Our new "What a Shock!" feature is where we look at major upsets that have some connection to Asia.
As a result these will be full of spoilers, so please be warned that we will be making it very obvious who won and lost these bouts. Thankfully we won't be using any recent (last 6 months) bouts in this section so there is clearly some lee-way for fans catching up on recent contests.
We also won't reveal the names of the fighters in the title of any of these articles, but they certainly won't be hard to find, if you do open them.
With that said, lets get on to our first "What a shock!"
October 10th 2009
Yoyogi #2 Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
Jorge Linares (27-0, 18) Vs Juan Carlos Salgado (20-0-1, 14)
In 2009 Jorge Linares was seen as the rising star of Venezuela and one of the big faces of the future for Japanese promotional power house Teiken. He had also recently inked a co-promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions and this was supposed to be one of, if not the, final fight in Japan before he launched a full scale attack on the American market. He was a wonderfully talented fighter, one of the best natural talents in the sport, and a fighter who looked like he was going to be a genuine star and was already a 2-weight world champion. The only problem was his chin, and he had been dropped a few times as he rose through the ranks, including being put down by Chawan So Vorapin in 2003 and by Jean Javier Sotelo in 2005. Despite the question marks over his chin the view was that a win here would open the door to a unification bout.
Relatively little was known about Salgado who was 24 but without a win of real note on his record. He was unbeaten but untested and all of his bouts had taken place in either Mexico or the US, except for a single fight in Costa Rica that ended with a draw. He had stopped just 1 of his previous 4 opponents coming in to this and although perhaps seen as a danger man on the Mexican scene he was just supposed to be another easy win for Linares. Even those who were fans of Salgado viewed him as a prospect, and one with issues in terms of activity, going up against one of the most talented fighters out there.
What no one expected to see was for Salgado to put Linares on his backside after just 46 seconds with pretty much the first meaningful punch he landed. Linares got to his feet but, as we've seen from Linares in recent years, he never recovered and Salgado was all over him as soon as the bout continued. Salgado's follow up forced the referee to step in and completely silence the venue.
Fan had come to see Linares show what he could do, and instead their hero had been taken out in just 73 seconds!
This is short, but also a real, real shock!
Sure, what we know now about Linares makes this win look less impressive than it was at the time, but back in 2009 this was a massive surprise and one of the biggest upsets of the year.
Last weekend we saw Chinese fighter Can Xu (18-2, 3) continue a stellar year as he scored his third win of 2019 and recorded his second defense of the WBA Featherweight title. A year ago no one would have assumed that 2019 was going to be the year of Xu but he has been a genuine revelation through the year and despite his lack of power he is a must watch fighter who simply doesn't stop throwing. Following his win over Manny Robles last weekend there really was no one who be a more obvious choice for this week's "Five for..."
1-Josh Warrington (30-0, 7)
After beating Robles we saw Xu himself call out IBF champion Josh Warrington and in reality, that is probably the most exciting bout the division can give us. Not only is it a brilliant unification bout between the WBA and IBF champions but style wise it's a fight that would be none stop action. Both men are very similar in a number of ways, notably they both lack power and they both throw a lot of leather. A clash between the two would likely break the compubox records for most combined punchers and we would genuinely just see a blur of human mass trading blows. The problem is that the men are affiliated with "different sides of the street" but Xu has made it clear he's happy to travel for the fight and it's now pretty much in the hands of the promoters.
2-Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7)
If Xu can't get the IBF champion in the ring then he could chase someone else who wants Warrington. The guy who is regularly calling out the English fighter it American fighter Shakur Stevenson, the current WBO champion. Stevenson has a lot of attention on him from a US media standpoint, and the 2016 Olympian has the backing of Bob Arum, a super star look and a lot of things going for him. Despite some weak performances early in his career he has began to shine recently and is arguably the most notable fighter in the division due to his sizeable US fanbase. This could easy be marketed along the China Vs USA lines, as well as the unification angle, and given the styles of the two men it could be a very entertaining bout with a lot of shots being thrown.
