Boxing in Japan has become an international thing in recent years, and when a top Japanese fighter is in action the entire boxing world takes note, as we saw with the WBSS Bantamweight final a year ago. Back in an era of imperial Japan however things were very, very different. The one massive star of the era was Tsuneo Horiguchi, also known as Piston Horiguchi.
Whilst we don't expect many fans to be too aware of "Piston Horiguchi" he's a really interesting fighter, one that we won't really be able to do full credit to in this series. Despite that we'll try to teach you something new about Horiguchi with the latest in this series, with 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Piston Horiguchi
1-Horiguchi was the son of a police chief
2-Horiguchi was managed by Yujiro Watanabe, the man who is dubbed the "father of boxing" in Japan. Although Watanabe isn't too well known by fight fans now a days his influence in Japan early on is huge, and he set up the first Japanese boxing, the Nippon Kento Club in 1921.
3-Horiguchi wasn't just managed by a legend, in Watanabe, but he was also trained by a Japanese boxing legend, in the form of Fuji Okamoto, who would later become the president of the Japanese Professional Boxing Association. Although Okamoto's full record isn't known he is regarded as one of the early Japanese champions, and his career pre-dates the Japanese boxing commission.
4-In 1935 Horiguchi played himself in a Japanese movie called "King of the Ring",
5-Horiguchi is reported to be a former Japanese and Oriental Featherweight champion and former Japanese Middleweight champion. It should be noted that these titles pre-date the JBC and OPBF.
6-The May 28th 1941 bout between Horiguchi and Takeshi Sasazaki was dubbed "Fight of the Century" in Japan. Althoygh the venue isn't listed on boxrec we have been informed that it was at the Ryogoku Kokugikan.
7-With over 170 bouts to his name, including at least 138 wins and 82 KO's Horiguchi holds a number of Japanese national records that are not likely to ever be beaten. It's worth noting that there are differing reports on his career record, but the minimum numbers are 176 bouts, 138 wins and 82 KO's, with others reporting he had 183 bouts, 142 wins and 87 KO's. It's worth noting that his official record, as per the gym he set up, is 138-24-14 (82), different to the Boxrec record.
8-Horiguchi passed away in October 1950 at the age of just 36. He died after being hit by a train close to Chigasaki. There are mixed reports as to what he was doing on the train line, though the two main lines of thought are that he was either drunk or suicidal.
9-On Horiguchi's grave, in Chigasaki City, there is an inscription that translates as "Fighting is my Life"
10-The gym that was set up by Horiguchi, the P-Horiguchi Gym, is now run by Horiguchi's grandson. Prior to it's current chairman it had been run by Piston's son, meaning it is now been in the family for 3 generations.
Extra Fact 1 - Horiguchi met Babe Ruth, and the two had their picture taken together, which we've included.
Extra Fact 2 - Horiguchi's career really was intense. He fit his whole 170+ fight caerer into 17 years, which included 0 fights in 1945 and just 2 bouts in 1944. Amazingly he in 1946 he fought 20 bouts, a Japanese record!
(Image courtesy of p-horiguchi.co.jp)
When we talk about the greatest Japanese boxers of all time one man who is often over looked from the conversation is Hiroyuki Ebihara, who should make any top 10 of Japanese boxing. The hard hitting southpaw was a major force on the Flyweight scene in the 1960's and faced a genuine who's who. Among those he battled were Fighting Harada, Katsutoshi Aoki, Chartchai Chionoi, Pone Kingpetch, Efren Torres, Speedy Hayase, Horacio Accavallo, Jose Severino and Bernabe Villacampo.
Not only does Ebihara get massively over-looked in conversation about the greatest Japanese fighters of all time but he also seems to get forgotten in general. With that now said, lets look at 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Hiroyuki Ebihara.
1-On December 24th 1960 Ebihara clashed with Fighting Harada in the East Japan Rookie of the Year final. Ebihara was dropped twice and lost to Harada though the two men would go on to become incredibly close friends, and their careers would often inter-twine, despite this being the only bout between the two Japanese greats.
