On this day...
2009-Hozumi Hasegawa (25-2, 9) v Vusi Malinga (18-2-1, 11)
Japan's Hozumi Hasegawa was, during his prime, one of the real faces of Japanese boxing. He wasn't as popular as Joichiro Tatsuyoshi has been before him, but he was clearly the man that carried the sport in the country, especially during his WBC Bantamweight reign. Although not known as a power puncher, Hasegawa did his harder than his record would suggest, and that was shown in his 8th defense, when he stopped Vusi Malingo in the opening round in Hyogo. Malinga would prove to be a tough nut to crack, and would never suffer another stoppage loss during his career. Hasegawa on the other hand, would go on to become a 3 weight world champion before his career came to an end.
2009-Takahiro Ao (16-1-1, 8) vs Oscar Larios (63-6-1, 39) II
Also in 2009, though in Tokyo this time, fight fans saw Japan's popular Takahiro Ao claim his first world title, as he defeated Mexican veteran Oscar Larios in their second bout, and claimed the WBC Featherweight title. The first contest had come in October 2008, with Larios taking a split decision win. The would have this bout as an immediate rematch and finally fans had the chance to see why there was so much fuss about Ao, who would go on to become a 2-weight champion the following year.
2004-Tomonobu Shimizu (0-0) vs Mio Mizokami (4-4-1, 2)
On the day in 2004 Japan's Tomonobu Shimzu made his professional debut, stopping Mio Mizokami in 2 rounds, in a bout scheduled for 6. Shimizu would be stopped in his second bout, inside a round by Kaennakorn Klongpajol, but would rebuild his career and in 2011 he would go on to win the WBA Super Flyweight title in his third world title bout. Interestingly Mizokami would never win a bout after this loss, retiring with a 4-8-2 record.
2000-Hiroyuki Sakamoto (35-3, 25) vs Gilberto Serrano (18-4-1, 15)
Japan's Hiroyuki Sakamoto was a Japanese "nearly man" around the turn of the millennium. He would go 4-0 in world title fights, with the third of them taking place against the heavy handed Gilberto Serrano, in a battle for the WBA Lightweight title. Sadly for Sakamoto he would lose by TKO when his right eye was closed part way through round 5, despite a great start that saw him dropping Serrano twice in the opening round. Sadly for Sakamoto he would lose in another world title fight 8 months later, to Takanori Hatakeyama and his career would falter before he retired with a record of 39-7-1 (29).