On January 22nd we’ll see a potentially thrilling Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight, as hard hitting champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) looks to defend his title against the gritty Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14) in the headline bout of DANGAN 238, which will be streamed live on Boxing Raise.
With that bout in mind we thought it was a great time to return our “Did You Know…” series, as we take a look over the history of the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, which sees it’s history dating back to the mid 1960’s and has seen numerous notable fighters holding the belt.
-The first man to hold the title was Hajime Taroura, who won the inaugural title in 1964. This was around 12 years before the WBC recognised the weight class and around 13 years before the WBA recognised the weight class!
-Taroura’s reign saw him defend the title 9 times in total between August 7th 1964, when he won the title, to February 12th 1969, when he finally lost it. Meaning that by the time he lost it, there was still no recognition of the weight class by the world title bodies. His 9 defenses still stands as the most defenses in a single reign! His reign, that lasted almost 4 years and 6 months, is still the longest, by some margin.
-Staying with Taroura’s reign, all 10 of his title bouts, his title win and 9 defenses, went to decision.
-A final Taroura fact is 3 of his 9 defenses ended in draws, including 2 of his 3 defenses against Koichi Yamamoto. Since then there have only been 4 more draws for the title.
-The second champion was Kuwashi Shimizu, who stopped Taroura in 3 rounds to score the first KO in a bout for the title.
-Shimizu’s reign lasted less than 3 months as he, himself, was stopped in his first defense by Kanjiro Nakajima in late April 1969.
-Despite losing in his first defense Shimizu would quickly reclaim the title, stopping Nakajima in a rematch in July 1969.
-When Kenjiro Nakajima retired his record was a losing one, with a career ledger of 9-13-3-1 (5)
-In 1970 the amazingly named Attack Harada won the title. Sadly his reign lasted just over 3 months. Despite his short reign he was involved in the first, and became the first fighter to lost the belt by technical decision, when he lost to Sarutobi Koyama.
-Sticking with Harada for a moment, he finished his career with a strange looking 23-29-4 (4) record, having fought outside of Japan 15 times, with 5 bouts in the US. Strangely his record in the US was an unbeaten one, going 4-0-1 (2).
-The first man to vacate the title was the aforementioned Sarutobi Koyama, who dethroned Attack Harada and ran up 4 defenses before handing the title back. He vacated due to issues with his eyes, which also lead to his retirement.
-Snappy Asano, probably the second best name of any fighter to hold this title, filled the vacancy left by Koyama. After winning the belt Koyama reportedly entered the ring and gave flowers to the new champion.
-The 9th man to hold the title was Waruinge Nakayama, the first fighter born outside of Japan to hold the title. The Kenayn born 3-time Olmypian held the title for less than 2 years but ran up an impressive 4 defenses before a 1977 loss to Yu Kasahara.
-During his Japanese title reign Nakayama fought in the first ever WBC world title fight at the weight, losing to Rigoberto Riasco. This makes him the first Japanese Super Bantamweight champion to fight for a world title. In fact he did so twice in 1976, also facing Carlos Zarate later that same year for the WBC Bantamweight title.
-The man who dethroned Nakayama was Yu Kasahara in 1977. Kasahara would be the first Japanese champion to fight for the WBA title, facing Soo Hwan Hong. This wasn’t just the second ever WBA Super Bantamweight title fight, but it was also the first time a world title at the weight had been contested in Japan, the country that had recognised the division for well over a decade by this point!
-Kasahara, like his predecessor, also managed 4 defenses.
-On 1979 Kasahara was dethroned by Hiroyuki Iwamoto who’s first reign was an underwhelming one, with just 2 defenses. He would however reclaim the title in 1980 and record a subsequent 8 defenses, making him first in terms of total defenses of the title, at 10, and second for a single reign, at 8. He’s the only man with more defenses of the belt than Hajime Taroura, though did need 2 reigns to manage to break his record which had stood for well over a decade.