2-In December 1962 Ebihara beat Chartchai Chionoi in what was originally arranged and an OBF title fight. Chionoi missed weight, massively, and was punished by being forced to wear heavier gloves than Ebihara. As a result of Chionoi missising weight the title wasn't actually on the line, though the promoter seemed to try to convince people it was, causing some real issues at the time.
3-Ebihara was one of the champions trained by the legendary Eddie Townsend. The famed trainer stated that Ebihara had the most guts of the fighters he trained. Ebihara was actually the second champion trained by "Eddie".
4-In 1963 Ebihara blasted out Pone Kingpetch inside a round, to become the first world champion from the Kyoei gym. He was followed by the likes of Yoko Gushiken, Katsuya Onizuka Yuri Arbachakov and Koki Kameda, as the gym became one of the most significant in Japanese boxing.
5-Rather interestingly Ebihara was the Japanese world champion to recapture a title, whilst his friend Fighting Harada was the first to become a multi-weight world champion. The title that Ebihara reclaimed was the WBA Flyweight title.
6-Despite being tough as old boots Ebihara suffered a huge number of injuries during his career. Reports out of Japan are that he fractured his left hand 7 times, and also suffered a broken right hand among other injuries. Relating back to Eddie Townsend, the bout with Bernabe Villacampo, the final bout that Ebihara had, saw Ebihara suffer a number of injuries, but Eddie refused to throw in the towel, breaking a rule he had for himself, and explained it was the hardest bout he had seen.
7-Following his retirement Ebihara became a trainer at Kyoei Gym and a commentator for TV Tokyo.
8-Ebihara's daughter died in a traffic accident in 1986
9-In 1991 Ebihara passed away at the age of 51, suffering from liver issues due to heavy drinking. After his death Fighting Harada revealed that he cried at Ebihara's funeral, but didn't cry at that of his own parents. That was how close the two men had become during their lifetimes.
10-The Pokémon known as Hitmonchan in the west is known as "Ebiwalar" in Japan, after Ebihara.
Sometimes when we do these 10 fact pieces they can takes weeks, if not months, to put together 10 interesting fact, and sometimes the facts we use are less interesting than maybe they should be. We sometimes get a little desperate for facts 9 or 10. Today however we cover a 4-time world title challenger who was genuinely one of the easiest and most compelling fighters we could ever talk about. Someone who is a genuine inspiration and some one we are very glad we decided to do. That is Hiroyuki Sakamoto.
Fans of the sport have likely seen Sakamoto's amazing bout with Takanori Hatakeyama, a real classic from 2000. They may well have seen his shoot out with Gilberto Serrano and his losses to Stevie Johnston and Cesar Bazan, but many won't know much at all about Sakamoto. With that said, here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Hiroyuki Sakamoto
1- Sakamoto's parents divorced at a young age and he and his younger brother were left in the care of his relatives. Sadly the relatives were abusive, to the extent that his brother collapsed from malnutrition and the two would end up in care.
2- Sakamoto graduated from the Komatsubara High School, a school that several other boxers have gone to. These include Shingo Yamaguchi, Yosuke Nishijima and Yuichi Hosono.
3- Like many fighters Sakamoto was inspired to take up boxing after watching it on TV as a child.
4- Sakamoto is a fan of classic music, as a result he often used classic music as his entrance music, with Dvorak 's Symphony No. 9 in E minor, "From the New World", the fourth movement, being one of the most often used.
5- Sakamoto was known as the "Japanese Duran" and the "Heisei KO King"
6- Despite being a popular fighter, with a great back story, Sakamoto was regarded as being a quiet person outside of the ring. He was meek and often came across as shy, the complete opposite to his style in the ring. In an interview in 2018 he explained that he choose to talk with his fists. Things have changed since his days as a fighter and he has regularly spoken at children's homes trying to break the chain of negativity.
7- Sakamoto's retirement ceremony took place on November 17th 2007 at Korakuen Hall.
8- In 2010 Sakamoto opened up the SRS boxing gym. The name is an abbreviation of "Skyhigh RingS", rather using his own name he used the name of something that was hoping to inspire children.
9- In 2000 Sakamoto set up the Kokoro Aozora Fund, which was set up to help support children in Japanese care homes. The charity was later recognised for it's activity, receiving the "HEROs SPORTSMANSHIP for THE FUTURE" award in 2017.
