Fans who come here every week for these mini fact pieces will this midweek series really doesn't have the biggest names, but the hope is to help give those fighters bit of extra attention. Today we shine a light on a fighter that really does deserve more attention. It's someone who dominated the Japanese national scene for several years and seemed to be lined up for a world title fight. He also fought at a higher weight than your typical Japanese fighters.
Today, for our 5 Midweek Facts series, we're looking at Akira Ohigashi (39-8-3, 26), who made his name at Light Middleweight, where he won the Japanese title. His career ran from 1988 to 2003, featured exactly 50 pro bouts, and then saw him move on to a different combat sport. He would then return to boxing for a role behind the scene.
1-Ohigahi scored a hugely impressive 10 defenses of the Japanese Light Middleweight title between December 1996 and May 1999. That is the second longest reign, in terms of defense, the title has ever had. Although impressive in terms of raw numbers it's half as good as the defenses record for the belt, set at a staggering 20 by Hitoshi Kamiyama.
2-Ohigashi was lined up for a world title fight against Javier Castillejo in February 2001, in Madrid. That bout got cancelled however when Castillejo ended up injured, and was then given a more attractive offer to face Oscar De La Hoya on his return from injury that June. Castillejo would lose to De La Hoya, but pocket a significantly better financial payment than facing the unheralded Japanese fighter. Reportedly Casillejo got around $800,000 to face the "Golden Boy".
3-The end of Ohigashi's professional boxing career was a sad one. Whilst he was 33 he was still very much a solid fighter, though he did have some out of the ring issues. Thankfully however Ohigashi avoided the downfall of some fighters as he transitioned from to K-1, where he recorded a 3-3 record.
Ohigashi's move to K-1 may have actually played a part in a JBC rule changed that meant boxers who moved from boxing to other martial arts were then unable to get certain boxing licenses, excluding them from returning to the sport in some way. This rule was made a month after Ohigashi's K-1 debut.
4-Following his short 6 fight K-1 career Ohigashi became the chairman of the Atsumi Boxing Gym, which at the time has the very promising Masao Nakamura among it's ranks.
5-Ohigashi's son is part of a Japanese comedy due called "DOUBLE Higashi"
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).