-In 1983 Takuya Muguruma dethroned Hiroyuki Iwamoto, via 4th round RTD. As a champion Muguruma held the title for just over 3 years, one of the longest reigns, and notched 7 defenses, good enough for the third most defenses of the title, before vacating it in late 1986. More notable than all that however was that Muguruma became the first man to go from Japanese champion at the weight to a world champion, winning the WBA Bantamweight title in 1987, when he stopped Azael Moran for the vacant title.
-The 1980’s seemed to be the era where the title really did come into its own. Not only did we get Iwamoto’s 8 defense reign and Muguruma’s 7 defense reign but the popular Mark Horikoshi also secured a solid reign with 6 defenses.
-Horikoshi, who was born in America, was the second non-Japanese born fighter to win the title, following the Kenyan born Wakayama.
-In 1988 Horikoshi defended the belt against Atsushi Oyakawa, this was the last time the belt was fought for in Osaka! Current champion Yusaku Kuga wasn’t even born when that happened!
-Sadly for Horikoshi his reign is best remembered for the way he lost the title in 1989, coming up short in a bout often regarded as one of the best fights to ever take place at Korakeun Hall. That was his sensational battle with Naoto Takahashi, which we’ve included at the end of this article. If you’ve never seen it it is worth watching any day!
-Despite going through hell to win the title Takahashi’s reign was a short one, with the “Prince of the Reversal” defending the belt just once before vacating it at the end of 1989.
-Manabu Saijo was the man who filled the vacancy left by the hugely popular Takahashi, and was also the first champion of the 1990’s. Sadly his reign was also a short one, losing in his second defense, when he was stopped by Hiroaki Yokota.
-Yokota’s reign ended in 1992 when he vacated the belt after 3 defenses. He would later go on to challenge Wilfredo Vazquez at the age of 32, a then record for the older Japanese fighter to fight for a world title.
-The vacancy left by Yokota was filled by Yuichi Kasai, a future multi-time world title challenger. Kasai would go on to record 2 defenses before vacating the belt, to challenge for world titles and later win the OPBF title. Much later on Kasai would become one of the most highly regarded trainers in Japan. Kasai was also the first champion at the weigh from the Teiken gym in Tokyo, though there had previously been an Osaka Teiken champion.
-Kasai to do win the vacant title and to vacate it himself, something that has only happened twice since.
-Following Kasai’s decision to vacate we saw a genuine upset as Silverio Tan stopped Yasushi Arai for the title in 1994. There is some dispute about Tan’s record, though it is accepted that Tan had more losses than wins when he stopped Arai for the belt, and the TV graphics for his first defense had him listed as 4-6 (4).
-After Tan won the title he would go a reported 1-5. Again there is some dispute about his final career record but that would give him a definite losing record when he retired in 2002.
-One final fact about Tan, he joined Nakayama and Horikoshi as champions born outside of Japan who won this Japanese title.
-Yasushi Arai would get revenge over Tan in a rematch that the two had in 1995. Amazingly after winning the title Arai notched his first 3 defenses inside a year, all of which went 10 rounds.
-In 2000 Manabu Fukushima won the belt by split decision, defeating Yutaka Manabe. This was the first time the title had ever changed hands by split decision, with all other split decisions, of which there had been 2, favouring the champion.
-Since the year 2000 the most defenses by a fighter has been 6 defenses, with Junichi Watanabe and Masaaki Serie both managing half a dozen defenses of the belt.
-In 2004 Yoshikane Nakajima defended the belt against Setsuo Segawa on a world title double header. This was the last time the bout was fought for outside of Tokyo, with the bout taking place in Saitama.
-In 2005 Shoji Kimura won the title, becoming the second man to win it by split decision. This was rather a notable bout as it came on the under-card of world title double header which saw Yutaka Niida retain the WBA Minimumweight and Hozumi Hasegawa begin his legendary reign as the WBC Bantamweight champion.