10- Despite never winning a world title Sakamoto has remained a popular figure in Japan and is the subject of several books, and has authored some himself. These are available on the Japanese Amazon. Sadly however none appear to have English translations.
Although Korean boxing is going through a lull in recent years it's hard to deny just how strong Korean boxing history is with a host of legendary fighters. One man who many in Korea regarded as the most naturally talented is Chan Hee Park. Park was a truly exceptional and speedy boxer who carved out an impressive reputation as an amateur and rose to the top of the tree in the professional ranks.
Although a very successful Park has been rather forgotten in the west, with many fans merely looking at his record and no realising just how good he was, and how brightly he shone as a star during his prime. With that said here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Chan-Hee Park
1-Park won gold at the 1974 Asian games in Tehran before representing Korea at the 1976 Olympics, losing in the quarter final to eventual winner Jorge Hernández, who incidentally beat North Korean Li Byong Uk in the final.
2-On the subject of Park's amateur credentials, a Korean paper reported that Park went 125-2 in the unpaid ranks whilst another Koreanb source reported his record as an even more impressive 146-2.
3-In just his third professional bout Park beat the then OPBF Light Flyweight champion Sang Il Jung in a non-title bout. Around a year later Jung challenged Yoko Gushiken for the WBA world title.
4-According to Korean sources when Park won the world title he was listed as the first college student to be a boxing world champion, at the time he was just 21, with that achievement being recognised by the Guinness Book of Records.
5-Park was the first Korean boxer to defend a world title 5 times
6-It's been reported in the Korean press that when Park fought the TV rating for his fights were anywhere up to 80% of the Korean TV watching audience!
7-During his career Park ran up a 17-4-2 (6) record. Bizarrely 5 of his 6 career stoppage wins came in his first 8 professional bouts. His final 15 bouts saw him scoring just a single stoppage, with that coming in a shoot out with Guty Espadas
8-Despite losing 4 times in his career Park only lost to two men. From his 4 losses 5 came to Shoji Oguma and one came to Filipino journeyman Wick Tengam
9-After his career was over Park revealed he had made around ₩200,000,000 and was being paid up to ₩30,000,000 for some of his bouts. Sadly though the money didn't last long after his retirement.
10-Earlier this year Park stated in an interview that he is the professor of martial arts sports at KBS Sports Arts Academy in Gangseo-gu, Seoul.
Extra Fact 1 - After winning the WBC Light Flyweight title in March 1979, aged 21, Park would make his first 3 defenses in the space of just 9 months! He would cramp in his 4th and 5th defenses just 2 months apart and then lose the title to Shoji Oguma just over a month after his 5th defense. He put that level of activity down to why he lose the title, and it's not hard to see why with 7 world title fights in the space of 15 months!
Extra Fact 2 - Park was one of 2 Korean's to be award the Ring Magazine Progress of the Year award, doing so in 1979 after Soo Hwan Hong achieved the feat in 1974.
One former fighter we expect fans to know a little bit about, even if it's not really a lot, is Hideyuki Ohashi. The former 2-time world champion is currently making a name for himself as one of Japan's top promoters, and most well respected people involved in boxing. Although not a huge outside of Japan he can often be seen with his fighters, including the likes of Naoya Inoue and Andy Hiraoka, who have both fought in the US, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential people in Japanese boxing right now.
Although we think everyone who follows Asian boxing has likely seen Ohashi's face in recent years we don't imagine many know too many things about him. With that in mind, here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Hideyuki Ohashi!
1-As an amateur Ohashi ran up an excellent 42-3 (27) record before making his professional debut in 1985
2-Ohashi was dubbed the "Phoenix", a name he continues to use in his promotional events which was dubbed Phoenix Battle, and was also described as being the "150-Nen ni 1-ri no tensai,", essentially the genius that comes around once 150 years.
3-Hideyuki's older brother Katsuyuki Ohashi also had a professional career. His career ran from 1978 to 1983 and saw him run up a 12-11 (1) record. On paper's that's bad, though it is worth noting that 3 of his losses came to men who, at some point, held world titles. They were Khaosai Galaxy, Chan Hee Park and Bobby Berna.
