Back in December 2019 Keiichiro Kanehira, the then chairman of the Kyoei Gym, handed in paper to essentially close the gym and end it's activities in professional boxing. Now, just over 2 months later, the gym has seemingly decided on it's future, without Mr Kanehira, making an application to re-opened and continue it's business in professional boxing.
Going forward the gym will be known as the "Kyoei Shinjuku Gym" and will headed by former fighter Mikihito Seto [瀬藤幹人], who will take the role of chairman. It seems most of the remaining staff and fighters who were their when the gym "closed" in December will remain at the new gym, and will be transferred to the "revived" gym, if their application gets approved by the relevant council.
The application for the gym to re-open with the new name, and with Seto as the chairman, is regarded as a formality, and is expected to be passed on Thursday, allowing the gym to re-open by the end of the week.
As a fight Seto made his name with Kyoei, fighting 51 times since making his in the year 2000. Although he failed to lift world honours he was a former Japanese Interim Super Bantamweight champion and a very significant figure on the Japanese domestic scene, scoring wins against the likes of Akifumi Shimoda, Jonathan Baat, Manabu Fukushima and Kento Matsushita.
During the break in the gym's activities Seto, who was working as a trainer there, had stated "I want to rebuild the Kyoei Gym for members who are boxing together, and most importantly, for the players who are doing their best now." It now looks like that us exactly what he will get the chance to do.
Whilst it's a shame, in some whats, that a member of the Kanehira family won't be heading up the operations at Kyoei it is great that the gym looks like it will survive, and will look to continue the success it has had through it's long, and storied, history.
Earlier this month we saw the Kyoei gym close it's doors as a professional boxing gym, with Keiichiro Kanehira handing in the paper work to essentially close down the gym due to issues with the owner. The gym had two fighters who temporarily joined the Hanagata gym, to fight in their Rookie of the Year final bouts, but there was little said about star fighter Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20) [亀田和毅].
Now however news has broke that Kameda will likely be heading back to Green Tsuda gym, a gym that he fought for earlier in his career.
From what we understand the paper work for the transfer isn't yet complete, but it's seen as a very likely decision with talks between the Gym chairman and the fighter going well. If he does indeed sign back with the Osaka based gym, then his next Japanese bout will be fought as a Green Tsuda fighter.
The gym are said to be set to negotiate complete terms in January with the fighter, who is currently training in the US, and a deal would likely be complete next month, bringing him back to the gym he debuted under.
Under the rules of the JBC Kameda would need to be signed with a Japanese gym to be able to fight for a world title at home, and Green Tsuda have lead 3 fighters to world titles in the past, including Katsunari Takayama.
On Monday the Kyoei gym's former chairman Keiichiro Kanehira handed in the paperwork needed to suspend the gym's professional boxing activity. That decision saw all the gym's active and licensed fighters being left gym-less and, and essentially through in to doubt the All Japan Rookie of the Year final bouts for Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) [亀田京之介], the cousin of Koki Kameda, and Takeshi Takehara (5-0, 1) [竹原毅].
With the Rookie of the Year finals taking place in less than 2 weeks the fighters were clearly going to either have to find a gym quickly, allowing them to remain licensed fighters, or miss out on a huge opportunity to make a name for themselves, and claim the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown.
Today, thankfully, Kameda and Takehara were given solace of sorts as both men jointed the Hanagata Gym on a temporary basis.
The deal for both men will be a 1-fight deal, with discussions to be had after the Rookie of the Year finals as to where their future lies. It seems as if the Hanagata gym are open to extending the deal, but will only offer that olive branch after the Rookie of the Year is completed.
As well as the two fighters 3 trainers have also transferred to the Hanagata gym.
At the moment the status of the gym's other fighters, including former world champion Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20) [亀田和毅], have yet to be decided.
In regards to Tomoki Kameda it is worth noting that he is free to fight overseas until his Japanese license situation is sorted out, so he is less likely to be directly affected than the smaller names that were at Kyoei and wouldn't be likely to fight overseas.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Over the weekend there was real confusion over the future of the legendary Kyoei gym. A press conference was held on Saturday with Keiichiro Kanehira announcing that he was stepping down as the gym's chairman due to issues with the gym's owners, and that the gym's activities in professional boxing would be suspended. Soon after that announcement the website stated that the media had got it wrong and the gym wasn't set to close.
Today we saw some clarity, and it wasn't great news for the gym.
Mr Kanehira visited the East Japan Boxing Association offices in Tokyo where he submitted the notice to suspend pro boxing at the gym. The association accepted the notice and with Mr Kanehira stepping down as chairman the gym is essentially without a license.
Reports from Japan suggest that on November 27th tensions escalated to breaking point, and that was when a decision was essentially made for Kanehira's contract with the gym to end. Mr Kanehira stated there had been monetary troubles, though specific details were unclear at the time.
Whilst the gym is expected to restart professional boxing activity in the future, this very much seems like a real issue of trust and finances. The once powerful Kyoei has fallen behind Teiken in recent years, and the gym that Mr Kanehira's father had established is now a shadow of what it once was.
Although personal issues between Mr Kanehira and the gym owners seem to be central to the gym suspending it's activities it is worth noting that two of the gym's fighters, Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) [亀田京之介] and Takeshi Takehara (5-0, 1) [竹原毅], are pencilled in for the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year Finals on December 22nd. They look very much like innocent victims of the situation, and the hope is the JBC will allow them to transfer to a new gym sooner rather than later.
Interestingly the Kameda Gym, who have long had Mr Kanehira as strong ally, may well look at this as a chance to petition the JBC for a new license under Mr Kanehira. Though that is speculation on our behalf, as a potential work around more than anything that has gotten mentioned in the Japanese press.
(image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On Saturday morning, in Japan, Keiichiro Kanehira held a press conference that legitimately shook the Japanese boxing scene, as he announced that legendary Kyoei gym, the long term rival of Teiken, would suspend it's activities in boxing.
Mr Kanehira, who is the Kyoei gym chairman, revealed that their had been "management trouble" between himself and the owner of the gym, and that he would be resigning with the gym essentially winding down as a result.
The gym, one of the most well established gyms in Japan was established in 1976 by Keiichiro's father Masaki Kanehira, and has lead 13 world champions, including the the likes of Shozo Saijo, Yuri Arbachakov, Yoko Gushiken, Koki Kameda, Tomoki Kameda and Yota Sato.
After today's announcement the future of the gym looks in serious doubt, with Mr Kanehira stating that they would begin the closing process on Monday, freeing up the fighters to move elsewhere. Also lawyers look like they will be getting involved in
It's unclear what is going to happen longer term, though it appears Mr Kanehira has plans to remain in boxing, and plans to "revive soon", suggesting he's going to be back in some capacity sooner rather than later.
It's worth noting that one of the gyms more notable names, Kyonosuke Kameda (5-1-1, 4) [亀田京之介], is supposed to be fighting in the All Japan Rookie of the Year on December 22nd, though this issue with the gym may end up costing him his chance to compete. When the gym closes his licenses will be there to transfer and there is a possibility that he could transfer to another gym in time, though things would have to move fast given the short window before the finals. Kameda isn't alone either, with Takeshi Takehara (5-0, 1) [竹原毅] also finding himself in a very similar situation.
In the hours that followed Mr Kanehira's announcement the gym it's self, on it's own website, has released a statement rubbishing the mews from Mr Kanehira. The website states the gym has not announced that they are being suspect and that the gym will continue to provide a similar service to members as they currently do.
Seeing what happens on Monday in regards to the gym will be very interesting, though the latest twist seems to show just how bad the relationship between gym owner and Mr Kanehira has got.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
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