate pressure fighter who comes forward and throws, a lot. With Teshigawara showing more sides to his boxing in recent fights he should be able to out box Tamura, though their is also a chance he ends up engaging in a war with Tamura, to give the fans what they want. This could be a great fun fight to watch, a chance for some highlight footage before a potential charge to world level and it would also be a mandatory defense of the OPBF title. It's not as good as a Kuga bout in terms of reputation, but it's just as good in terms of fan friendly violence
4- Ronny Rios (32-3, 16)
We mentioned a Top Rank option for Teshigawara, with Dogboe, but a different US option would be working with Golden Boy Promotions, potentially angling for a WBC shot at Rey Vargas. A good option, if he wanted to take that route, would be through Ronny Rios. This is, in reality, a much tougher bout than the Dogboe one, with Rios in good form thanks to 3 wins in 2019 including a 6th round win over Deigo De La Hoya. It would really legitimise Teshigawara as someone who isn't just wanting to take a win over a name, but is wanting to take it over a name in form. Technically this would be a really fun fight, mixing the under-rated technical ability of both with their aggression and exciting mentalities. This would be a legit world title eliminator type of bout, and a great way for the winner to stamp their place on the sport as a top contender.
5- Cesar Juarez (25-7, 19)
Another possible, and potentially exciting, way to introduce Teshigawara to a Western audience would be a bout with Mexican Cesar Juarez. The 28 year old Juarez does have a fun style and has been in entertaining bouts, with his 2015 clash with Nonito Donaire being a bit of a forgotten classic. Juarez is a level below world class, and losses to Donaire, Dogboe and Ryosuke Iwasa have shown he's not quite part of the divisional elite, however wins against Albert Pagara, Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr and Cesar Seda, as well general performance, show him to be a fantastic gate keeper. Get past Juarez and you are typically world class. If Teshigawara gets past the Mexican his argument for a world title fight certainly strengthens.
After having featured a couple of venues and a couple of titles in our "Did You Know..." articles we now turn out attention to a fighter who went on to become one of the most revered trainers in Japanese boxing history. A man who help really shape the Japanese boxing scene, changing how trainers did their job in Japan and really set the foundations for some of the most notable Japanese fighters of all time.
Not only did Eddie Townsend create champions of his own, but he created mentors, and his influence is being felt directly in today's Japanese scene from his former students, several of which have ran their own gyms.
1-Whilst Eddie Townsend is often referred to as an American-Japanese, he was actually partially Irish. His father was an Irish American lawyer and his mother was Japanese.
2-Staying with Eddie's parents for a moment, his mother died when he was just 3 following a disease.
3-After beginning boxing as a youngster Townsend would have notable success in Hawaiian tournaments before turning professional. As a pro Boxrec list him as being 6-1-1 (4), though Japanese source do suggest he was 12-1. That loss, is agreed by all to have come in December 1941, just before the attack on Pearl Harbour.
4-In the 1962 Townsend was invited to Japan by wrestling icon Rikidozan, to begin training boxers at the Riki Gym. The idea behind the invitation was for Townsend to create Heavyweight boxers in Japan, incidentally in just a few days time we'll see the most successful Japanese Heavyweight, Kyotaro Fujimoto, make his international debut in England against Daniel Dubois. Sadly the hopes of Rikidozan ended the the following year when Rikidozan died following issues after being stabbed by a member of the Yakuza.
5-Despite the untimely passing of Rikidozan the services of Eddie Townsend were in demand and several notable gyms invited him to train their boxers, including the legendary Yonekura gym.
6-The first world champion that Eddie trained was also an Hawaiian-born Japanese-American, Takeshi Fuji. Fuji would be recognised by both the WBA and WBC as the Light Welterweight champion following his 1967 win over Sandro Lopopolo, though would later be stripped of the WBC title, then lose the WBA title in 1968 to Nicolino Locche.
7-Other world champions to train under Eddie Towsend were Hiroyuki Ebihara, Kuniaki Shibata, Guts Ishimatsu, Tadashi Tomori and Hiroki Ioka, who has ran a successful gym himself.
8-As well as the world champions Townsend also trained "Rocky of Naniwa" Hidekazu Akai, Cassius Naito, Eijiro Murata and Kiyoshi Tanabe.
9-In 1990, just a couple of years after Townsend's death, an award in his honour was established. The "Eddie Townsend Award" is an annual award given to recognise the best trainer in Japan.
10-In 2004 a monument was built in his honour in Shirahama.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).