4-In recent years Mr Ohashi revealed that he had originally planned to turned professional with the Hanagata gym, but was advised by Mr Hanagata to instead sign professional papers with the Yonekura Gym. The decision turned out to be a wise one, and he would become the gym's 5th world champion in 1990, when he won the WBC Minimumweight title.
5-As a professional Ohashi's record of 19-5 (12) doesn't look spectacular but there are a bunch of things to note about his record. All 5 losses came to fighters who were either reigning world champions, or future world champions. They included 3 losses to hall of fame fighters, Jung Koo Chang, twice, and Ricardo Lopez. When he suffered his losses his opponents were a combined 126-5-2!
6-Ohashi announced his retirement on February 7th 1994, exactly 4 years after winning his first world title. He had been out of the ring for almost a year by that point. His announcement of retirement also came with the announcement that he would be opening a gym, what is now the very successful Ohashi gym.
7-Ohashi is one of a very small number of former Japanese world champions to have gone on to promoter world champions himself, becoming part of a list that also includes Susumu Hanagata and Yoko Gushiken. Like Hanagata and Gushiken he has actually created male and female world champions. Notably he has had more champions than either Hanagata and Gushiken.
8-Not only has Ohashi lead his fighters to world titles but in fact both he has lead fighters to winning some of the same titles he himself held! Both Ohashi and Akira Yaegashi won the WBA Minimumweight title, with Yaegashi winning it 19 years and 10 days after Ohashi won it, but Ohashi also lead Naoya Inoue to winning the Japanese Light Flyweight title. Ohashi held that belt twice in the 1980's and Inoue won it in 2013.
9-Talking about Ohashi leading things, he lead Team Japan against Mexico in Boxing Grand Prix 2007, which was an event held in January 2007 pitting Japanese and Mexican fighters at the Ariake Colosseum. Despite a loss in the main event, for the Ohashi managed Katsushige Kawashima, Team Japan would win by a score of 4.5 Vs 2.5.
10-Ohashi is a licensed real estate agent, and his Phoenix Promotion is involved in real estate.
Extra Fact 1 - Ohashi dropped out of Senshu University, the same University that Shinsuke Yamanaka would later graduate from. Interestingly Yamanaka was the first graduate from the university to win a world title.
Extra Fact 2 - Ohashi went to the same High School as a number of people involved in boxing. These include Koji Matsumoto, who is now a trainer at the Ohashi Gym, Yuichi Kasai, who went on to become a trainer at the Teiken Gym, former world title challenger Naotaka Hozumi. They also include Ohashi Gym fighters Seiichi Okada, Ryo Matsumoto and Andy Hiraoka. For our wrestling fan readers the school also had eternal bad ass Minoru Suzuki attend, who was several years younger than Ohashi.
Extra Fact 3 - As an amateur Ohashi trained at the same gym that had lead Susumu Hanagata to become a world champion, hence why Ohashi had originally intended to turn professional with the Hanagata gym.
Extra Fact 4 - This article went live on the 30th anniversary of Ohashi's loss to the legendary Ricardo Lopez!
One of the biggest names in Japanese boxing in recent years is that of Kazuto Ioka, the 4-weight world champion and one of the biggest names in the lower weight classes. What we suspect many will know is that he's not the only world champion in the family, with his uncle, Hiroki Ioka, being a 2-weight world champion himself.
Hiroki was one of the young stars of the late 1980's and 1990's, having a career that spanned 12 years and 42 bouts. He was a real prodigy and has remained in boxing since he began his in ring career. Whilst many will have heard the name, we suspect few will know too much about the talented Osakan. With that said, lets educate on Ioka with 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Hiroki Ioka
1-Ioka graduated from the same high school as Magnum Hokuto, an adult actor who claims to have slept with over 2000 women and is allergic to latex, so doesn't use condoms.
2-Despite being from Osaka, and being promoted by an Osakan promoter, he actually made his debut at Korakuen Hall in 1986, at the prodigious age of 17. Interestingly on the same card Koji Nishikawa became the Japanese Flyweight champion, dropping Yoshiyuki Ichikoshi 5 times, and future world title challenger Kenji Matsumura suffered his first professional defeat
3-Ioka was the first ever WBC Minimumweight champion, winning the belt in 1987 with a decision win over Mai Thomburifarm, age of just 18.
