Over the weekend it was announced that former 2-time Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (20-5-2, 13) [久我勇作] had ended his career, hanging up the gloves after 27 fights.
The warrior from the Watanabe Gym announced his retirement on social media, ending a career that began in 2010, and saw him compete in numerous thrilling wars, notable against Takuya Furuhashi, Yasutaka Ishimoto and Ryoichi Tamura.
Kuga was last seen in the ring in January, fighting to a draw in a thrilling 10 rounder with Furuhashi. That bout was his second with Furuhashi, following their 2021 thriller. Kuga decided to retiring following January's bout with Furuhashi due to a conversation with his son in March, and he revealed that he wanted to hang them up to his team at the Watanabe gym in May.
In the ring Kuga was hugely popular due to his aggressive all action style and brutal power that saw him score numerous eye catching KO's. Sadly for Kuga his style took a toll on him and in recent years punishment has added up, with stoppage losses to Shingo Wake, Furuhashi and Jhunriel Ramonal all coming in the last few years.
In retirement Kuga will work for a company who sponsored him during his in ring career.
Back in June we saw Seiya Tsutsumi (6-0-2, 5) [堤聖也] score the biggest win of his career, as he stopped Kyosuke Sawada (15-3-2, 6) [澤田京介] to become the Japanese Bantamweight champion.
Today we saw the lasting effect of that bout, as Sawada announced he was retiring from the sport, ending his career after 20 professional bouts, aged 34.
Sawada, who debuted in 2013 following an amateur career that had seen him score more than 60 wins in the unpaid ranks, had struggled early on as a professional but reeled off a 17 fight unbeaten run prior to facing Tsutusmi. That winning run had seen him win the Japanese title, and score notable domestic wins against the likes of Kinshiro Usui, Yosuke Fujihara, Kazuki Nakano, Kazuki Tanaka and Kenshin Oshima.
In an interview with Boxmob Sawada showed his class by stating that he had high hopes for the first defense of Tsutusmi's, which is set for October 20th against Kenshin Oshima (7-2-1, 3) [大嶋剣心], and he seemed to be excited for that bout as a fan of boxing, rather than just someone who had recently held the Japanese title.
In the same interview Sawada also stated that he didn't expect to be fighting at this age, and was glad he didn't give up despite the various issues that have affected his career, including losses in his first two bouts, injuries and bouts being cancelled.
We'd like to wish Sawada all the best in his post boxing career.
This past weekend at the EDION Arena Osaka fan fans saw world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (37-6-4, 21) [大沢宏晋] suffer a 5th round TKO loss toFilipino Jeo Santisima (22-4, 19). Following that loss we assumed that Osawa, who's now 37, would be retiring from the sport to concentrate on out of the ring activity and enjoy his health.
Since the fight, it has now been confirmed that Osawa has indeed hung up his glove. That was not surprise at all, in fact Osawa had himself stated that if he lost, he wouldn't be fighting at the world level again, and it seemed very much that that was his only reason for continuing his career for this long.
After the bout, in the changing room, Osawa stated he was retiring and ending his career. A career that has seen him fighting 47 times, over 18 years, winning OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles, and fighting for a world title, doing so in 2016 against Oscar Valdez.
We want to wish Osawa all the best in his retirement and his post-boxing career.
Earlier today it was announced that former triple crown champion and world title challenger Ryoji Fukunaga (15-5, 14) [福永亮次] was calling time on his career, and retiring as a professional fighter at the age of 35.
The hard hitting southpaw has had a genuinely impressive career since making his debut in 2013. He lost in his professional debut before scoring his first win just 4 months later. Then he was out of the ring for over a year, before returning in 2015. That year he competed in the Rookie of the Year, but lost in the East Japan semi-final being stopped inside a round by Ryo Matsubara, as his record fell to 4-2 (4). He bounced back remarkable well, winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2016 and advanced his record to 10-2 (10) before l0sing to Yuta Matsuo in 2018.
With a record of 10-3 (10), and soon to be 10-4 (10), following a loss in Thailand in late 2018 to Jakrawut Majungoen (aka Kongfah CP Freshmart), it would have been fair to have suggested that Fukunaga just didn't have it. He then however went on a 5 fight winning streak which included stopping Froilan Saludar and Kenta Nakagawa in 2020, a stellar year for him, along with Takahiro Fuji and Hayate Kaji. The win over Saludar had earned him the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title whilst the win over Nakagawa saw him adding the Japanese and OPBF titles to his collection.
In late 2021 he had the biggest bout of his career, and really ran WBO Super Flyweight world champion Kazuto Ioka all the way in a surprisingly competitive contest. That bout will be his last, with Fukunaga having decided after that bout that it was the end. He did however admit that he's been too busy since then with work, to actually let everyone close to him know that he was retiring. Talking about his work, he is going to continue his current job in retirement, and continue to be a carpenter, something he's done since he was 15.
Fukunaga's retirement ceremony is planned for August 30th at Korakuen Hall, which is also his 36th birthday.
Back in April we saw unified regional Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (14-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎] score a clear technical decision win over former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (27-4-1, 15) [伊藤 雅雪]. Following that loss Ito seemed to suggest that he was seriously considering ending his career, though didn't announce he was done at the time, instead heavily suggesting he was going to hang them up.
Today, around 3 months later, Ito finally announced his plans for the future, and that included the fact he was indeed handing up the gloves, waiting to today to make the announcement, incidentally 4 years to the day of his biggest win over Christopher Diaz in Kissimmee. That bout marked the first time a Japanese fighter had won a world title in Japan for over 30 years, and is a major achievement that will be long remembered in Japanese boxing circles.
Ito, who announced his retirement on social media, explained that he wasn't injured, but that he was struggling to be motivated, despite getting notable bouts since his world title loss.
Aged 31 Ito is certainly not old and is getting out of the sport with his health intact, which isn't something we always see from fighters, who often go on too long.
As for his post fighting life Ito has explained that he wants to remain in boxing in some way, but it's unclear how he will do that. He also explained that he plans to head into the life of a business man.
We would like to thank Ito for the great fights he has given us over the years, and wish him all the best in his post boxing career.
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