On February 11th 1990 the sport of boxing got one of the biggest upsets in history, as the supposedly invincible Mike Tyson came un-done and was stopped by the unheralded James "Buster" Douglas. The bout is one that every fan knows about and most fans have seen, numerous times. It's a bout that has been debated, due to a supposed long count, for years, and it's still a bout that gets brought up regularly in conversation.
Whilst the bout is famous, to say the least, there are a lot of details that are under-reported, with so much focus on the betting upset and the behind the scenes stuff with both fighters. We all know that Douglas's mother died in the build up to the fight whilst Tyson was going through his messy break up with Robin Givens, with the two finalising their divorce in 1989.
So today's "Did you know" looks at some details of Tyson Vs Douglas that fans may not be aware of, or may have forgotten.
-The bout was actually sold under the banner "Tyson is Back!"
-The fight was the second time Tyson had headlined at the massive Tokyo Dome, where he had beaten Tony Tubbs in 1988. As we write this this was actually the last boxing event at the Tokyo Dome, most 30 years ago! Though there is now talk of the venue being used to stage a potential Ryota Murata fight.
-On the under-card were two future world champions, Joichiro Tatsuyoshi and Eloy Rojas.
-As well as the future world champions the card also featured a trio of world title challengers. Yuichi Hosono, a future 3 time world title challenger, Hitoshi Kamiyama and Noree Jockey Gym, who both challenged for titles once.
-On the subject of the under-card and Noree Jockey Gym the show featured Noree's rematch with Naoto Takahashi. The bout failed to live up their thrilling first bout, which had taken place 9 months earlier, and was the start of the end for Takahashi.
-This was the only time Douglas, who fought more than 40 times as a pro, would have a professional bout outside of the USA.
-According to Compubox Tyson threw just 214 punches by the time was stopped. Given we were almost half way through round 10 this works out as less than 23 punches a round. Douglas on the other hand had thrown 441 punches, and landed more than Tyson had actually thrown!
-Although regarded as a ridiculous under-dog Douglas was ranked in the top 5 by the IBF (#2), WBC (#3) and WBA (#4). He was a top contender, though was regarded as such an under-dog to Tyson's destructive reign.
-Two of the three judges were Japanese, and both seemed to give Tyson the benefit of the doubt where they could, the third official, American Larry Rozadilla, was the only judge to have Douglas winning.
The rise of Naoya Inoue has been one of the most significant talking points in world boxing the last few years, with Monster taking the boxing world by storm and becoming a 3-weight world champion in the space of just a few years. His success, along with that of his younger brother Takuma Inoue and their cousin Koki Inoue, has been remarkable and it's all been spearheaded by their trainer, Shingo Inoue.
Whilst most fans who have followed the rise of the Inoue clan will be aware of Shingo there is a lot that probably isn't know about the patriach of the Inoue family. So today we'll take a look at Shingo Inoue as he features in our "Did you know..." series.
-Shingo's parents divorced when he was in elementary and he was brought up by his mother
-Shingo was just 19 years old when he got married. He and his wife have now been married for close to 30 years and have 3 children, the eldest of which is a daughter, then there's Naoya then Takuma.
-Although best known by fight fans as a boxing trainer Inoue is also the head of Meisei Paint Co., Ltd., who are a painting company based in Zama city.
-Shingo has revealed that Naoya wanted to become a boxer after seeing Shingo himself training at home. At the time Naoya was 6 years old.
-Whilst Shingo didn't turn professional did have a short amateur career, reportedly running up a 2-0 record. He didn't have the time to turn professional or do much gym work, due to his painting company.
-Takahiro Shiraishi, a tenant at a condo that Shingo owned but didn't manage, killed 9 people in what was a massive news story. For those interested in more details on this Gabe Oppenheim did an interesting feature on it last year.
-In 2015 Shingo became a published author, with his 256 page book "努力は天才に勝る!" ("Effort is better than Genius"). The book is currently available on the Japanese Amazon website.
