Hitoshi Watanabe hit with huge fine!
Right now there is one global issue affecting every area of the planet, and certain countries have taken different approaches to dealing with it, in both general life and in sports. In Japan the sporting world has taken it very seriously, especially boxing which has had strict criteria applied on fighters, trainers, gyms and even fans. The idea has been to allow the sport to continue, allow fans to attend the sport, but also to control the situation and try to prevent issues from worsening.
With that in mind the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) has put a number of rules in to effect to really limit the spread of the on going issue.
Sadly there has been a number of people who have broken the rules in some way or another. One man who is now feeling the cost of breaking the rules is Hitoshi Watanabe, the chairman of the Watanabe Gym.
Earlier today it was announced that the East Japan Boxing Association had fined Mr Watanabe ¥500,000 (JPY) for repeatedly breaking the rules on where he was sat at 3 different Rookie of the Year shows.
The shows, on September 6th, 24th and 25th, saw Mr Watanabe caught on film sitting in seats prohibited under the current rules and being hit with the hefty fine as a result.
Sadly for Mr Watanabe this isn't the only time he's been in trouble with the Japanese boxing authorities recently, with the JBC telling him off after one of his fighters broke the rules on September 24th. The fighter in question was Leon Yamaguchi (3-2, 2) [山口怜恩], who, instead of going to his hotel to isolate after the weighing on September 24th, for his bout the following day, went to a restaurant.
Given the size of the penalty we suspect that others will keep to the rules, and that Mr Watanabe has been made an example of, at least somewhat, here.
Earlier today it was reported that new JPBA president Hitoshi Watanabe has stated that he is open to the controversial Kameda Gym re-opening.
Mr Watanabe, the head of Watanabe Gym, the EJBA and the JPBA, has stated that whilst he is open to the Kameda Gym being re-licensed there would be a number of terms that the Kameda's would need to fulfil. One of those, is simple, the Gym would be required to talk and and sit down with Watanabe, among others, in what would seemingly act as a clearing of the air conversation. It seems clear that it wouldn't be an immediate "all is forgiven" type of conversation but something done in stages with both sides having genuine resentment towards the other.
More complex however is that Mr Watanabe would require the Kameda's to drop their on going lawsuit against the JBC.
The lawsuit is reportedly worth ¥660,000,000 and is something the Kameda's are said to be determined to win. It would take serious and clear thought for the Kameda's to willingly drop the suit, though it seems to be absolutely pivotal to the Kameda's being licensed again as a boxing gym. Mr Watanabe also seems to suggest that the request isn't an acceptance of guilt from the JBC, but it seems the intention is that would end the on going dispute between the two sides.
The Kameda's had their license revoked "indefinitely" following the controversial Daiki Kameda Vs Liborio Solis bout, a bout that saw Daiki retain the IBF Super Flyweight title despite losing to Solis. The bout saw the JBC and Japanese boxing fans in uproar and eventually escalated to the point that Kameda's were given their ban and haven't fought in Japan since.
Earlier today it was announced that Hitoshi Watanabe would become the new Chairman of the East Japan Boxing Association (EJBA).
The head of Watanabe Gym has taken over the role from the popular Hideyuki Ohashi after winning a vote this morning.
The new chairman will take his position on April 1st and has promised some really promising moves forward.
He has promised to try and make all the district associations work better alongside the JBC, essentially making the entire Japanese professional system smoother. He has also promised to try and make the the amateurs and professionals work closer together and has in fact hinted at helping professional fighters move towards the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Mr Watanabe will have a 3 year term in charge of the EJBA.
(Image courtesy of boxingnewxs.jp)
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