In recent years we have seen Japanese fighters regularly move from being top domestic amateurs into top professionals, with the likes of Naoya Inoue and Kazuto Ioka being tow of the many examples. Sadly that's not always been the case and some of the best amateursJapan has had haven't made as big of a mark on the professional ranks as we, and many others, had anticipated. One such example is Akihiko Nago (31-8-2, 14), who was tipped for stardom when he turned professional but never managed to reach the heady heights expected of him.
Fighting between 1995 and 2013 Nago was always a talented fighter, but an inconsistent one, lacking focus at times when he really needed it.
In just his 11th bout Nago won the Japanese Super Flyweight title, and defended it twice including a notable win over Keiji Yamaguchi. Sadly however losses to Hideki Todaka and Masamori Tokuyama in world title fights ended his hopes of winning a world title. Subsequent losses to Amorn Longsiriphoom, in a massive upset, Yokthai Sithoar, Yasuo Kijima, Katsuyuki Takayoshi, Juan Jose Beltran and Takamomi Abe littered the latter part of his career. That was despite scoring decent wins over Setsuo Segawa, Hidenonbu Honda.
Today we're going to shine a little bit of a light on Nago's time in the sport as we bring you 5 Midweek Facts about Akihiko Nago.
1-Nago graduated from the Konan High School, which was the same school as several other notable bothers, including Flipper Uehara, Yoko Gushiken and Puma Taguchi, as well as Shigeji Nakaima, who's better known for his work as a boxing promoter rather than an active fighter. Interestingly Nago would actually be promoted by Gushiken early in his career, only leaving the Shirai Gushiken gym after his loss in to Masamori Tokuyama in December 2000.
2-Prior to turning professional in 1995, as a teenager, Nago had gone 48-6 (27) in the amateurs and won the Interscholastic and the National Athletic meet. That amateur success saw him turning professional with a lot of expectation and hype, with many viewing him as a future star of Japanese boxing.
3-At the time of writing Boxrec is missing a bout that Nago had in July 1999. That bout, which took place as a tune of up for Nago ahead of his bout Hideki Todaka, saw Nago score a 3rd round win over Jun Magsipoc. Interestingly however Boxrec do have a bout for Magsipoc dated July 23rd 1999 against Jerry Pahayahay.
4-Nago's ring walk music was "Victory Song" by the Diamantes. The band are a Latin band from Okinawa and the song can be head below, with the video of the song being included at the end of this article..
5-Nago had planned a return to the ring, to take on Masashi Noguchi at Korakeun Hall, on September 24th 2016. He would have been edging towards his 40th birthday had the bout gone ahead and had been out of the ring for close to 3 years. The fight ended up being called late on due to Nago suffering an injury and Noguchi instead took on late replacement Jitti Boonsamsan.
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).