One New Year's Eve we saw WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15) [井岡一翔] retain his title with an 8th round TKO win over fellow Japanese fighter Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9) [田中恒成], in what was a fantastic bout to end 2020.
Yesterday in Japan news broke that despite the win Ioka may be in trouble with the JBC for breaking one of their rules.
The JBC rule in question states "a person with a tattoo or other style that makes the audience feel uncomfortable" is unable to compete in a bout.
Typically a fighter with a tattoo is allowed to fight in Japan, the Western interpretation of the rule banning tattoos altogether, though the tattoo must be concealed. Usually this is done with sporting tape, concealing and various inoffensive powders, used to mask the colour and shape of the tattoo. The rule is also, only really, applicable to Japanese fighters and doesn't apply to international fighters, making it a very inconsistent rule at the best of times.
Reportedly Ioka did make effort to conceal the tattoo, a rather large tattoo on his left arm and left side, though those efforts appear to have failed and his tattoos were fully on show during the fight, which drew a very large audience figure and some complaints.
It was reported that Ioka had used foundation to cover the offending tattoo, and that he had been instructed the day before to hide it and follow the rules. It's also been reported that in the in the changing room before the bout, when he had his gloves checked, the tattoo was hidden, though by the time he was in the ring the tattoo was visible. A JBC official is quoted in some of the Japanese press as stating "Maybe the paint was lighter than before. I wondered if he was already sweating at the up stage or before the start of the game, but when the game started, it became clearer and clearer. The tattoo was visible,"
After the bout JBC officials were questioned about it and as a result a meeting will take place to discuss possible punishments for Ioka at an ethics committee meeting. There they could do one of 6 things, ranging from a Strict Caution right through to cancelling his license. Though if we're being honest we suspect it'll be a relatively light punishment. In fact if anything we suspect the ethics committee to give him a punishment similar to the one recently given to Kenshiro Teraji for his drunken misbehaviour out of the ring.
Although Ioka is a big name, it's been made clear he hasn't been given special permission with the JBC Secretary General, Tsuyoshi Yasukochi, has been quoted in the Japanese press as saying "I have never given special permission because he is him. The rule violation is clear and we are currently considering how to deal with it."
Interestingly a number of Japanese sites are beginning to question the rule, asking whether it's an outdated rule or unfair on local fighters, as it doesn't apply to visiting fighters. The rule is due to the links to organised crime members in Japan, and specifically things like the Yakuza. Historically fighters like Tatsuki Kawasaki, who came from a criminal background, had to remove his tattoos.
In recent years tattoos have become more of a fashion statement globally, but the rule is still in effect and is one that is still rooted in Japanese culture. Though as we move forward Japanese culture is probably going to join the rest of the world and begin to disassociate body art with the criminal underworld in the coming years.
Back in November news broke that WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] had been involved in a drunken incident in the summer, that had seen him enter the private property of a third party and damaged their car. This incident had resulted in him needing to cancel a bout that had been scheduled for December, and later go in front of the JBC to try and explain what had happened, and what punishment they were going to give him.
Today the punishment was revealed and thankfully it's not as severe as some had thought.
The main part, for fight fans, is that the champion will be suspended for 3 months, back dated to December 1st. This means he won't be able to fight until March. The big worry was that he would get a lengthy suspension, if not an indefinite one, like we have seen in the past from the JBC.
As well as the suspension Kenshiro will also have to contribute to society, essentially doing community service, as part of his punishment from the JBC, along with a sizable ¥3,000,000 (around £21,531 or $28,947) fine.
In response to the punishment Kenshiro has given comments to the media:
"Now I really want to take JBC's disposition seriously. From now on, I will look back at myself and trust one by one. I wanted to get it back, and I wanted to be a dignified person again. I stopped drinking because I thought it didn't fit my body. "
"I regret having gone out for a drink (in the situation of Corona) and being intoxicated,"
There was some worry that he was going to leave the sport, though it now appears that that won't be happening, and that he's determined to rebuild public trust by returning to the ring and having success between the ropes once again.
At the moment there's been no news regarding whether the WBC will punish him, though it does seem unlikely that they will stripe him of his title, and instead are likely to order him to face Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也] in the new year instead.
