Over the last few years the Ohasi Gym has become one of the most notable in Japan, thanks to the successes of Akira Yaegashi and Naoya Inoue. Before the gym was formed the founder was himself a successful fighter, with Hideyuki Ohashi (19-5, 12) being a multi-time world champion and Japanese national champion. Whilst his success has been over-shadowed by that of the fighters in gym he founded, his career shouldn't be forgotten as it was a thrilling, though somewhat short.
As a professional Ohashi fought from 1985 to 1993 and was involved in 7 world title fights, facing two legendary fighters, in the form of Jung Koo Chang and Ricardo Lopez, along the way. Whilst he did lose to his two most notable opponents he was still a successful fighter in his own right, and here we're going to look at the 5 most significant wins for... Hideyuki Ohashi.
Although not a fighter who gained much international fame he was a real talent, and was regarded, from a very young age, as a potential star for Japan. He failed to reach the heights expected of him, but even now, almost 30 years after his final bout, he is still regarded as one of the most talented Japanese fighters of all time.
Yoshiaki Nojima (June 23rd 1986)
Like many Japanese fighters Ohashi's first title was a domestic one, with the talented youngster winning the Japanese Light Flyweight title in the summer of 1986, when he defeated Yoshiaki Nojima. Whilst the title had been vacant going in to this fight Nojima was no scrub and was a previous holder of the title, holding the belt just a year earlier. For Ohashi this bout was a pretty significant one. It not only saw him claim his first professional title, in what was his 6th professional bout, but also saw him successfully bouncing back from his first defeat, a surprise decision loss 3 months earlier to Bong Jun Kim. The win also helped Ohashi set up his first world title fight, which resulted in a loss in December 1986 to Jung Koo Chang
Tomohiro Kiyuna (January 11th 1988)
Despite coming up short against Chang the dreams of Ohashi weren't over and just 13 months later he would again fight for a title, albeit the Japanese Light Flyweight title that he had vacated to battle Chang. In the opposite corner to Ohashi was defending Tomohiro Kiyuna, who was then enjoying his second reign. Kiyuna had mixed at world level himself, losing to Myung Woo Yuh, and also had a win over Leopard Tamakuna, who held the Japanese Flyweight title when Ohashi clashed with Kiyuna. Ohashi beat the then 20-2 Kiyuna over 10 rounds to become a 2-time national champion, and set up his second world title fight. Sadly Ohashi would again lose when he stepped up to world level, losing against to Jung Koo Chang.
Jum Hwan Choi (February 7th 1990)
Having lost in his first two world title fights, both to Jung Koo Chang, Ohashi dropped down in weight, moving from Light Flyweight to Minimumweight. It was here that he found real success. His first world title bout at 105lbs saw him take on the then WBC champion Jum Hwan Choi. Choi sported a 20-2 record, had previously held the IBF title and was enjoying his second world title reign thanks to a win over Napa Kiatwanchai, who had taken the WBC title from Hiroki Ioka. Ohashi would stop the brave and gutsy Choi in the 9th round to claim the title and become a world champion for the first time. Not only was this a massive win in terms of what it meant, with Ohashi claiming a world title at last, but also saw Japan claiming their first world title of the 1990's! In fact they hadn't held a world title since Ioka had lost this very same title to Napa in 1988.
Napa Kiatwanchai (June 8th 1990)
Talking about Napa Kiatwanchai it needs to be said that Ohashi's first defense of the WBC title was a major one against the Thai. As mentioned Napa had beaten Ioka in 1988 for the title and although he had lost the belt to Choi he was still very much a notable opponent. He had was an enemy in Japan for his win over Ioka and Ohashi defeating him was big for Japanese boxing. Ohashi would take the win over the Thai with a 12 round decision, avenging Ioka's loss and giving one of the few bouts where Ioka and Ohashi shared an opponent. Sadly we never saw Ohashi and Ioka face off, but this was pretty close to it, and it was as good a sign that Ohashi would have won had we ever seen the two Japanese youngsters face off. Sadly for Ohashi this would turn out to be his sole successful defense of he WBC title. It's also worth noting this was the first time Ohashi defended any title, having twice vacated the Japanese national title.
Hi Yong Choi (October 14th 1992)
The final win of note for Ohashi saw him defeat Korean fighter Hi Yong Choi to claim the WBA Minimumweight title, and become a 2-time world champion. Ohashi had lost the WBC title in October 1990, to the legendary Ricardo Lopez, and essentially spent 2 years in the wilderness before getting a shot at Choi. Although he was only 27 entering this bout he was essentially coming to the end of his career, and another loss would likely have ended his career, which had promised so much. Thankfully for Ohashi he took a decision over Choi to claim a second title reign, and making one final mark on the sport. Sadly this reign was an incredibly short one for Ohashi, who lost the title in his first defense, to Chana Porpaoin, and then retired.
Despite retiring at a young age the gym he has founded has become one of the real success stories of Japanese boxing and it's great to see him passing on what he learned to the next generation of fighters, crafting the stars of today, and tomorrow.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces