Over the weekend we had the pleasure of catching up with unbeaten Japanese prospect Andy Hiraoka (12-0, 8), from the Ohashi Gym. The 21 year old prospect is the current Japanese Youth Light Welterweight champion and is regarded as one of many big hopes for the Japanese boxing scene in the years to come.
Asian Boxing-Hi Andy, thanks for being willing to answer a few questions.
Andy Hiraoka-Hi Scott, thank you for having me in mind.
AB-So firstly, what got you into boxing originally?
AH-My father got me into boxing at the age of four.
AB-You made your professional debut back in 2013, did you have any sort of an amateur career before that?
AH-Unfortunately no, but I was under fifteen champion at age of twelve. Then we decide to quit for some reasons.
AB-I believe you spent time taking part in some training in the US, what was the biggest lesson from that training? Does American training differ massively from that done in Japan?
AH-Yes, I spent several times in the U.S. training. Thinking of I can get a chance over there. The difference between Japan and U.S. is that you may have knowledge of boxers in the gym to spare with.
AB-Of course you're based in the Ohashi gym, whats that like? Given you get to train alongside elite fighters like Naoya Inoue, I guess that really helps you develop your skills
AH-I believe Ohashi gym is one of the best in Japan now. So I feel great being one of them. Yes, Mr. Naoya Inoue and Mr. Akira Yaegashi are more than inspiration to me.
AB-What's been your toughest bout so far?
AH-My toughest bout was the fight with Takahiko Kobayashi.
AB-I'm sure some of our readers will be aware you made it to the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but you were unable to fight in that final. How did it feel to miss out on the chance to be the Rookie of the Year?
AH-I did not fight rookie of the year the final duo to sickness, but I came back to fight the same opponent and won by K.O.
AB-On a bit of a lighter note, last year you claimed the Japanese Youth title at 140lbs, how did that feel?
AH-In the chances nothing too small so yes I was happy when claimed the Japan youth title but know body wants to challenge me for it.
AB-Whilst I'm sure a lot of fans will have heard your name, there's a chance not that many will have seen you in action. Could you explain your style for those who haven't had the chance to see you in action?
AH-My boxing style? I have more than one style.
AB-Looking towards the future, what are your plans for the rest of 2018? And longer term, where do you see your career?
AH-My time is coming, and I will give the fans the best they want.
AB-Finally, is there any message you'd like to send to fans looking to follow your career?
AH-Tell the boxing fans they should hold on for I have something special.
AB-Thanks Andy, this means a lot to us.
(Image courtesy of the Ohashi Gym)
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