If we're honest Naoya Inoue looks likely to be one of the faces of boxing for the next decade or so. For some his coming out party happened at the end of 2014, when he decimated the talented and very experienced Omar Andres Narvaez. He had however been tipped as a star before then with with many in Japanese boxing circles ear marking him as a sensation when he was still an amateur.
Here we have a documentary his rise to his first world title, the WBC Light Flyweight title, and the scenes soon after that title win. It shows various things including Naoya's training methods, some post fight footage and various other behind the scenes moments from Naoya's career. It's a documentary that will be better for Japanese speakers but even those who don't speak the language can enjoy sections of this, including the training and the close relationship between Naoya and his father/trainer Shingo, arguably the most under-rated trainer on the planet today.
One of the big "what if's?" of the Super Flyweight division is "What if Khaosai Galaxy had faced Jiro Watanabe?" It was a bout many had wanted to see and it was a bout that would have made a lot of sense with Galaxy beign the #1 contender for Watanabe's WBA title, though Watanabe tried to unify with the WBC champion and was stripped by the WBA. As a result of the WBA's action we never got that fight....or did we?
We never got the two men in the ring in a traditional fight, despite a lot of people wanting it, however Japanese fans did, amazingly, get the chance to see the two fighters trade blows in an exhibition contest in November 1994 at the Korakuen Hall, an exhibition that was also shown on Thai TV.
At the time of the exhibition both men had retired with Watanabe not fighting in 8 years whilst Galaxy had retired in 1992. Despite that the two looked in great shape and took this rather seriously, despite wearing head gear for the first round of the exhibition. If you've never seen this it's well worth a watch and leaves open the question of who would have won had we got this fight in the mid 1980's?
Current Japanese promoter Hideyuki Ohashi was one of the more notable "little men" of the 1980's and 1990's despite only having two very short reigns as a world champion. His style, guts and bravery left him as one of Japan's stand out figures in the sport with his popularity still high today and his personality is able to draw top fighters to his gym on a regular basis. Part of why he's so popular is that he faced the best on a regular basis and were it not for the likes of Ricardo Lopez and Jung Koo Chang he would likely have held titles for much longer than he did.
Here we see a documentary on Ohashi following his first title win, a victory over Jum Hwan Choi in 1990 to claim the WBC Minimumweight title, the first of two titles that Ohashi would claim at the world level.
The documentary features fight footage, interviews and training footage of Ohashi and is well worth a watch for boxing historians and those who perhaps aren't aware of Ohashi's in-ring career.
When we think of the most remarkable of Japanese fighters we rarely mention the legendary Tsuneo "Piston" Horiguchi (142-26-15, 87) who recorded more wins and more knockouts than any other Japanese fighter in history. He was never a world champion but he amazingly fit in more than 180 bouts into his career. A career that lasted just over 17 years, from 1933 to 1950, and ended when he was in his mid 30's. Sadly he died soon after his final fight when he was hit on the train tracks at the age of 36.
Although never a big name around the world "Piston" claimed two Japanese titles and an Oriental title whilst also popularising boxing in Japan in the 1930's and 1940's. His style was relentless, all action and incredibly exciting, helping draw an audience and interest in the sport in Japan. By the time he retired however his style was seen as being out of date by those in the west who had began to really develop the art of defensive boxing much further than it had been when Horiguchi began his career.
In 1994 there was a documentary based on Horiguchi's careers and that's the documentary that can be seen below and shows the effect of Horiguchi on Japanese boxing more than 40 years after his death. The documentary, in Japanese, is genuinely interesting and looks at various aspects of his life and is well worth watching if you're able to understand Japanese.
Note-There is some dispute over his record with Japanese sources suggesting his record was actually 138-24-14 (82)
Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue is one of the most exciting fighters on the planet right now. He's managed by former fighter Hideyuki Ohashi who has great connections in Korea and has regularly taken his fighters over the South Korea for fights, with Koki Inoue and Satoshi Hosono recently fighting on the Korean peninsula. Whilst on one of the trips over to Korea there was a sparring session involving Inoue and a Korean national champion.
Every so often we come across some peculiar footage that we want to share. Here is one such example and it shows Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto sparring with Australian Lucas Browne for 6 rounds. From what we understand this footage it from 2012 and was likely to help Kyotaro prepare for his bout with Afa Tatupu.
n he 1980's and very early 1990's Japanese fans had the chance to support the tough, gutsy and exciting Kiyoshi Hatanaka [畑中清詞], who would adopt the nickname of "The Rocky of Nagoya". Hatanaka, now a promoter in Japan, was a genuinely wonderful fighter in his prime and would win a world title in 1991, stopping Pedro Ruben Decima for the WBC Super Featherweight title. At the time he was just 23 and seemingly had a huge career ahead, though sadly an eye issue would curtail his career in 1991.
On his rise through the ranks their was a documentary made about the then teenager. Here is that documentary.
There are few boxing trainers as revered in Japan as Eddie Townsend, who created a number of Japanese champions. The esteemed trainer is a man who has had a gym and award named after him in the Land of the Rising Sun and is seen as the man who helped kick start the current rise of Japanese boxing.
Here is a documentary on the man known simply as "Eddie".
In 2008 Korean boxing lost the legendary Yo Sam Choi, who sadly passed away after suffering injuries in a bout with Heir Amol. Following his death Korean rap outfit LeeSsang released a song in tribute to the fallen fighter.
The song "Champion", is featured in the video below.
On November 29th 2015 Japanese channel Fuji TV ran their feature on teenage fighter Keisuke Matsumoto. The feature was part of Mirai Monsters and was an interesting look at the youngster and his promising future. It was later uploaded by the Mirai Monsters youtube channel and can be seen below.
Some things don't fit in elsewhere on the site so have been put here as a result.