3-Hiroshige Osawa (36-5-4, 21)
If Xu and his team can't secure a big unification fight away from home he might as well return back to China for a fight, like he did mid 2019, and take on a regional opponent. This would be the smart time to get rid of a mandatory challenger and at the moment the #1 ranked WBA fighter is Japan's Hiroshige Osawa. Osawa is no world beater, and wouldn't really be expected to test Xu, but would make for a nice homecoming opponent for Xu's first defense of 2020 before bigger bouts later in the year. This wouldn't be our number 1 choice from a momentum or style perspective, but from a logical stand point it does make sense to get rid of a potential mandatory sooner rather than later, if bigger bouts can't be made.
4-Kid Galahad (26-1, 15)
England's Kid Galahad is a man that not many fighters will be wanting to fight. He's slippery, awkward, and rather dull to watch. He's the sort of fighter who will make opponents look bad and will try to stink the joint out. He's the sort of fighter that, logically, everyone should avoid. However he's the sort of fighter that if you can beat decisively you can essentially get rid of, as a top contender. Warrington struggled badly with Galahad when the two men earlier this year, but if Xu can press and pressure the the Englishman, swarming him, and preventing him from getting the space he needs to mess about, then Xu could likely break him down. This is no easy assignment but one that would get Xu a lot of credit, and potentially open him up to the UK market before a showdown with Warrington. Also unlike most on this list Galahad would likely be willing to travel "across the street" to face Xu given he has little drawing power of his own.
5-Michael Conlan (12-0, 7)
A left of center choice, but one we sort of like from a marketing standpoint is a showdown with Irishman Michael Conlan. Conlan is a former Olympian, best known for giving the judges the finger in Rio 2016, and is now unbeaten as a professional with top 10 rankings from the WBA, IBF and WBO. Conlan is another fighter who wouldn't be the most fun from a style perspective but would be good from a marketing one, with Conlan being a name many fans recognise, especially Irish fans. From an atmosphere point of view the mix of Chinese and Irish fans would be great and the fight would be pretty easy on the eye, even if it's not the all action bout a Warrington contest would give us. This is one of those opportunities to grow a fan base against a notable rising name, and could be a pretty fun way for Xu to sell himself to a UK and Irish fan base, and add pressure to Warrington for the fight we all want.
Last week we looked at the IBF Minimumweight title in our first "Did you know..." and today we go in a complete different direction by doing a Did you Know about one of the most significant venues in world boxing, the Korakuen Hall.
We're pretty confident if you've followed the Japanese scene or any amount of time you will have heard of it, though you may not know much about it, other than it being a very often used venue in Tokyo. It is however a venue that is full of facts, and today we bing you some of those!
1-Despite it's standing as one of the most important boxing venues in the world the venue only has 1,403 seats, though can hold a little over 2000 fans. Of those 1,403 seats only 780 of them are fixed in place.
2-The venue was completed on January 15th 1962.
3-The venue's first boxing show came on April 16th 1962, and was headlined by Kazuo Takayama Vs Oscar Reyes. This was actually the day the venue officially opened, despite having been complete since January. Notably this show was broadcast on Japanese TV as part of the Dynamic Glove series.
4-The decision to build the Korakuen Hall was taken by the hugely influential Yachiyo Manabe, who was a major figure in Japanese and Asian boxing. Although not a fighter Manabe's significance is huge, and he was one of the people behind the formation of the OPBF and also lead the Japanese Boxing Commission as their president.
5-The venue allows spectators to bring their own food and drink into the Hall, and also sells it on site. The venue allows you to bring in your own alcohol, though may require you to pour it into plastic cups.
6-Although the venue is relatively small it has regularly hosted world title bouts. The first in the venue was held in 1970, and saw Hiroshi Kobayashi retain the WBA Super Featherweight title in his second bout against Antonio Amaya.