-In 2007 Akifumi Shimoda won the title and made 3 defenses. He would later win the OPBF title, and then go on to win the WBA title, making him the first Japanese fighter to complete the set at 122lbs, winning domestic, regional and world honours. He was also the first Japanese national champion at Super Bantamweight to win a world title at the weight, rather than Muguruma who dropped down in weight to win a Bantamweight world title.
-Shoji Kimura became a 2-time champion in 2009, becoming only the third man to reclaim the title. Unlike the previous 2-time champions Kimura didn’t beat the man who had beaten him for the title, and didn’t have reigns that sandwiched his conqueror, but instead it took him almost 4 years to reclaim the belt. A record that still stands as the long gap between reigns of the belt.
-Masaaki Serie became the third man to win the title by split decision when he dethroned Kimura in 2009, he almost made his first defense by split decision, giving the title it’s first back-to-back split decision bouts.
-During Serie’s reign we saw the “interim” title being used for the first, and so far only, time with Mikihito Seto winning the interim title in April 2011. This was due to Serie missing the 2011 edition of the Champion Carnival due to injury. The interim title wasn’t needed for long however with Serie defeating Seto to unify the titles in July 2011.
-Serie vacated the title in 2012 and was followed by Hidenori Otake, who won the previously vacant title by split decision before running up 5 defenses and then vacate it himself. This means Otake was the second man to win the vacant title and vacate it himself.
-Rather surprisingly Otake’s successor followed suit, with Yukinori Oguni winning the title Otake had given up, and vacating it himself.
-Oguni joined a very select list of fighters who held the title before going on to win world honours, upsetting Jonathan Guzman in 2016 for the IBF Super Bantamweight title, in one of the very final bouts of 2016.
-Since Oguni vacated the belt only 4 men have held the belt. These were Yasutaka Ishimoto, Yusaku Kuga, twice, Shingo Wake and Ryoichi Tamura.
-Interesting Kuga has beaten 2 of the 3 other champions that have held the title since Oguni, beating Ishimoto for his first reign and Tamura for his current reign, though was beaten himself by Wake.
-With 2 reigns to his name Kuga is one of just 4 fighters to reclaim the title.
-Amazingly the first “TKO1” in a bout for the title came in 2018, when Yusaku Kuga stopped Ryo Kosaka. Kuga is also the only man to have achieved that result twice, having also stopped Yosuke Fujihara inside a round in 2019.
-At the time of writing there has been 143 bouts for the title, and 1 interim title bout.
-There has been 42 reigns of the title, 1 reign of the interim title and 4 fighters have recaptured the belt.
-As previously mentioned there has only ever been 7 draws in bouts for the title. Amazingly 3 of those came in the first 7 bouts for the belt!
-Since 1998 all but 1 of the bouts for the title has been held in Tokyo, with the one exception coming in Saitama.
On August 21st we were expecting to see a new WBO Flyweight champion being crowned as Junto Nakatani and Giemel Magramo were supposed to face off for the vacant title in Tokyo. Sadly that bout is now off, but regardless we felt this was a great chance to cover that title in our "Did You Know" series.
-The first champion was called Elvis! That as Elvis Alvarez, a Colombian fighter who won the belt in March 1989 with a unanimous decision against Miguel Mercedes. Sadly Alvarez, when was murdered in 1995, vacated the belt before defending it doe to a lack of interest in the title, though would later go on to claim the WBA title.
-The bout between Alvarez and Mercedes is the only bout for the belt to be held in Colombia
-There was 17 months between the first and second bouts for the belt!
-The second champion was Isidro Perez, who won the belt in August 1990 with a TKO 12 victory over Angel Rosario. This was the first stoppage in a bout for the belt, and the only stoppage in a bout for the title in 1993.
-Perez was the first champion to defend the title, doing so twice, and his two wins against Alli Galvez were the first time two fighters have battled each other more than once for the title, something that has happened a fair few times since.
