In 2017 Japanese fighter Sho Kimura travelled to China and dethroned local hero Zou Shiming to claim the WBO world title. Many know that was the first time a Japanese male had won a world title in China, and he went on to become a genuine star in Chinese boxing circles. He would lose the title less than 14 months later, in an instant classic with Kosei Tanaka, in what was regarded by many as the 2018 Fight of the Year.
Whilst a lot is known about Kimura, we now bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Sho Kimura
1-Following Kimura's win over Shiming he was referred to in some circles as the Heisei Cinderella man, referring to the Japanese Heisei era and his journey to a world title, which was unexpected and saw him essentially coming from nowhere to win major title.
2-Kimura's first stoppage win came in his 10th professional bout against Kamon Singram, who had a record of 0-24 with 12 stoppages losses before facing Kimura. Following this win Kimura scored 10 stoppages in his 11 subsequent wins!
3-Kimura's entrance song is “Forever Young” by Japanese folk singer Takehara Pistol, the full version of this song has been included at the bottom of this article.
4-Prior to winning the WBO Flyweight world title he had worked in a liquor store, a job he began doing in 2016
5-Although known as a tough and rugged fighter Kimura was dropped twice on his debut, a 75 second loss to Shosuke Oji.
6-Kimura's September 2014 draw against Akira Kokubo saw him being eliminated from the Rookie of the Year due to the rules of the Rookie of the Year. Incidentally this was Kokubo's third straight draw before he suffered 4 straight defeats.
7-When he won the world title in 2018 he became the first male world champion for the Aoki gym, which had been founded in 1945. Prior to Kimura's success the most notable fighter at the gym was female fighter Momo Koseki, who holds the record for the most world title defenses by a Japanese world champion.
8-Kimura's mother died when she was 44 and he was 20. After winning the WBO Asia Pacific and WBO world titles he took them to his mother's grave.
9-Whilst we all know Kimura's career defining win is his victory in China against Zou Shiming, what's fairly forgotten is that entering that bout he was a total unknown and you could get odds of 9/1 on Kimura beating Shiming!
10-Kimura won his first professional title, the WBO Asia Pacific title 1 day before his 28th birthday. Coincidentally his third professional bout came on his 25th birthday.
BONUS FACT-In beating Zou Shiming and Toshiyuki Igarashi, in back to back fights no less, Kimura actually beat 2 men who competed in the Light Flyweight division at the 2004 Athens Olympics!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Thinking Out East
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