-Inoue shares his name with a Marathon and Ultra Marathon runner.
Arguably the most famous rivalry in this sport was the one between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The rivalry not only gave us 3 legendary fights but also gave us the most famous bout in Asian boxing history, the "Thrilla in Manila".
The bout was the third, and final, bout between the two men who first met in 1971 then against in 1974, was a tremendous war that we expect every single fight fan to have heard about, if not seen multiple times. It's one of the most iconic bouts the sport has given us and a testament to the punishment two men can take.
Today we look at some of the little known details of the "Thrilla in Manila" in our latest "Did you know" article.
-In the build up Ali introduced his then mistress, Veronica Porche, to President Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos as his wife. This wouldn't have been an issue had Ali's actual wife Khalilah Ali, not seen the introduction on TV. OOPS! Muhammad Ali and Khalilah Ali would divorce less than 2 years later and Ali would later marry Veronica Porche.
-Zach Clayton was unable to referee the bout as Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo refused to let Clayton out of his duties as a civil service employee. This was part of a smart game plan by Eddie Futch who managed to the get Carlos Padilla Jr the role of referee.
-Larry Holmes was on the under-card, beating Rodney Bobick in 6 rounds. Holmes would, of course, later beat Ali in one of Ali's final career bouts.
-Also on the under-card was another future world champion, Rolando Navarrete, who lost to Fernando Cabanela. The two would rematch in 1978 with Navarrete avenging his loss, before later claiming the WBC Super Featherweight world title in 1981.
-Although the bout took place in Metro Manila it didn't take place in Manila City. Instead it was the neighbouring city of Quezon.
-The bout took place on a Wednesday! In fact it took place on a Wednesday morning to accommodate a US closed circuit audience.
-Frazier would never win a bout after this. He suffered his second stoppage loss to George Foreman 8 months later before a comeback in 1981 that saw him fight to a draw with Floyd Cummings.
-Despite all 3 scorecards having Ali in a comfortable lead at the end of the 14th round the Associated Press had the bout even, 63-63.
We continue our Did You Know... series by moving through the weights and looking at the OPBF Super Middleweight title. Given the the fact the title has been around for over 30 years we would expect some interesting facts, and there are some...some which genuinely shocked us.
-There have only been 42 OPBF Super Middleweight title bouts, including interim title bouts, since the title was inaugurated in 1988 with 18 reigns of the regular title, and 2 interim title reigns. Australian Rod Carr was in the first 4 bouts for the title, Yuzo Kiyota has been in 12 of those and Yoshinori Nishizawa has been in 9.
-Most of the title reigns have been by Australians. In fact 9 Australian's have held the title, for a combined 10 reigns of the belt.
-Only 1 OPBF Super Middleweight champion has won a world title, with that being Danny Green. Several have however fought for world titles
-Yoshiaki Tajima was the first Japanese fighter to challenge for a Super Middleweight world title title, losing in 7 rounds to In Chul Baek. He's the only Japanese world title challenger at the weight to have never won the OPBF Super Middleweight title, though he did win the OPBF Middleweight title. Both Yoshinori Nishizawa and Yuzo Kiyota have both won the OPBF title, multiple times, and challenged at world level. None of the three men managed to win their world title bouts though.
-The OPBF Super Middleweight title has been held by two Korean fighters. The first was Byung-In Kang, who won the title in 1993 and defended it twice before losing to Australian Darren Obah and retiring with a 12-1 (7) record. The second was Yong Suk Choi, who actually took the belt from Obah in 1996, in just his third bout and also retired with 1 loss, ending his career in 2009 with an 11-1 (5) record.
-Yoshinori Nishizawa is the only 3-time champion. Rod Carr and Yuzo Kiyota both had 2 reigns. Interestingly Carr and Kiyota ended their first reigns by vacating, and won the title they themselves had vacated before anyone else had won it. This gives Carr the first and second reigns and Kiyota the 15th and 16th reigns.
