Yesterday we saw the JBC announcing punishments for 3 notable figures involved in Japanese boxing gyms.
One of the trio is Hiroshi Haruki, the chairman of the Mitsuki Gym. He has been given a 1 year suspension, back dated to December 14, for injuring a trainer.
Another of the trio was Jun Toriumi, who owned the TEAM 10 COUNT gym. He has been given a 6 month suspension of his club owner and manager licenses, with another year suspend.
Toriumi has been suspended due to collecting an amount that exceeded the management fee allowed. The JBC have got limits on what a manager can be paid from their fighters purses and Toriumi is said to have breached this multiple times over a long period of time.
As a result of this the Gym will be closed on September 30th, according to a statement on the gym website.
The most serious punishment is for Muto Gym chairman Takashi Edagawa. His license has been suspended indefinitely, from August 24th.
Mr Edagawa was convicted of tax evasion and has reportedly been given a year long sentence, suspended for 3 years.
Rather worryingly for the MTK Global expansion Mr Edagawa was their Japanese partner for MTK Japan, which was announced back in January. This has almost certainly ended the hope of the Muto gym being MTK's toe hold in Japan and they may need to either look towards a different Japanese promoter or abandon the plans all together.
Edagawa has long been a notable figure in Japanese boxing, and from the 3 gyms affected by these announcements his gym is certainly the biggest, along with his punishment being the most servere. The Muto gym was assumed to be the Osakan gym at the center of a virus cluster earlier in the year, when a lot of Muto Gym fighters had to pull out of bouts due to recent infections. Though it should be noted that those bouts were all cancelled around the time of Mr Edagawa's sentencing.
Earlier today MTK Global announced that their expansion was into Japan ad they unveiled their link up with the Muto Gym in Osaka.
The deal will see the Osakan based gym, headed by Takashi Edagawa, having their fighters advised by MTK, who have a list of global stars in their stable. In fact this is the 14th separate territory for MTK to begin working in.
Whilst the Mutoh Gym isn't a big one it does have an established name. It's a gym with a history that includes having created a world champion, in former 2-time WBA Super Flyweight champion Nobuo Nashiro [名城信男], and numerous regional and national champions, including the likes of Masahiro Sakamoto [坂本真宏] and Takayuki Hosokawa [細川貴之].
At the moment the gym is going through some notable transitions with their most well established fighter being WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9) [ストロング小林佑樹] and notable prospects include Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田 凌佑], Yusuke Mine (3-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2) [桑畑凜生], also known as Dekanarudo Torio.
A press release from MTK Global included quotes from both the MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan and Mr Edagawa. The quotes are below:
Vaughan said: “This is a very proud day. We are thrilled to have set up shop in Japan and we welcome our good friend Takashi Edagawa to the team. He’s done a great job building Muto Boxing Gym and now its future is even brighter.
“The sport of boxing in Japan has grown exponentially in recent times and with champions like Naoya Inoue providing the wider public with an icon to follow, further momentum is inevitable.
“Together with Takashi and his team, we look forward to harnessing the huge amount of local talent, finding the right paths for existing champions and ensuring we keep unearthing and developing future prospects.”
Edagawa said: “I feel it is my duty to ensure that Japanese athletes have the opportunities to put in great performances across the world and as I join forces with MTK Global, it gives me more confidence of accomplishing that goal.
“I made a world champion in my fourth year in boxing and now I want to build other fighters to show the world that Japanese boxing is strong. I feel it is my duty to make this happen.
“Thank you to MTK Global for giving me this honourable moment in my career.”
It's unclear what the real effects of this will be, though with some luck it could mean that the Mutoh promoted "You Will be The Champion" branded shows may be made available on YouTube, like other MTK shows have been, for international fans. If that happens then that is a huge bonus for fans, and a huge boost in exposure for the fighters.
Earlier today it was announced that Masato Yamashita, the head of the Shinsei Gym, would be the next chairman of the West Japan Boxing Association, narrowly beating out Takashi Edagawa, 31 votes to 26. With a single abstained vote.
Yamashita will take over from Hiroki Ioka, who has lead for the last 6 years, serving his maximum 2 terms in charge.
After the vote Mr Yamashita extended what seemed a clear olive branch to Mr Edagawa, who heads up the Mutoh Gym, suggesting they will be working together to improve things.
Yamashita's campaign had been run on 3 pillars, one of which was sorting out the finances and cutting the running costs of the association. That appears to be something that Mr Edagawa also intended to do. There is also plans to increasing the relationship between the West Japan Association and the Japanese Boxing Commission.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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