4-Ioka stills holds the Japanese record as the youngest world champion. He took his first world title at the age of 18 years, 9 months and 10 days.
5-In December 1991, when Ioka won the WBA Light Flyweight title, he become only the third Japanese fighter to become a multi-weight champion. The first was Fighting Harada and the second was Kuniaki Shibata. Like Harada before him he pursed a goal of becoming a 3-weight champion but fell short in world title bouts at Flyweight and Super Flyweight.
6-Ioka often used movie music for his walk on, including "Lead Me On" from Top Gun and "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky III
7-Only 1 of Ioka's 8 losses came in a non world title bout, that was his final contest which saw him lose to Masamori Tokuyama. Incidentally Tokuyama would go on to become a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion, meaning all 8 of his losses came to fighters who held world titles at some point in their career.
8-Ioka was the last world champion to be trained by the legendary Eddie Townsend. Townsend trained Ioka from the age of 14 and the relationship was as much trainer-student as father-son. Sadly Townsend would die of cancer the day after Ioka made his first defense of the WBC Minimumweight title in 1988.
9-Ioka was involved in a hair product advert, for "Top Boy" which seems very similar to Head and Shoulders.
10-There is a 101 page photo book released of Ioka. The book was done by Kiyoshi Goto and is currently available on several Japanese websites, including Amazon.jp and toudoukan.com.
Bonus Fact 1 - Ioka's family tree dates back to pirates, with his family reportedly being descendants of the Murakami navy, and their sea faring ways lead them to running a fishery.
Bonus Fact 2- Ioka's shoe size is a Japanese 26, which is the same a US size 8 or a UK 7½
Bonus Fact 3 - This article was published 33 years after his first world title win in 1987!
One of many requests we've had for this series is Rocky Lin, the Japanese based Taiwanese fighter who fought as a professional from 1988 to 1998. Although not a big name in the sport he was certainly a notable fighter from an historical point of view.
Sadly despite being a rather major figure it is hard to get many details of Lin's life and career, despite that here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Rocky Lin
1-Although best known as Rocky Lin he was actually born Lin Ming-Chia, which has also been transcribed as Mincha Lin.
2-Lin went a reported 58-5 (30) in the amateurs, and won a number of notable awards, including international titles as well as domestic ones.
3-As a professional Lin fought out of the "Rocky" Gym in Japan.
4-With 7 defenses of the Japanese Minimumweight title to his name Lin is the tied record holder for successive defenses of the title. The figure of 7, which Lin set as the record, has since been matched by Satoshi Kogumazaka.
5-In just his third professional bout Lin fought in a 10 rounder. Not only that but he went up against Norikazu Kawana, an opponent who had previously challenged for OPBF and JBC honours
6-Rather oddly, given he fought 28 professional bouts, Lin only had a single bout in December, that was his Japanese title defense over Masahide Makiyama.
7-Lin was the first world title challenger from Taiwan
8-Lin's only bouts outside of Japan saw him fight Edwin Talita in Hong Kong and Rodolfo Guilos, in Lin's birth town of Kaohsiung, Taiwan. He won both of those bouts by stoppage. Of his other 26 bouts 24 took place at Korakuen Hall.
9-In 1992 Lin faced Ricarod Lopez, with Lin challenging the WBC Minimumweight title. This was Lopez's third and final bout in Japan, where he had won the WBC title in 1990, when he stopped Hideyuki Ohashi, and had made his first defense, again Kimio Hirano.
10 - In recent years Lin has become the National Coach of the Republic of China Boxing Association, and a Professor at the Department of Athletics, School of Physical Education, Taipei City University
Very few Japanese fighters travel to make a name for themselves, but Toshiaki Nishioka came from a different mould fought a handful of bouts on the road. He fought in not only Japan but also France, the US and Mexico and managed to increase his profile pretty well off his international excursions. We suspect most people reading this will have seen some of Nishioka's late career bouts, including his final bout with Nonito Donaire, but may not know much about the "Speed King".