-Sadly Perez is also assumed to have died, having vanished in 2012.
-The first European champion was Scotland's often forgotten Pat Clinton, who had represented Great Britain at the 1984 Olympics before winning the WBO Flyweight title in 1992 with a win over Perez in Glasgow. This was actually the first time a champion had been dethroned.
-Following Clinton's title win the belt was then defended twice in Glasgow, making it the first city to host 3 WBO Flyweight title bouts.
-Pat Clinton's reign came to an end at the hands of South African Jacob Matlala, who was less than 4'11" tall!
-Matlala set a then record 3 defenses of the belt before losing it in 1995 to Alberto Jimenez, who set a then record 5 defenses of the belt
-Jimenez's 5 defenses included 2 in the US, which were the first two times the title was defending in the States.
-Jimenez's final successful defense came in 1996 when he fought to a draw with Carlos Salazar. Their draw was the first time a bout for the belt had ended in a draw.
-Although the first bout between Jimenez and Salazar ended in a draw Salazar would claim the title in a rematch.
-Salazar would tie the 5 defense record of Jimenez. He would also become the first man to be involved in two draws for the belt, fighting to a draw with Antonio Ruiz in their first bout before taking a win in a rematch just 2 months later.
-In 1999 Spanish fighter José Antonio López Bueno, the 8th man to hold the title, became the second European to hold the belt, winning it more than 6 years after Pat Clinton.
-José Antonio López Bueno wasn't just the second European to win the belt, but he was also the second fighter to vacate the belt, doing so 10 years after Elvis Alvarez had done it.
-Although he held the title for less than a year Fernando Montiel, the 10th champion, managed to defend the belt 3 times, with each defense taking place in a different country, Germany Mexico and the US. He was also the third fighter to vacate the title.
-Adonis Rivas was the 11th champion, winning the title that Montiel vacated. His reign is the shortest of any fighter to lose the belt, as opposed to vacating, and lasted from May 4th 2002 to July 13th 2002, just over 2 months.
-Rivas' incredibly short reign was followed by the longest reign in the title's history, with Omar Andres Narvaez holding the belt from for several years from his July 2002 win. His final defense came in June 2009, he vacated in May 2010 and the next champion wasn't crowned until June 2010. During his reign he ran up 16 successful defenses, that was the same as the top 4 champions before him, combined!
-Unsurprisingly Narvaez holds a lot of interesting records to go along with his lengthy reign. He defended the title in 4 countries in total, more than anyone else. He also made 5 defenses in Europe alone, a number that would have seen him tying the total defenses record, He defended the belt in Argentina, Italy, France and Spain.
-Narvaez was also the 4th man to vacate the title.
-The 12th champion was Julio Cesar Miranda who defended the belt 3 times. He lost to Brian Viloria who also defended the belt 3 times.
-Viloria's 2011 defense against Giovani Segura was the first time the title had been defended in Asia, and was followed up 5 months later by the second title defense in Asia, when Viloria beat Omar Nino Romero.
-Viloria is the only man to successfully unify the title, doing so when he stopped Hernan Marquez to unify the WBO and WBA titles.
-Juan Francisco Estrada became the first man to win the title in Asia, when he beat Brian Viloria in Macau.
-Since Zou Shiming won the title in 2016, beating Kwanpichit OnesongChaigym the title has only been fought for in Asia. It has twice been fought for in China and 5 times in Japan, with the first of those Japanese bouts coming in December 2017.
-When Sho Kimura stopped Zou Shiming to claim the belt he became the first Japanese fighter to win a world title on Chinese soil. He also became the first Japanese fighter to defend a world title in the Chinese mainland when he stopped Froilan Saludar in 2018.
-From December 2017 to March 2019 there was 4 bouts for the bout, 3 of which were all-Japanese bouts.