7-Although best known for boxing it does host a variety of other events, including professional wrestling. The first wresting there was in 1966 and headlined by Japanese icon Giant Baba.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect Hozumi Hasegawa and.... Hiroyuki Ebihara, connecting 2 legends of Japanese boxing!
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-The fantastic Hozumi Hasegawa made his debut on November 22nd 1999 at the Chicken George in Kobe. The same show also played host to the professional debut of Yuki Nonaka.
2-Despite his later career success Yuki Nonaka lost 3 of his first 5 bouts, with the final one of those losses coming to Taisei Marumoto in April 2001.
3-Although Taisei Marumoto is some what known in Japan for his professional boxing career he is now actually a promoter and one of his most notable charges is youngster Riku Kano.
4-In 2016 a then 18 year old Riku Kano faced off with Katsunari Takayama for the then vacant WBO Minimumweight world title. Kano would lose by technical decision to Takayama in an attempt to set a Japanese record for the youngster world champion, trying to beat a record held by Hiroki Ioka.
5-The talented Hiroki Ioka was the final world champion trained by the revered Eddie Townsend, who is still one of the most famous and highly regarded trainers in Japanese boxing history and actually has an award named after him for the Japanese trainer of the Year.
6-During his long and storied career as a boxing trainer Eddie Townsend trained 6 world champions, one of those was the legendary Hiroyuki Ebihara, who held the WBA and WBC Flyweight titles.
(Images courtesy of http://jpba.gr.jp)
Japanese fighters are usually associated with the lower weight classes, however there are a few fighters who have made a mark in and around the Middleweight division, such as Ryota Murata, Nobuhiro Ishida and Shinji Takehara (24-1, 18).
In the 1995 Takehara became the first Japanese fighter to win a world Middleweight title, and although his reign was short he is certainly a man who made his mark in boxing history. Whilst his place is known, at least by hardcore fans, there is a lot that isn't widely known about Takehara, so with that in mind, we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Shinji Takehara
1-Before taking up boxing he had enrolled at a Judo club. Interestingly his father actually ran a boxing gym in Hiroshima, and forced a young Shinji to attend due to his misbehaviour
2-Takehara failed to get into high school, failing to pass several entrance exams as a youngster.
3-Prior to making his professional debut Takehara had worked at the Yokohama Arena, the same venue that he fought William Joppy at in 1996.
4-Altough not many of Takehara's opponents are well known in the west he did have 3 domestic foes on his record which are worthy of note. He was the only man to beat Hisashi Teraji, the father of Kenshiro, he beat 2-time world title challenger Yoshinori Nishizawa and he holds a win over Biney Martin, who is now one of the most highly regarded referees in Japan.
5-Takehara was involved in a very rare double knockdown in September 1995. It came in the 8th round of his second bout with Sung Chun Lee as both men landed huge left hooks at the same time. This was just months before he fought in his career defining bout with Jorge Castro, which he won by decision to claim the WBA Middleweight title
6-When he won the WBA Middleweight title he was only the second man from the Oriental region to have achieved the feat, following in the footsteps of Filipino Ceferino Garcia, who had accomplished the same feat 46 years earlier!
7-Takehara runs a gym with close friend Takanori Hatakeyama, called the T&H Boxer Fitness Gym. The gym is a professionally licensed boxing gym and has guided a number of professionals through their career, including Naoko Fujioka.
8-Takehara was forced into retirement due to a detached retina. It's assumed the issues had actually effected him prior to his final fight, against William Joppy, but hadn't been diagnosed until after the fight.
9-Following his retirement from the ring Takehara had gone into acting, but was unable to get a significant amount of work, so worked part time in a tanning salon. Since then he has set up health brands and sold things like a sweat suit, trainers and diet foods. His "30upDIET" product was selling 20,000 items a day in it's peak thanks to QVC's mail order.
10-In 2014 Takehara was diagnosed with bladder cancer. That conditioned worsened as it spread to his lymph nodes, though thanks to treatment he is now in remission.