Earlier today it was made official that the proposed December 19th bout between WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] and fellow Japanese fighter Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也] has been cancelled, and will not be going ahead as planned.
The bout has been cancelled due to the issues relating to Kenshiro's now well publicised drunken incident from the summer, where he damaged someone's vehicle. Despite a settlement now being in place with the victim it does seem like there will be subsequent issues with Kenshiro's standing in the sport and his license with the JBC may be suspended.
It seems that if the JBC don't hand down a lengthy suspension the bout could be re-organised for 2021, though it really does depend on how the JBC punish the champion.
As a result of Kenshiro Vs Hisada being cancelled the event, which was planned for the 1st stadium at the EDION Arena Osaka, has been moved to the much smaller second stadium. The show will now be headlined by a bout between Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-4, 11) [久高 寛之] and Tetsuro Ohashi (7-1-1, 2) [大橋 哲朗], who clash in an 8 rounder, with one of the other highlights for the show being the re-scheduled bout between Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田凌佑] and Shohei Omori (21-3, 16) [大森 将平].
Last week we reported that scheduled bout between Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田凌佑] and Shohei Omori (21-3, 16) [大森 将平] had been cancelled at the 11th hour with Omori citing issues with dehydration. Days after that the bout had a new date, December 13th, according to Nishida's team at the Mutoh Gym. Now it appear that date has been pushed back as two different seem to have almost fallen into place with each other.
It now appears that the bout will be taking place in December 19th, at the EDION Arena Osaka, on a Shinsei Promoted card, 6 days after the previously reported date though on a show by the same promoter at the same venue.
The delay this time seems less down to an issue affecting the fighters involved and more down to the cancellation of a bout that looked a done deal, and seemed to be planned, but has now fallen apart, causing plans to change.
That was the planned WBC Light Flyweight title bout, pitting unbeaten champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] against Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也], which now appears to be off, with the JBC expected to punish Teraji for his drunken exploits issues, which have been in the news recently following the champion damaging someone's vehicle when drunk.
At the moment no official punishment has been given to Teraji, but it is looking like there will be one, and it also seem like the Hisada bout is dead in the water, for now.
Notably the Nishida Vs Omori bout is now one of 5 bouts scheduled for the December 19th card, and is one of 3 bouts scheduled for 8 rounds. The venue has also changed, from the 1st stadium at the EDION Arena Osaka to the smaller 2nd Stadium, suggesting that the world title bout is indeed off.
Yesterday we reported that the planned WBC Light Flyweight title bout, pitting unbeaten champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] against Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也] had reportedly hit a snag.
Yesterday the "Weekly Bunshun", broke the news that Kenshiro had been responsible for a motor vehicle incident when he was drunk earlier in the year. Back in the summer he had damaged a parked car and damaged the vehicle of another person. The hope was to reach a settlement and then move on with the Hisada bout, which had been pencilled in for December 16th.
The inability to reach a settlement had, reportedly, seen the announcement of the Hisada bout being pushed back, and back, to the point where time was ticking on the proposed date for that contest and no settlement had been reached.
Today, following the news being broken yesterday, Kenshiro has issued a written and public apology regarding the situation:
I, Kenshiro Teraji, became intoxicated after a drunken dinner this summer, I mistook for my home, and entered another person's premises and damaged the car parked there. I got a call from the police this month, and at that point I knew what I was doing for the first time. We apologize to the victims for their generous consideration, and the settlement has been concluded. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to all the people concerned who were preparing for the next race because of the behavior that they lacked awareness as a member of society. I will reflect on this scandal and look back at myself. We are very sorry for this time.
Thankfully it doesn't appear anyone was hurt in this incident, with the only reported damage coming to the victim's vehicle, but it is still a worry that Kenshiro is involved in this type of behaviour and we suspect there will be repercussions to come in his public standing, and the view of fans.
It's still unclear if this will draw a line under the issue and allow the fighter to move on. If not it could end up being that Kenshiro, along with Hisada, both end up being out of the ring for the entirety of 2020, which would be a real shame or both me, and a further disappointment for boxing in 2020.
Related - Kenshiro Teraji Vs Tetsuya Hisada hanging in the balance due to police issue?
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!