-Sho Kimura's title loss, to Kosei Tanaka, was the first bout that we streamed live to a global audience through a partnership with Japanese broadcaster CBC. It was also a bout that resulted in Tanaka tying the world record for fewest fights to become a 3-weight world champion, 12 bouts, tying with Vasyl Lomachenko.
Since Omar Narvaez vacated the title the 6 champions that followed have combined for 16 defenses, the same as Narvaez had by himself.
-There has never been an interim champion!
-From the 72 bouts for the title there have been 3 draws, to of which involed Carlos Salazar. The most recent was in 2003, when Omar Narvaez draw in Italy with Andrea Sarritzu
-Fernando Montiel's opening round blow out against Juan Domingo Cordoba is the only T/KO 1 in any bout for the title
-The title has only been fought for in 16 countries:
Argentina (17 times)
United Kingdom (5)
South Africa (3)
Puerto Rico (1)
In August we're going to see Ryota Yamauchi and Satoru Todaka battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. Whilst the belt doesn't have a long, established history, being less than 20 years old, it does still have some noteworthy champions over it's short, but notable history. With that in mind, and with the upcoming bout just a few weeks away, we though this week's "Did You Know" should be about the WBO Asia Pacific title!
-The first champion was Nonito Donaire, who won the belt in September 2002, with a KO win against Kaichon Sor Vorapin.
-Donaire's reign ended when he vacated and the second champion was in November 2002. Incidentally that second champion was Nonito's brother Glenn Donaire, making this a rather rare case of two brothers holding a regional title in the space of just a few months.
-The first champion to successfully defend the belt was Rexon Flores, who was the third man to hold the belt. Flores made 2 defenses of the belt, including one against Terdsak Kokietgym.
-Another champion who managed to make a successful defense was future fringe world title contender Drian Francisco. He only made a single defense of the belt.
-The first non-Filipino to win the title was Korean Jin Man Jeon, who beat future world champion Suriyan Sor Rungvisai for the title.
-The first Thai to hold the title was former WBC Minmumweight champion Wandee Singwancha.
-In 2010 Tepparith Kokietgym held the title, defending it once. He would go on to become the second holder of the belt to win a world title, following Nonito Donaire.
-The July 2014 bout between Jing Xiang and Ben Mananquil was the first, and so far only, draw in a bout for the belt.
-The rematch between Jing Xiang and Ben Mananquil, in December 2014, holds a distinction as the only time two men have fought each other twice for the title.
-Iwan Zoda became the first, and so far only, Indonesian to hold the belt when he stopped Petchchorhae Kokietgym in their sensational 2015 12 round war.
-The first Japanese fighter to win the belt was Sho Kimura, he did so in the first all-Japanese bout for the belt, which saw him defeat Masahiro Sakamoto.
-Despite losing to Kimura we did see Sakamoto bounce back to win the belt belt himself the following year, becoming the first man to win win the belt following a loss in a bout for the belt.
-With Masahiro Sakamoto losing in 2019 to Yusuke Sakashita he bacame the first fighter to losing in a bout for the belt after previously holding it, though he was fighring for the vacant title here.
-So far we've had 23 bouts for the title, with a single draw.
-From the 23 bouts 10 have gone the distance
-To date the title has never been lost by a fighter, with all reigns coming when a champion has vacated the title.
-So far the title has been fought for in Guam, where both Donaire's won the title, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, China and Japan.
On July 25th we're expecting to see a new OPBF Light Flyweight champion being crowned as veteran Kenichi Horikawa clashes with Daiki Tomita for the currently vacant title. With that bout coming up we thought it was a great time to look at the belt as part of our latest "Did You Know" series.
So with that said, here is did you know... the OPBF Light Flyweight title!
-The first champion was Thailand's Montsayarm Haw Mahachai. He defeated Filipino fighter Phil Tagupa to win the title in 1975.
-Sadly for Montsayarm Haw Mahachai his reign was a short one, consisting of just a single successful defense before losing the belt to Sang Il Jung in Korea in 1976.
