When looking for major events from the Asian boxing calendar to have taken place on January 7th we struggled to find many, though have come across 3 different ones, all form Japan.
2006- Shinsuke Yamanaka's debut
It was on this day in 2006 that "God's Left" Shinsuke Yamanaka made his professional debut. He would take a wide 6 round decision win over Hitoshi Takahashi and begin his rise through the Bantamweight division. His rise saw him win the Japanese title in 2010, stopping Mikio Yasuda, defending it just once, stopping Ryosuke Iwasa, before moving on to win the WBC title.
As the WBC Bantamweight champion Yamanaka's was a very impressive one, starting in November 2011 and running through to August 2017, when he was beaten for the first time by the controversial Luis Nery.
Yamanaka would retire in 2018 with a career record of 27-2-2 (19) and victories over the likes of Iwasa, Vic Darchinyan, Tomas Rojas, Malcolm Tunacao, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, Liborio Solis and Anselmo Moreno, and became one of the key figures at the Teiken Gym.
1979- Yoko Gushiken Retains title
We are exactly 40 years removed from Yoko Gushiken's 7th defense of the WBA Light Flyweight title, which he notched by stopping Rigoberto Macano in their second bout. The two had fought in 1977, with Gushiken taking a 15 round split decision win over the Venezuelan.
Marcano again put up a good fight, but was knocked out in the 7th round as Gushiken's reign continued into 1981, and he ended up setting a Japanese record 13 world title defenses, a record that still stands to this very day.
Gushiken would go on to run a gym, which has Daigo Higa among it's fighters, and is still a popular figure among Japanese fight fans.
1976 - Kayoko Ebata's birthday
Former Japanese world champion Kayoko Ebata was born on this day in 1976.
Although a much lesser name in boxing than Yamanaka and Gushiken, Ebata has been a key figure in female boxing in Japan. She made her debut in 2007 and unfortunately for her she got a reputation as an almost lady, losing her bigger fights by close decision. In 2017 however she upset Erika Hanawa and became the WBO Female Minimumweight champion. She would hold the title until December 2018, when she was 42.
With the fighter turning 43 today it's unclear what her future holds, though we suspect she will have some sort of a role as a trainer, or gym ambassador, in the future, highlighting just how much she has meant to female boxing in Japan, despite only holding a record of 12-8 (6).