Last week's "Did you know..." focused on one of the most iconic and well known venues in Japanese boxing, the Korakuen Hall. Today we stay on the theme of venues, but move West across Japan to look at one of the main venues for the Kansai region, the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, which you know better by other names that it's had over the years. It's arguably the most significant venue that boxing uses in Kansai and hosts a huge number over events every year.
So here we go with "Did you know... Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium"
1-The venue actually predates the Korakuen Hall, albeit not in it's current form. The venue first opened in 1952, around a decade earlier than Korakuen Hall. From what we can find it hosted very early on, with boxrec listing a show there back in 1953. The venue was however closed and renovated in the 1980's and the current gym was completed in 1987. Incidentally the venue also had one of it's first name changes in the 1980's, but more about it's name a little later.
2-The venue is actually split into several venues, with two main halls, with a smaller hall in the basement area and a main venue on top. The main venue has around 3100 fixed seats. Both of these venues have held boxing events.
3-In 2013, during a volleyball game, one of the pieces of wood on the floor snapped, injuring a player. The floor broke in such a way that it stabbed a player in the abdomen causing them to have stitches.
4-The venue has changed names multiple times, and it likely to be better known by boxing fans for one of two names. It started life in the 1950's as a "sports hall" before becoming a "gymnasium" in the 1980's. In 2012 it had it's name rights bought by BB Sports which saw them change the name to the BODYMAKER Coliseum, a venue that we suspect many Kazuto Ioka fans will recognise. When the BB Sports contract ended the venue took it's old "Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium" name back, before rights were sold again, in 2015 to EDION. EDION then renamed it the "EDION Arena Osaka", a name that it will carry until 2023.
5-Due to the name changes Kazuto Ioka fought at the same venue under 3 different names in the space of 9 months. In September 2014 he fought at the BODYMAKER Coliseum, in April 2015 it was the Prefectural Gymnasium and in September 2015 it had become the EDION Osaka.
6-The venue has crossed into fiction numerous times, being used in Hajime No Ippo and spin off video games "Victorious Boxers: Ippo's Road to Glory" for the PS2.
7-Until the mid 1990's the All Japan Rookie of the Year final was held at the venue, before going to the Korakuen Hall, which has hosted the event since. Despite that the "EDION Arena Osaka", as it's now called, continues to host the West Japan Rookie of the Year finals.
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).