The second in our "Top 5 Wins" features looks at another modern icon, as we look at Thai great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (9-15-2, 47). The Thai is a criminally over-looked fighter who is often remembered unfairly as a fighter who only fought in Asia against weak opposition, but the reality is that he fought a lot of fighters who were a lot better than fans realise. In fact of the men he beat numerous ones went on to win world titles in the years that followed, and the way he essentially monopolised the WBC Flyweight world title in the 00's and early 10's is incredible.
So lets have a look at the 5 top wins of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam.
5-Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (October 28th 2010)
In Pongsaklek's first defense of his second reign he took on the then 14-3-1 (4) Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. At the age of 33 Pongsaklek was seen as being on the way out, and although Suriyan hadn't made his mark on the sport by this point, something he would do impressively in the coming years, though the then 21 year old left a great impression here. Pongsaklek was pushed all the way by a talented, tough, determined foe who came of age. Suriyan would put up an amazing effort, using his youth, energy and toughness. The challenger even threw up at one point yet still continued to press and push Wonjongkam in a bit of a forgotten classic. This was a great fight, a hotly contested battle and in many ways the start of the end for Wonjongkam, who would only defend the WBC title 3 more times. It was also a bout that put Suriyan on the map, before he won the WBC Super Flyweight title
4-Edgar Sosa (October 21st 2011)
A year after beating Suriyan we saw Pongsaklek take on excellent Mexican fighter Edgar Sosa. Sosa was 43-6, 2 years younger than Wonjongkam, a former long reigning Light Flyweight champion and a very, very good fighter. He had lost just once in his previous 32 bouts, and that was a very controversial loss to Rodel Mayol, on paper this looked a huge ask for the the ageing Pongsaklek, and Sosa was in great form. What we ended up seeing here was Pongsaklek out boxing, out thinking, out moving and out fighting the Mexican in what turned out to be one final great performance by Pongsaklek. Amazingly this would be his last win at world level. Sosa on the other hand remained a contender until quite recently, losing to Roman Gonzalez in 2015 and Donnie Nietes in 2016.
3-Malcolm Tunacao (March 2nd 2001)
Of course the win that puts a fighter on the map always belongs on any top 5 list, and that's exactly what we got when Pongsaklek took on WBC Flyweight champion Malcolm Tunacao in 2001. The unbeaten Tunacao was 11-0-1, 7, and had taken the title the previous year with a TKO win over Medgoen Singsurat and had made a defense in Japan against Celes Kobayashi. For Pongsaklek this was supposed to be the first real test, the first time he was facing someone of known quality and the first time the then 23 year old Thai was supposed to be in there with a top quality opponent. Pongsaklek made this look incredibly easy, surprisingly so in fact, as he dropped the Filipino champion just over a minute into the fight and set an incredible all out tempo. Tunacao got to his feet but was dropped a second time not afterwards and then dropped again. He was done within a round. This win kicked off a great reign for Pongasaklek and was one of only 2 career stoppages for Tunacao, the other coming more than 12 years later, in 12 rounds to Shinsuke Yamanaka. This was a huge win, and an incredibly impressive one when we look back over out.
2-Koki Kameda (March 27th 2010)
After losing the WBC Flyweight title to Daisuke Naito in 2007, in their third bout, it seemed like Pongsaklek was on his way out. He was "only" 29 at the time but had had 65 bouts and seemed to be on the slide. Over 2 years later however Pongsaklek would become a 2-time world champion, upsetting the then 22-0 Koki Kameda in a notable upset win. Kameda had been one of the stars of Japan, he was a controversial figure, but a huge star and at only 23 years old he was seen as one of the top rising stars, and was already a 2-weight world champion. Kameda had taken the title from Naito, and yet was unable to over-come the then 32 year old Pongaklek. The Thai legend pressed, pushed, forced the tempo and our worked Kameda, who had the edge in speed, but didn't do enough. This was a great win for Pongsaklek and was a huge win at the time, against one of the biggest names in Asian boxing.