-Sang Il Jung's first defense saw him fighting to a draw with future world champion Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh.
-Interestingly the first two champions, Montsayarm Haw Mahachai and Sung Il Jung, both lost in world title challenges against Yoko Gushiken.
-In 1977 Sang Il Jung's reign came to an end when he lost to future world champion Sung Jung Kim. Kim was the first man to win the OPBF Light Flyweight title and go on to win a world title.
-Like many early reigns of the title Sung Jung Kim's reign was a short one, losing the title in a rematch to Sang Il Jung, who became the first man to reclaim the title.
-Incidentally Sung Jun Kim's world title win came less than 3 months after he lost the OPBF title and saw him defeating the aforementioned Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh.
-Sang Il Jung's second reign came to an end at the hands of fellow Korean Yong Hyun Kim, who who managed a then record 3 defenses of the title, though lost the belt less than 2 years after winning it.
-The first Filipino to hold the title was Siony Carupo, who won the title from Yong Hyun Kim in 1981. Sadly for Carupo his reign is among the shortest, lasting less than 3 months.
-The man who beat Siony Carupo for the title was Sung Nam Kim, who held the belt from December 13th 1981 to March 18th 1983, though didn't make a successful defense of the title. Instead Kim lost the belt in his first defense, to Dodie Penalosa.
-The bout between Sun Nam Kim and Dodie Boy Penalosa was the first bout for the belt outside of South Korea and Thailand, which had staged the first 15 title bouts between them.
-Interestingly Dodie Boy Penalosa was the first man to vacate the title, after having recorded a single defense. That vacancy was filled by future divisional legend Myung Woo Yuh, who also vacated the title.
-After Myung Woo Yuh vacated we saw Cho Woon Park and Little Baguio fight to crown a new champion in 1986. Their first bout ended in a draw leaving the title vacant, with Park winning the rematch. Strangely a similar situation happened in 2017 when Edward Heno and Seita Ogido fought to a draw for the vacant title, with Heno winning the rematch to claim the previously vacant title.
-In 1989, more than 13 years after Montsayarm Haw Mahachai lost the title, Den Chuwatana won the belt, becoming only the second Thai to win it. Sadly his reign was a short one and he lost the title in his first defense
-The belt wasn't fought for in 1999, the only other year that happened was 1982
-Between December 1984 and October 1995 every bout for the belt was held in South Korea
-The most defenses of the title has been Nam-Hoon Cha, who made 6 defenses of the belt, between 1990 and 1993. Cha is also the only man to have held the title for more than 3 years.
-Katsuhiko Iezumi is the only man to have ever been crowned the interim champion, though he would go on to unify the interim and regular titles just 5 months later.
-The fighters who have won the title and gone on to win a world title are Sung Jung Kim, Dodie Boy Penalosa, Myung Woo Yuh, Yong Kang Kim, Yo Sam Choi, Sonny Boy Jaro, Ryo Miyazaki, Naoya Inoue and Kenshiro Teraji.
-There have been 5 draws for the title from a combined 92 bouts, with 91 of them being regular bouts and 1 being an interim title bout.
-The title has twice had bouts finish in the opening round. One of those saw Sung Yong Chung defend the belt against Azadin Anhar, in 1988, and the other saw Yong Soon Jang defend the belt against Roger Gamayot in 1994.
-There has only ever been 1 bout for the belt that has ended in the 9th round. That was Sung Yong Chung's title win against Sonny Vidal
-On a similar note there has never been a 12th round TKO/KO win for the belt. Every bout that has got into the final round has gone the distance
-To date 14 champions have come from South Korea, combining for 15 of the 36 reigns. The next highest is Japan, with 13, whilst 6 of the champions are from the Philippines and the remaining 2 are from Thailand
Tomorrow we'll see an OPBF Featherweight title fight, as Satoshi Shimizu defends the title against Kyohei Tonomoto. With that in mind we felt this was the perfect time to feature the title in our latest "Did you know..." article.