For those who remember seeing Nishioka and can't recall much other than his shell facing off with Donaire, here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Toshiaki Nishioka
1-It's been reported in various Japanese sources that Nishioka had written "My future dream is to become the world champion of boxing" in a book whilst studying at elementary school, something that would layer come true!
2-As an amateur Nishioka went 10-2 before beginning his professional career in 1994, at the age of 18. Despite fighting as an amateur from a young age, his style was always viewed as being more suited to the professional ranks, explaining why he turned pro so young, and had such a short amateur career.
3-Nishioka would only be stopped twice in 47 professional bouts. One of those was his final professional contest, against Nonito Donaire, the other was his second professional bout which saw Nishioka being stopped in 4 rounds by Masahiko Nakamura. Where this becomes notable is the fact Nakamura would actually go on to have genuine success of his own, winning the OPBF Bantamweight title in 1997, and also beat former world champion Rolando Pascua.
4-In the early years of his career Nishioka was seen as a fighter who was brilliant in the gym, and dubbed a "sparring champion", though struggled to shine in the professional ranks. That included his loss to Momotaro Kitajima in the 1995 All Japan Rookie of the Year Final. That sparring champion tag did however become a positive, giving Nishioka motivation to prove himself and a willingness to take on tough competition.
5-Nishioka won his first title, the Japanese Bantamweight title, on the same event that former sparring partner Joichiro Tatsuyoshi ended his second reign as the WBC Bantamweight champion. On the card Tatsuyoshi was stopped by Veeraphol Sahaprom, a man that Nishioka would clash with 4 times, and go 0-2-2 against in a brilliant series of bouts.
6-Nishioka didn't actually become a Teiken fighter until 2000, having originally fought for a different gym, the JM Kakogawa Gym for the first 5 or so years of his professional career. The JM Kakogawa Gym was also the one he trained at as an amateur.
7-Nishioka is one of a very small number of fighters to defend a world title away from Japan. In fact he did it twice! His win in Mexico in 2009, which came against Jhonny Gonzalez was the first ever successful world title defense by a Japanese champion outside of Asia. He then followed that up in 2011 by beating Rafael Marquez in the USA. An addition to this fact is that he is the first Japanese man to successfully defend a world title in 3 countries, Japan, Mexico and the US.
8-Following his retirement form in ring action Nishioka has remained active in the sport, and can regularly be seen working for TV as a commentator. Interestingly he has worked for TV Tokyo, Fuji TV and more notable WOWOW, where he does a lot of the bigger shows.
9-In 2012 Nishioka became a published author, with the release of "Subete wa yume no katei dakara : Ippo o fumidasu tame ni hitsuyo na sanjuroku no koto."
10-In 2013 Nishioka opened the Toshiaki Nishioka Gym, which was opened with the concept that anyone can enjoy getting fit by boxing. The gym, in Hyogo, is still open and still a successful fitness gym. In fact the gym is so successful that Nishioka opened a second gym in 2018, the Speed King Boxing Club.
Whilst the Kameda name is synonymous with a trio of brothers from Osaka there are, of course, other Kameda’s in the sport. They include the likes of Kyonosuke Kameda, the cousin of the fighting trio, and Himeki Kameda, the sister of the fighting trio. Another notable, but unrelated Kameda, was Akio Kameda who was a notable figure in the 1970’s and 1980’s. His name is one who which will be familiar to many fans from that era for his two world title fights, but more about them later.
Despite having two world title fights, fighting in Japan, China, Korea, USA and the UK we don't think fans will know too much about the heavy handed southpaw from Sano, in Toshigi, so here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Akio Kameda!
1-Kameda won gold at the 1975 Asian Championships in Yokohama, that same he also reached the final of the Pre-Olympic Tournament in Montreal
2-As an amateur Kamed went a very impressive 71-7 (47)
3-Kameda made his pro debut in the US on a card featuring former Korean world champion Soo Hwan Hong.
4-In 1985 Kameda beat Kei Tsukada in Beijing, to claim the IBF Japan welterweight title. That’s a belt that is so obscure that few fans will even be aware it was a real thing, and from what we could find only 4 men ever held IBF Japan titles. This also makes him the only fighter to have held a JBC and an IBF Japan title!