1-Daisuke Naito (Apri 19th 2002) I
When a fighter sets a record that stands more than 17 years later, and does so against a future world champion it's worth making a note of. Especially when the fighters go on to have a very storied rivalry. That is part of what elevates Pongsaklek's first win against Daisuke Naito to the #1 place here. Entertaing the bout Naito was 19-0-2 (14), aged 27 he was seen as being in his physical prime and was a a legitimate title challenger. Despite Naito being a really good challenger, Wonjongkam managed to take him out with 1 powerful straight left hand after just 34 seconds. This blow out win is still the quickest win in a world title bout, one of the all time quickest in world title bouts, and was the only stoppage loss for Naito, who would later go 1-1-1 in a trio of rematches with Wonjongkam. For the historical context of this win, it takes the #1 place in our list of Wonjongkam's top 5 wins.
This past Saturday we finally saw the professional debut of 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Hasanboy Dusmatov (1-0, 1), who got off the mark with a 2nd round KO win against Jesus Cervantes Villanueva in Mexico. The bout was a very low profile one, and as with many Uzbek's working with American promoters the bout wasn't well advertised and fans really had to make an effort to find it. A very frustrating issue with promoters who have some of the most talented hopefuls in sport today. Despite those problems it's clear Dusmatov can be fast tracked and today he's the focus of our latest "Five for..."
1-Esneth Domingo (13-1, 7)
Filipino opponents are fairly cheap for promoters to use, and if Dusmatov's team want someone who looks the part, and is pretty damn good, they could do a lot worse than secure Esneth Domingo to take on the Uzbek. The Filipino 21 year old is talented enough to be a test over 8 or 10 rounds, but isn't likely to be good enough to beat Dusmatov, who we suspect would be too sharp and too skilled for Domingo. This would be a great test for Dusmativ, but one he should pass with flying colours.
2-Ross Murray (10-2, 1)
British fighter Ross Murray has struggled to get Light Flyweights in the ring with him in the UK but he has still managed to break into the world rankings and holds a minor WBC title, which Dusmatov might have eyes on to boost his standing with the WBC. For Murray this would be a huge bout at his natural weight, and potentially one that would generate the attention that his career has lacked, due to low interest in the division in the UK. As for Dusmatov it again looks like a very winnable test, and a chance to take a massive step towards a world title fight.
3-Jerson Ortiz (16-2-0-1, 7)
If Dusmatov is going to fight in Mexico and America it might be worth considering Latino opponents as being the most likely set of fighters that Dusmatov will go up against. With that in mind Jerson Ortiz, who is ranked #6 by the WBA at Minimumweight, maybe the perfect opponent. Ortiz is a Nicaraguan fighter who has never been stopped and is more than 4 years removed from his last loss, in which time he has racked up 6 wins. He would be a live under-dog against Dusmatov but the Uzbek would certainly be a big favourite and would be able to crash into the world rankings here.
4-Erik Omar Lopez Garcia (14-4-1, 10)
We stay Latino opponents here with Mexican fighter Erik Omar Lopez Garcia, who is the WBA #6 ranked Light Flyweight. Garcia isn't a big name but is a solid puncher and a man on a roll with an 11 fight unbeaten record, going 10-0-1 (7) during that stretch. Although he's not had any massive wins Garcia has been quietly impressive with victories over Jose Alejandro Burgos and Gilbert Gonzalez, and also earned a draw last year against former world champion Oswaldo Novoa. Again this would be a bout for Dusmatov to gate crash the rankings, get experience against a solid puncher and get some rounds under his belt. There is an air of danger here, but that might well be what Dusmatov needs to get the best out of his skills.
5-Armando Torres (25-18, 19)
Our final choice for Dusmatov is arguably the most interesting, Armando Torres. The 38 year old veteran doesn't look the best test on paper, given he has lost 18 of his 43 pro bouts, but he is in a great position with the WBC, ranked #13, and would be coming into the bout with momentum, thanks to 4 straight early wins including a blow out over former world champion Ganigan Lopez. He's certainly beatable, and Dusmatov would be massively favoured over him however he's a veteran, he's heavy handed and he's got a notable name, having mixed on the fringes of world class for close to a decade.