-The first champion was Filipino fighter Larry Bataan, who beat Akiyoshi Akanuma to claim the title in 1952. He defended the belt twice, beating Akanuma in a rematch to retain the title and then beating the legendary Flash Elorde in his second defense.
-Larry Bataan's reign was ended by Shigeji Kaneko, who stopped Bataan in 4 rounds. Interestingly Kaneko's reign, like that of Bataan, saw the new champion make his first defense against the man he beat for the belt, stopping Bataan in 5 rounds in their rematch.
-Shigeji Kaneko's reign saw him make 6 defenses of the belt. These included one against Flash Elorde in 1954, who he also beat in a none title fight in 1955. Kaneko was also the first champion to vacate the belt and the first to defend the belt on foreign soil, something he did against Emil Bill Tinde.
-The fourth champion was the wonderfully named Army Wonder Boy. Sadly his reign was a short one and saw him lose the belt in his first defense.
-Thailand's Veeranid Charoenmuang was the fifth champion. He was the first Thai to hold the belt, and the only Thai to hold the title.
-The record for most successful defenses in a single reign is 12, a record set by Mitsunori Seku between 1962 and 1969. His reign was the 6th
-The first reign by a Korean fight was the 8th reign, which was by Hubert Kang. Kang held the title from September 1968 to March 1970. Kang was also the first man to defend the belt in Korea, doing so against Rey Miller in 1969.
-In 1972 Hyun Kim, the 10th man to hold the title, featured in the first draw, defending the belt with a draw against Ernie Cruz. This was also the first, and so far only, bout for the belt to be held in Guam.
-Just 2 months before Kim's draw with Cruz he became the first fighter to defend the belt with a KO1, stopping Tad Okamoto in their second bout. Strangely their first bout had gone the 12 round distance.
-Royal Kobayashi was the first former world champion to win the title, doing so 17 months after losing the WBC Super Bantamweight title to Dong Kyun Yum.
-Royal Kobayashi also hold the distinction as being the first man to lost the belt in the first round, losing the title in 1981 to Jung Han Hwang whilst looking to record his 8th defense.
-After Hwang's win over Kobayashi the following 20 bouts for the title all took place in South Korea! Those 20 bouts, or 21 if we include Hwang's win, covered the entire of 1982-1988
-According to boxrec Filipino Davino Inocian had a record of 9-10 before winning the title in 1983, to move to 10-10. His career tally was 13-13 after his final recorded bout.
-The first time the bout was fought for in Indonesia came in 1991, when Cris Saguid beat Robby Rahangmetang for the belt.
-Chris Saguid was also the first man to reclaim the title, and is the only man to be a 3-time champion
-The only other man to reclaim the title has been Samuel Duran.
-The first Australian to win the belt was Tony Wehbee
-Fighters who have won the title and then gone on to win world titles are Min Keun Oh, Hwan Kil Yuh, Ki Young Chung, Young Kyun Park, Takashi Koshimoto and Ryol Li Lee
-The title has never had an interim champion
-We have had 156 bouts for the belt so far, with Shimizu Vs Tonomoto set to be the 157th. These have include 6 draws.
-There have so far been 48 reigns shared by 45 champions
-Coming into Shimizu Vs Tonomoto only 1 of the last 14 bouts has gone the distance!
-Since 1952 the bout has been fougth for every year, except for 2019!
We've recently looked at some gyms and some titles in this series so now for something a little bit different a venue. And a rather obscure one at that. For this weeks Did you know we've going to take a little bit of a look at the Portopia Hotel in Kobe, and feature some of the most notable fights to ever take place in the venue.
For those worried about us writing an advert for the hotel, we're sticking to just the fights and details regarding them, not the size or location of the venue.
-The venue was first for used for boxing in 2014
-To date there have only been 3 cards held at the hotel, however all 3 have featured world title bouts. In fact there have been a combined 4 world title bouts over those 3 cards.