-At the time of writing, the last bout for the belt was way back in September 2018, as Jayde Mitchell made his second defense of the belt
-Although not related to the OPBF title directly Korean fighters are the only Asian fighters to win world titles at Super Middleweight, with Chong Pal Park and In Chul Baek both holding world titles. Park was the first, holding the IBF title from 1984 to 1987 and the the WBA title from 1987 to 1988, and then Baek followed holding the WBA title from 1989 to 1990.
The JBC Minimumweight title has been in existence since the mid 1980's and has been an interesting title. It's been held by 29 fighters since it's inception, and has been held by a number of world champions. It may not be the most prestigious of titles, but it's certainly an interesting one with a solid list of former champions.
With that in mind we thought it was a great idea to cover the belt in our latest "Did you know..."
-Kenji Ono was the first champion but not only fought in the first ever Japanese Minimumweight title fight, beating Missile Kudo for the belt, but less than 3 months later he was also involved in the first ever OPBF Minimumweigjht title bout, losing to Samuth Sithnaruepol.
-Missile Kudo, who lost to Kenji Ono in the inaugural bout for the title, would win the belt at the third time of asking but lost in his first defense. Incidentally his career record was 10-12-2 (3), meaning he had more losses than wins
-A staggering 4 men held the title in 1988! These were Kenji Yokozawa, who began the year as the champion before vacating early in the year, Yasuo Yogi, who held the title from February 25th to June 27th, Missile Kudo, who held the belt from June 27th to November 13th, and Hisashi Tokushima, who was the last champion of the year. This is even more peculiar when you consider there wasn't a single bout for the title in 1989!
-Kusuo Eguchi and Katsuaki Eguchi, who fought for the vacant title in June 1993, were brothers! This is the only time a Japanese title has been fought for by brothers!
-The most defenses of the title is a record jointly held by Rocky Lin and Satoshi Kogumazaka, who both defended the title 7 times
-Makoto Suzuki is the only fighter to have had multiple reigns, holding the belt twice. His first reign ran from June 1999 to January 2001, when he lost to future world champion Yutaka Niida, whilst his second reign ran from September 2001 to September 2002, when it was ended by previous interim champion Hiroyuki Abe
-Hiroyuki Abe's interim title reign is the only time the title has been held as an interim belt, and that only lasted from June to September 2002.
-World champions who have held this title are Hiroki Ioka, Keitaro Hoshino, Yutaka Niida, Katsunari Takayama, Akira Yaegashi and Tatsuya Fukuhara
-Having just mentioned Katsunari Takayama it's interesting to note that he won a world title, then the Japanese title, then went back to world level, claiming more world titles as he completed his "Grandslam" of world belts.
At the time of writing the OPBF Minimumweight title hasn't been fought for since Lito Dante shocked Tsubasa Koura in March 2019, despite that we thought it was an interesting title to look at for our latest "Did You Know" feature...
-The first ever OPBF Minimumweight champion was Samuth Sithnaruepol, who was in the final ever 15 round world title bout. Samuth would defend the OPBF title 4 times before winning the IBF Minimumweight title, defending it twice. Interestingly he lost the IBF title to Nico Thomas, who later went on to win the OPBF Minimumweight title as well!
-Samuth and Thomas aren't the only 2 OPBF Minimumeight champions to win world titles. Others include Hi Yong Choi, Rodel Mayol, Akira Yaegashi, Merlito Sabillo, Kosei Tanaka, Ryuya Yamanaka and Hiroto Yamanaka. Interesting Thomas wasn't the only man to win a world title before winning the OPBF title, with Xiong Zhao Zhong doing the same, winning the WBC title before taking the OPBF belt
-As mentioned Samuth Sithnaruepol was the first champion and he made 4 defenses of the belt. That 4 defenses record is actually a record for the most defenses of the title title. Samuth is also the only Thai to have won the title.
