When we talk about great Japanese fighters it's hard to ignore Hozumi Hasegawa, a 3-weight world champion, a key figure in the Bantamweight division for 5 years and one of the faces of Japanese boxing for over a decade. The "Japanese Ace" was a sharp punching sensation and a force to be reckoned with, as shown by the fact he was a 4 time Japanese boxing MVP.
Although it's easy to wax lyrical about Hasegawa's skills we don't want to do that here, instead we want to bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Hozumi Hasegawa.
1-Hasegawa's father was also a professional boxer, who fought 3 times before health issues ended his career.
2-Surprisingly Hasegawa failed in his first pro-test bout, due to poor physical condition.
3-Hasegawa began his career at the Senrima Kobe gym where he was trained by Masato Yamashita, who had no previous background as a trainer. Interestingly Yamashita would later set up the Shinsei Gym, and Hasegawa would transfer to the gym with Mr Yamashita in 2007.
4-Despite being managed by Mr Yamashita for much of his career his world title bouts were all promoted by Teiken, who worked alongside the Shinsei gym to further Hasegawa's career.
5-Hasegawa got married in the year 2002
6-In the later stages of Hasegawa's career his walk out song was "Fighting Man" by Shinsuke Kiyokiba, who wrote it specifically for Hasegawa. Notably Hasegawa features in the video for this song, as can be seen at the end of this article, and he is good friends with Kiyokiba. Prior to having "Fighting Man" he used "Once you had gold" by Enya.
7-Hasegawa worked in a watch shop, and did so even when he won his first world title.
8-Although well liked through out the Japanese boxing scene Hasegawa has had a particularly close relationship with Takahiro Ao, and has been described as being like an elder brother to Ao. Incidentally Ao won his first world title, the WBC Featherweight title, on the same day that Hasegawa knocked out Vusi Malinga in a WBC Bantamweight title defense, though the bouts took place on different shows.
9-Hasegawa had long hoped to fight in the US, though sadly it never happened. The closest we got was in 2009 when an agreement had been made, in principle, for Hasegawa to travel to the US to face Vic Darchinyan, if Darchinyan beat Joseph Agbeko. Sadly Darchinyan lost to Agbeko scuppering those plans.
10-Hasegawa's first world title defenses, against Gerardo Martinez, was part of the first "World premium boxing" which ran on NTV from 2005 to 2018 to showing world title fights live, and featured the likes of Hasegawa, Shinsuke Yamanaka and Takahiro Ao.
Bonus Fact - Hasegawa's first world title defenses, as mentioned above, came against Gerardo Martinez. It was however originally planned to come against Deigo Morales, a Mexican southpaw, in a mandatory defenses. Sadly Morales was injured in training and was replaced by Martinez on short notice.
Bonus Fact 2 - Although often regarded as non-puncher, Hasegawa went 13-3 (8) in world title bouts, and had a run of 4 world title bouts ending in the first 2 rounds. In none world title fights he was 23-3 (8).
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).