One thing we've discovered from our time on the internet is that everyone likes a good list, so here's one looking at some unique and interesting facts from Japanese boxing. For this list we've tried to stay away from the ultra-obvious for the most part. So with that said, hopefully something on this list will be something you've not heard or read before!
1- Tsuneo "Piston" Horiguchi has the record for the most fights and most wins in Japanese boxing history. His career, which began in 1933 and ended in 1950, just 6 months before his death, saw him rack up an incredible 142 wins from 183 fights!
To put his activity into some perspective, it would have be almost 11 fights a year had those years been normal years. Of course, they weren't normal years, with World War 2 coming right in middle of his career, leading to him fight just twice in 1944 and not at all in 1945. Meaning on average, he fought way more than 11 times a year, with his busiest year being 1946, where he fought 20 times...with the first of those fights coming on May 1st of that year!*
If you're interested in learning more about Horiguchi we did actually stumble on a documentary on him, in Japanese, which can be seen here The story of Piston Horiguchi
2-Jiro Sawada is thought to be the youngest Japanese fighter to score a professional victory, in Japan. The youngster was assumed to be 15 years, 10 months and 5 days old when he beat Jiro Kumagai in May 1954. There is some dispute over this, due to his birth records being lost in the war, though his reported date of birth is July 23rd 1938.
Although this record appears to stand for Japanese fighters on Japanese soil, it's actually been broken by fighters fighting outside of Japan. For example, Ryuto Maekawa was 15 years, 3 months and 19 days old when he won his debut in Thailand in 2011. Given how many fighters fight outside of Japan it's hard to really be sure of the youngest age for those who score a win away from home, though it's hard to believe many have done so younger than Maekawa.
If Sawada's birth date is right, he is also the youngest Japanese fighter to win an OPBF title, winning the Lightweight title before his 18th birthday.
3-The shortest recorded bout in Japanese boxing history was an all debutant affair that saw Daiki Saito take out Yasuyuki Hoshino in just 8 seconds back in 2005. This goes down as one of the shortest ever fights in boxing history, never mind Japanese boxing history, and can be seen in full underneath this article.
Bizarrely Saito would fight just once more, 4 months later when he fought to a draw, whilst Yoshino would compile a 5-5-1 (4) record, before ending his career in 2013.
4-Kazunori Tenryu, also known as Kazunori Denju, is reported to be the shortest Japanese male boxer, standing at 4'9", or just 145cm. He is a man of a few interesting historical footnotes, including being the first ever Japanese Light Flyweight champion, winning the belt in 1975 and essentially monopolising the title from 1975 to 1980, before losing to future world champion Tadashi Tomori.
Whilst Tenryu would dominate the domestic scene he sadly came up short in world and OPBF title fights, and would really only leave a mark on the Japanese scene during an 8 year career that saw him run up a 29-7-3 record. That doesn't look great though his losses were mostly to world class fighters, including Tomori, Shigeo Nakajima, Jaime Rios, and Sung Jun Kim.
5-Eijiro Kuruma really loved the Japanese Featherweight title! We often seen fighters jumping through the weight classes to claim a second or third title, for Eijiro Kuruma however there was seemingly only one title he ever wanted. The Japanese Featherweight title. He is the only man in Japanese boxing history to win the same national title 4 times. Yes he is a 4-time National Featherweight champion!
Kuruma would win the belt for the first time in January 1983, would start his second reign in March 1984, his third reign in August 1985 and his final reign in August 1986. His only bout for any other title came in a loss to OPBF Featherweight champion Sung Yun Kim in November 1986, in what was Kuruma's final bout.
Please let us know if these types of articles are something you're interested in as we're happy to provide more of this time of thing in the future and shine a little light on more small fact of boxing history!
*There is some dispute about Horiguchi's record, and the official Japanese records suggest that the most fights in a year record is held by Iwao Hakamada at 19. Hakamada's record should be noted as the JBC record though, with Horiguchi's record pre-dating the JBC which was created in 1952.
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).