This past Monday it was announced that the Masuda Boxing Gym, run by former fighter Takahisa Masuda [升田貴久], had become a professional boxing gym, with the intention of helping craft world champions form Ehime prefecture.
As a fighter Masuda himself was a notable figure. Born in Ehime, though fighting out of Tokyo, he was a professional from 1996 to 2009. In 2005 he beat world title challenger Shingo Yamaguchi to claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title and in 2009 he went on to challenge WBC "interim" Flyweight champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, losing a 6th round TKO to the Thai legend.
Masuda set up his gym after retiring as a fighter and had been thinking about getting professional membership for a while, though delayed his decision due to Covid19.
There are reportedly 4 or 5 trainees at the gym looking to turn professional, and are expected to take pro-tests later this year.
Ehime, located on the island of Shikoku, isn't a boxing hotbed though there is certainly untapped potential on the island, such as Sora Fukunaga (8-0, 4) [福永宇宙] who fights out of the Kuroshio gym and will compete at the upcoming Rookie of the Year final. The plan seems to be for Masuda's gym and the Kuroshio gym to try and work together to add live to boxing in Shikoku.
Not only does Masuda want to build boxing and develop talent on the island but also hold his own shows in Ehime one day. Amazingly Boxrec hasn't recorded a single show in the prefecture since December 2008, when Masuda himself headlined a card there. Whether Boxrec is right or not is unclear, but it's obvious that the area isn't holding shows on a regular basis, something that Masuda may himself end up changing.
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