-The title has been held by fighters from Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Philippines and China. Whilst that might not seem something worthy to mention it is actually the only OPBF title to be held to be held by fighters from those 5 particular countries. In fact it's the only one to have ever been won by a Chinese fighter!
-The first 4 champions, and 16 of the combined 22 title reigns to date, have ended with a champion vacating the title!
-Given the title has changed hands 5 times, rather than being won from a vacancy as it has been 17 times, it's interesting to note that it's only been won from a reigning champion ONCE by unanimous decision. This unique result saw Yasutaka Kuroki defeat Toshikazu Waga on November 16th 2008.
-From the 53 title bouts 3 have ended in a draw, including 1 technical draw. Amazingly the most recent of those was more than a decade ago!
-There wasn't an OPBF Minimumweight title bout in 2013, 2001, 1997, 1996 and 1994
-Incidentally the longest reign of a fighter was 3 years and 11 days, from February 11th 1995 to February 22nd 1998, by Nico Thomas. It is worth noting however that for more than 24 months of his reign he didn't actually defend the belt.
A new year is here and we continue our "Did You Know" series by looking at another of Japan's many notable gyms, this time a new gym that has began to make it's name in recent years. The gym is one lead by a former world champion, and is regarded as one of the very best gyms in Japan for top talent. That, is the Ohashi Gym.
The gym was set up in the 1994's by former WBC and WBA Minimumweight champion Hideyuki Ohashi and in the 25 or so years since it has become a gym that has attracted a lot of attention, both in Japan and wider afield.
-When the gym was first opened it was named "Ohashi Sports Gym", not "Ohashi Boxing Gym", only changing the name in 2002.
-The gym had their first world champion in 2004, when Katsushige Kawashima stopped Masamori Tokuyama inside a round to claim the WBC Super Flyweight. Kawashima's reign would only last around 13 months, before he lost in a third clash to Tokuyama, but it put the gym on the map.
-The gym is one of the few to have had both male and female world champion, with Ayaka Miyao winning the WBA Atomweight title in 2012. At the time this made the gym only the second in Japan to have had male and female world champions, following the Watanabe Gym.
-Ohashi Gym fighters have fought on almost every TV channel in Tokyo. They have featured on TV Tokyo, TV Asahi, G+, TBS and most recently Fuji TV, who they have a current outlet deal with.
-Since being set up in the 1990's the gym has had 4 world champions, Kawashima, Miyao, Akira Yaegashi and Naoya Inoue. It's also had an interim world champion, former WBC "interim" Bantamweight Takuma Inoue.
-The gym is one of the few Japanese gyms with multi-weight world champions, with Akira Yaegashi and Naoya Inoue both being 3 weights champions, a rarity still in Japan.
-In 2010 the gym relocated from it's then location, at the Aiwa headquarters, to it's current location!
-The physical gym has 2 main floors, each with a training ring in it, as well an oxygen chamber and a 65" monitor
-Despite the gym being known as Ohashi gym, and being owned by Mr Ohashi, the gym is actually operated under the Phoenix Promotion Co., Ltd. Name, a company that took it's name from Mr Ohashi's own boxing nickname of the Phoenix, hence the cards the gym run being known as "Phoenix Battle".
With the recent news that Kyoei would be shutting its doors as a professional boxing gym, at least temporarily, there seemed no better time than feature the legendary gym in the latest of our "Did you know" features
1-The gym was founded by former fighter Masaki Kanehira, the father of recent chairman Keiichiro Kanehira. As a fighter Masaki Kanehira ran up a record of 16-19-3 (1) during a career that ran from 1954 to 1959. Despite fighting almost 40 times there wasn't really anyone notable that he faced
2-The gym was one of the early success stories of Japanese, along with other highly established gyms like Teiken, Misako, Yonekura and Kadoebi. For years the main rivalry of gyms in Japan was Teiken Vs Kyoei, with the two being the biggest and strongest, by far. Sadly though since the death of Masaki Kanehira in 1999 Kyoei did fall behind Teiken, quite badly.
