One of the most popular and familiar faces on the Japanese scene is the "Amazing Boy" Kenshiro (16-0, 9). The talented and skilled fighter, who has also been dubbed the "Smiling Assassin" and the "baby faced assassin" is one of the fighters who has managed to capture the attention of Japanese fans, and those who follow the Japanese scene.
Despite the growing attention for the youngster, there is a lot about him that fans may not know, so here are "10 facts you probably didn't know about...Ken Shiro"
1-Kenshiro, full name Kenshiro Terahi, was named after the Kenshiro character in "Fist of the North Star".
2-His cousin is boat racer Takahiro Korezawa
3-Originally Kenshiro wasn't interested in boxing, and was almost pushed into it due to bad school grades and his father, Hisashi Teraji who was a successful fighter himself in the 1990's, winning the Japanese Middleweight and OPBF Light Heavyweight titles.
4-As an amateur Kenshiro ran up a 58-16 (20) record, including 2 losses to Naoya Inoue one of which came by stoppage in the 63rd Inter Highschool Final's in August 2009!
5-Interestingly the 63rd Inter Highschool Final saw Rikki Naito win the tournament. Naito and Kenshiro hold a distinction together, as the only second generation fighters to have won OPBF and Japanese titles, following in the footsteps of their fathers who had done the same. Kenshiro's father Hisashi, as already mentioned, won the Japanese Middleweight and OPBF Light Heavyweight titles whilst Naito's father, Cassius Naito, won the Japanese and OPBF Middleweight titles. Kenshiro is however the first son of a former OPBF and Japanese champion to go all the way and win a world title.
6-Kenshiro is the first world champion from his father's BMB gym in Kyoto.
7-Despite having won the Japanese title from Kenichi Horikawa, ending Horikawa's reign, the two fighters have a very good relationship. Horikawa has been used as a sparring partner a number of times for Kenshiro, including in some media spars ahead of world title defenses. Kenshiro returned favour earlier this year when he publicly sparred with Horikawa after Ryuto Oho failed to make weight to face Horikawa in what had been scheduled as a Japanese title defense.
8-Kenshiro was supposed to defend the Japanese Light Flyweight title in the 2017 Champion Carnival against would be mandatory challenger Tetsuya Hisada. That bout, which was scheduled for April 2nd 2017, was scrapped when Kenshiro's team managed to secure a bout with WBC world champion Ganigan Lopez. Kenshiro went on to win that bout by majority decision. Around 4 and a half years after the scheduled Hisada Vs Kenshiro bout, Hisada would challenge for the WBA title against Hiroto Kyoguchi. Interestingly Hisada would still get a shot at the Japanese title in 2017, beating the previously mentioned Kenichi Horikawa for the belt in what was their third bout.
9-Unlike many fighters Kenshiro has actually shown no major rush to become a multi-weight champion, stating on multiple occasions that he'd rather break the Japanese record for most world title defenses of a single title instead. The male record currently stands at 13, held by Yoko Gushiken who held the WBA Light Flyweight title, and has only seriously been challenged a couple of times, most notably by Shinsuke Yamanaka who managed 12 defenses of the WBC Bantamweight title. At the time of writing he has notched 6 defenses of the WBC Light Flyweight title.
10-To end this we go full circle. Kenshiro's ring walk song has long been Crystal King's "Regain Love", which was also the theme song for first 82 episodes of the "Fist of the North Star" anime.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Thinking Out East
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