5-Although he was originally a Kyoei fighter he did fight out of the Battlehawk Kazama Gym, run by Battlehawk Kazama, in some of his later career bouts, including his aforementioned win over Kei Tsukada.
6-Kameda was dubbed the "One genius in 200 years."
7-Kameda's bout with Terry Marsh in 1987 was the final bout for both men. Kameda never fought again after losing, in what his second world title bout following a contest with Aaron Pryor. Kameda had a record of 27-4 (21) when he hung them up whilst Marsh would retire at the end of 1987 due to medical issues, retiring with a 26-0-1 (10) record
8- When Kameda dropped Aaron Pryor in 1982 it was, reportedly, the third time Pryor had been down in his career. It was also, according to the commentary, the first time Pryor had faced a southpaw. Pryor would later state that Kameda had the best jab of anyone he faced.
9-In an excellent article by Nick Skok, it's been reported that Kameda has taught Karate and treats cancer patients with a moxibustion, which is thought to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. The full article by Nick can be read here.
10-From what we could find Kameda has an acting credit as "Boxer" in the 1982 movie "The Fighter" featuring Toshirô Mifune and Calvin Jung
One of the most popular Japanese warriors of recent years if former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi. The popular action fight from the Ohashi Gym has wowed fans in Japan for years and build a legitimate cult following among international fans for his thrilling battles and blood and guts mentality. Whilst he was never really close to being a top 10 fight in terms of pound-for-pound ranking he had long been in the top 10 most exciting fighters to watch. Win or lose Yaegashi was always a fan favourite.
Whilst we know fans love watching Yaegashi, there are a lot of details regarding the warrior that fans likely aren't aware of. So with that in mind here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Akira Yaegashi
1-When Yaegashi beat Pornsawan Porpramook for the WBA Minimumweight title he became the first world champion from Iwate Prefecture
2-As an amateur Yaegashi went 56-14 (15), winning 2000 Inter-High school tournament, at Mosquitoweight, and the 2002 National Sport tournament, at Light Flyweight. Interestingly 4 of his losses came to the same man, Toshiyuki Igarashi, who Yaegashi would later beat in the professional ranks for the WBC world title.
3-Yaegashi has won a number of awards at the annual Japanese awards ceremony, including the New Comer award (2006), the Fighting Spirit award (2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015), Best Fight (2012 Vs Kazuto Ioka) and Excellent Fighter (2016)
4-Yaegashi's entrance music, for a number of fights including his bout with Roman Gonzalez, has been "Move on" by Japanese musician AK69. Incidentally AK69 has done a live walk out performance for Yaegashi's former opponent Kazuto Ioka. Something the fighters share in common, other than their great bout, is being fans of AK69.
5-When Yaegashi won the OPBF Minimumweight title, in his 5th professional bout, he tied the Japanese record for fewest fights to win the title. He tied the then record of Tadashi Mihara and Eiji Kojima. Interestingly the record was also tied by Yaegashi's stable mate Naoya Inoue. That record has since been broken, by Kosei Tanaka who won the title in his 4th professional bout in 2014.
6-His nicknames in Japan have translated as "Sonic Fist" and "Fighting King"
7-Yaegashi has the unfortunate record of losing in the shortest Light Flyweight world title bout. His opening round loss to Milan Melindo, in 165 seconds, is the shortest world title bout in the division's history.
8-Yaegashi got married in 2010 and has two children
9-Having just mentioned that Yaegashi is married it's worth adding that Mr and Mrs Yaegashi actually own a cafe together, called the Count8. The Cafe and bar is in Yokohama, not far from the south exit of the Seya Station, and Yaegashi works there on a frequent basis and there's memorabilia from his career exhibited there.
10-In 2013 Yaegashi completed the Iwate Kitakami Marathon, completing the marathon in 4 hours and 6 minutes.
Extra Fact - From Yaegashi's 7 losses he suffered 6 in world title fights, the only defeat he had away from world level was in a 2008 bout to Masatate Tsuji in a 6 rounder. Yaegashi was one of 3 Japanese champions that Tsuji would get a successive wins over, with Tsuji also beating Norhito Tanaka and Kenichi Horikawa. Earlier in his career Tsuji had also beaten Yasutaka Kuroki, giving him 4 wins over men who held Japanese titles.
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).