Of course with Dusmatov being so early in his career his team may give him easier bouts than those listed here, though we'll be very surprised if they don't look to rush the Uzbek to a title fight at either 105lbs or 108lbs.
Today we post our first "Did You Know" article, where we look at the IBF Minimumweight title, which has seen more than 20 champions during it's history, which began in 1987. It's certainly not one of the most well respected titles but is certainly a belt with an interesting history and quite a lot of obscure facts!
1-The first bout for the title took place in June 1987 and saw Kyung Yung Lee stopping Masaharu Kawakami. Officially this was Kawakami's debut, though sources have stated that he did fight under the IBF Japan organisation, and on the on-screen graphic for the bout it is implied Kawakami had had previous bouts and had an 88% KO record
2-The third ever bout for the title saw Samuth Sithnaruepol defeat In Kyu Hwang with a 15 round decision in August 1988. This was the last ever world title bout fought over 15 rounds, and came almost 7 years after the tragic bout between Ray Mancini and Deuk Koo Kim, which had lead to the WBC cutting the length of titles bouts to 12 rounds.
3-Former IBF Minimumweight champions Manny Melchor (38-35-6, 6) and Nico Thomas (29-23-6, 18) both failed to win more than 50% of their professional bouts. Thomas, who held the title for just over 3 months in 1989, won exactly 50% of his career bouts whilst Melchor, who held the title for just over 3 months, won just over 48% of his career bouts. As a result they have two of the worst win rates of any world champions in history!
4-The first decade of the title saw the title exclusively being fought for in Asia, with title bouts in Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. Those 3 countries hosted the first 36 IBF Minimumweight title bouts, and it wasn't until 1998 that the bout was taken outside of Asia. Amazingly after it left Asia, with Zolani Petelo, it would take until 2004 for it to return to the continent.
5-It is the only world title to be held by 2 separate Indonesian fighters, with Nico Thomas and Muhammad Rachman both holding the belt!
6-In 2013 Katsunari Takayama became the first Japanese fighter to hold the title, winning the belt in Guasave against Mario Rodriguez. This was third time lucky for Takayama, who had seen his first challenge for the belt end with a No Contest, and his second was a decision loss, both against Nkosinathi Joyi.
7-Having just mentioned Takayama it's worth noting he is one of two men to have held the title more than once. The other Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, who lost the belt on the scales in May 1996 before reclaiming it less than 2 months later.
8-Ratanapol Sor Vorapin is the only man to have defended the belt more than 10 times! He managed 12 defenses in his first reign alone, and then added 6 more during his second reign for a total of 18, which is more than double of the second most, 7 defenses by Fahlan Sakkreerin Sr.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect Kyotaro Fujimoto and...Pone Kingpetch.
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here!
Also we're very open to suggestions for fighters to link if you'd like to leave a comment!
1-Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto will be fighting Daniel Dubois on December 21st at the Copper Box in London.
2-The Copper Box in London was also the venue that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games where Ryota Murata won an Olympic Gold medal.
3-After winning the Olympic gold medal at the London games Ryota Murata signed a promotional deal with Bob Arum and Top Rank, who co-promoted Murata with Japanese promoter Teiken.
4-Another Asian fighter who has been promoted by Top Rank and Bob Arum, is Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, who spent years guided by Arum who helped to make "Pacman" a global boxing icon.
5-During his legendary career Manny Pacquiao has held a number of titles. His first international title was the OPBF Flyweight title, which he won in 1997 when he stopped Chokchai Chockvivat in 5 rounds back in 1997.
6-The OPBF Flyweight title, which has been around since the 1950's, was once held by Thai icon Pone Kingpetch, who was the first ever Thai world champion, winning the World Flyweight title in 1960 when he beat Argentina's Pascaul Perez.
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).