Earlier this week it was revealed that veteran gym owner, and former fighter, Kenji Yonekura [米倉 健司] would be closing the Yonekura gym in August due to his failing health.
Although the gym isn't well known in the west it is one of the truly legendary gyms in Japan has produced more than 50 champions, including 5 world champions - Kuniaki Shibata, Guts Ishimatsu, Shigeo Nakajima, Hideyuki Ohashi and Hiroshi Kawashima. Although it's not had a world champion in a while the gym's effect on Japanese boxing is still being felt, especially with the success of the Ohashi gym.
Prior to openign his gym Mr Yonekura had been a former standout amateur, competing at the 1956 Olympics, and running up an amazing 71-7 (19) record in the unpaid ranks. As a professional Mr Yonekura ran up a less than flattering 13-10-1 (1) record. He won the Japanese Flyweight title in his 5th bout, the OPBF Bantamweight title in his 10th bout and took part in world title fights against Pascaul Perez and Jose Becerra. Whilst his record is blotchy he rarely backed fown from a notable fight and had a string of bouts against top fighters between 1958 and 1962.
Now in his 80's Mr Yonekura is expected to step away from almost all boxing activities and the fighters at the gym are expected to be transferred from September.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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