3-One of the gyms most notable "firsts" was promoting the first Japanese professional female fighter Masako Takatsuki, who fought way back in the 1970's. Takatsuki's career was a short one, and boxrec only list her as having 2 professional bouts. Japanse sources on the other hand suggest she had 11, going 8-2-1 (3).
4-The gym is an historically significant one for fans who have enjoyed the recent rise of fighters from former Soviet nations. In 1989 they signed a number of top amateurs from the former USSR, including Orzubek Nazarov and Yuri Arbachakov, who later went on to be among the most influential "Russian" fighters, laying down the ground work for the current rise of fighters from Russian, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
5-Something we intend to talk about in more details one day is "The Orange Incident", but it fits in nicely here. "The Orange Incident", also known as "the poison orange incident", was a massive controversy in the early 1980's when Masaki Kanehira, the then gym chairman, was accused of mixing drugs into orange juice used by Yoko Gushiken and Katsuo Tokashiki. It's unclear what they were poisoned with, though the talk is that it could been a muscle relaxant or a laxative. The accusation was so serious that the JBC stripped Mr Kanehira's licenses and Gushiken's retirement ceremony, which was to take place in 1982, was canceled.
6-The Kyoei gym had arguably the greatest North Korean professional boxer ever fighting for them back in the 1990's. Thanks to Mr Kanehira's relationship with professional wrestler, become promoter, become politician, Antonio Inoki the gym managed to sign 1992 Olympic gold medal winner Choi Su Chol. The North Korean isn't too well remembered now but between 1996 and 1999 he went 3-0 (3) as a professional and scored a very notable win over Samuel Duran. Sadly though his career never managed to reach the heights it could have, and he remains one of boxing's many enigma's.
7-The gym has had 12 world champions, and one interim world champion. Those world champions are Hiroyuki Ebihara, Shozo Saijo, Yoko Gushiken, Yasutsune Uehara, Katsuo Tokashiki, Katsuya Onizuka, Yuri Arbachakov, Orzubek Nazarov, Osamu Sato, Koki Kaneda, Takefumi Sakata and Yota Sato. They also lead Tomoki Kameda to a reign as the WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight champion.
8-Among Kyoei's former fighters are Akira Jo (aka Joe Yamanaka), who would go on to have an excellent career as a musician and be well remembered for his charity work, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, who was dubbed "Santa Tokyo" whilst fighting in Japan, and voice actor Atsushi Imaruoka, who was in Super Street Fighter IV, Overwatch and several Way of the Samurai games, among other work.
After having featured a couple of venues and a couple of titles in our "Did You Know..." articles we now turn out attention to a fighter who went on to become one of the most revered trainers in Japanese boxing history. A man who help really shape the Japanese boxing scene, changing how trainers did their job in Japan and really set the foundations for some of the most notable Japanese fighters of all time.
Not only did Eddie Townsend create champions of his own, but he created mentors, and his influence is being felt directly in today's Japanese scene from his former students, several of which have ran their own gyms.
1-Whilst Eddie Townsend is often referred to as an American-Japanese, he was actually partially Irish. His father was an Irish American lawyer and his mother was Japanese.
2-Staying with Eddie's parents for a moment, his mother died when he was just 3 following a disease.
3-After beginning boxing as a youngster Townsend would have notable success in Hawaiian tournaments before turning professional. As a pro Boxrec list him as being 6-1-1 (4), though Japanese source do suggest he was 12-1. That loss, is agreed by all to have come in December 1941, just before the attack on Pearl Harbour.
4-In the 1962 Townsend was invited to Japan by wrestling icon Rikidozan, to begin training boxers at the Riki Gym. The idea behind the invitation was for Townsend to create Heavyweight boxers in Japan, incidentally in just a few days time we'll see the most successful Japanese Heavyweight, Kyotaro Fujimoto, make his international debut in England against Daniel Dubois. Sadly the hopes of Rikidozan ended the the following year when Rikidozan died following issues after being stabbed by a member of the Yakuza.
5-Despite the untimely passing of Rikidozan the services of Eddie Townsend were in demand and several notable gyms invited him to train their boxers, including the legendary Yonekura gym.
6-The first world champion that Eddie trained was also an Hawaiian-born Japanese-American, Takeshi Fuji. Fuji would be recognised by both the WBA and WBC as the Light Welterweight champion following his 1967 win over Sandro Lopopolo, though would later be stripped of the WBC title, then lose the WBA title in 1968 to Nicolino Locche.
7-Other world champions to train under Eddie Towsend were Hiroyuki Ebihara, Kuniaki Shibata, Guts Ishimatsu, Tadashi Tomori and Hiroki Ioka, who has ran a successful gym himself.
8-As well as the world champions Townsend also trained "Rocky of Naniwa" Hidekazu Akai, Cassius Naito, Eijiro Murata and Kiyoshi Tanabe.
9-In 1990, just a couple of years after Townsend's death, an award in his honour was established. The "Eddie Townsend Award" is an annual award given to recognise the best trainer in Japan.
10-In 2004 a monument was built in his honour in Shirahama.
The Japanese Middleweight scene hasn't been one that has made much news internationally, though it's regularly produced some amazing fights and it's massively over-delivered in the quality stakes in recent years. Today we bring you our latest "Did You Know" article focusing on the Japanese Middleweight title...and It comes just a day before the 8th anniversary of the brilliant title fight between Koji Sato and Makoto Fuchigami, which we've included at the end of this article!
1-The first bout for the what is regarded as the Japanese Middleweight title came in 1947, when Shokichi Arai defeated Eiichi Moriwaki with a 10 round decision. This bout was held on August 31st 1947 in Tokyo, and pre-dates the JBC!
2-Hachiro Tatsumi holds three records for the title. He is the only 3-time Japanese Middleweight champion, he has the most total defenses, at 20, and the most defenses in a single reign at 13! Amazingly Tatsumi fought 111 times his 15 year career, and took part in 45 title bouts! During that time he would become a a 2-Japanese Welterweight champion, a 3 time Japanese Middleweight champion and a 3-time OPBF Middleweight champion.
3-Former champion Hajime Fuji, who held the title for 6 months, had previously been a Sumo wrestler before turning to boxing in 1966
4-Several American fighters have held the title. These include George Carter, who actually beat Hachiro Tatsumi on debut, Steven Smith, who fought as "Flasher Ishibashi" and Kevin Palmer.
5-The belt was once held by an English fighter who shares his name with that of a former British Prime Minister! That was James Callaghan, who held the title in 1980, defended it once, then retired with a 6-0 (4) record.
6-The little known known champion Katsuo Esashi ended his career with a losing record despite winning the title in 1979. In the end Esashi would retire with a 5-6 (3). He won the belt when he stopped the then 9-11-1 Nessie Horiguchi, and lost in his first defense just 7 months later. Incidentally he fought two future world champions, losing twice to Masashi Kudo and also losing in his final bout to Chong Pal Park. Surprisingly his only decision defeat was a 10 round decision loss to Kudo in their second bout.
7-Esashi wasn't the only champion to end up with more losses than wins either! Yoshiaki Eto, who retired 11-13-1 (5), had done the same in the 1960's.
8-Only 2 fighters who have held the title have ever gone on to win a world title. The first of those was Masashi Kudo, who held the WBA Light Middleweight title in the late 1980's, and Shinji Takehara, who won the WBA Middleweight title in 1995.
9-Despite the failure of Japanese Middleweight champions winning world titles several have tried, including Yoshiaki Tajima, Yoshinori Nishizawa, Naotaka Hozumi and Makoto Fuchigami.
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).