-The only Japanese fighter to ever win a world title fight at the venue is the now retired Ryuya Yamanaka, who retained the WBO Minimumweight title at the venue in March 2018 when he stopped Moises Calleros.
-The worse record of any fighter at the venue is 0-2, a record held by Reiya Konishi, who twice lost in world title bouts at the venue. He has lost to both Carlos Canizales and Felix Alvarado in the hotel.
-The first world title bout at the hotel saw Teiru Kinoshita lose to Zolani Tete in a bout for the IBF Super Flyweight title.
-If you put those previous facts together you'll know that Japanese fighters are 1-3 in world title fights in the venue.
-At the time of the Kinoshita Vs Tete bout the Japanese local was actually employed by the hotel as his day job! We think that's about the best example of a fighter ever having "home" advantage as we can get!
--To date Hibiki Takano is the only man to have ever won his debut at the venue
-The venue has only hosted a single Japanese title bout, which saw Kenichi Horikawa retain the Japanese Light Flyweight title in 2019 with a win over Masashi Tada. That was Horikawa's 40th professional win.
-At the time of writing Kenichi Horikawa is the only man to have twice won at the venue! He beat Tada, as mentioned, but also beat Natchaphon Wichaita in 2018.
-The Konishi Vs Alvarado bout has seemingly never been televised. It was streamed, by Alvarado's team, and held in association with a TV company, but as far a we can tell no TV video of the bout has yet to suface online.
We have included Kinoshita's bout with Tete, the first world title fight there, and Konishi's bout with Canizales, which for our money was the best of the world title bouts there.
Today we return to looking at a title in our Did You Know Series, as we look at the Japanese Welterweight title. The belt doesn't have the strongest lineage but does have an interesting one dating back over 70 years with some explosive title fights and several notable champions.
Just for general guidance we are only considering reigns and fighters recognised by the JBC, so the early earliest title bouts, including those from the 1920's and 1930's, aren't considered here.
So here is "Did You know...The Japanese Welterweight title".
-The first Japanese Welterweight champion, as recognised by the JBC, was Ichiro Kawada who held the title from September 1947 to April 1949. Whilst his reign does pre-date the JBC being formed, the linage of the title does start with him and can be tracked directly from him to the foundation of the JBC in the early 1950's.
-Despite being a champion from more than a year Kawada was dethroned without making a single defense. His reign was ended by Tatsumi Hachiro. Hachiro's reign saw him make 4 defenses before losing the belt in May 1951, a little over 2 years after winning it.
-Hachiro's 4 defenses of the title stood as an unmatched record from 1951 to 1970, when Ryu Sorimachi managed to notch his 4th defense.
-Hachiro wasn't just the second champion but was also the first to reclaim the title, defeating Takeo Ugo in 1952 to have his second reign. Incidentally Ugo would himself become a 2-time champion in 1954.
-On the subject of 2-time champions 5 of the first 7 champions had 2 reigns. They were Hachiro, Ugo, Teruo Onuki, Teruo Matusyama and Kenji Fukuchi.
-In regards to multiple reigns the only 3-time champion is Makoto Watanabe, who had all 3 of his reigns in the 1960's.
-Shoji Tsujimoto, who held the belt from October 30th 1972 to April 28th 1978. This reign was over 2000 days! During his lengthy reign Tsujimoto set a then record number of defenses, defending the belt 12 times.
-Tsujimoto's record for most defenses was broken less than a decade later when Junya Kushikino recorded 13 defense in 1984, a record that has now been broken it's self. What's notable about Kushinko's reign is that he made his first 10 defenses all by T/KO, a record that still stands for any Japanese title more than 20 years later.
-Sadly for Kushinko his own total defenses record of the belt was beaten in 1992 by Hiroyuki Yoshino, who made 14 defenses of the belt, a record that still stands today.
-Despite the belt having had 4 double digit reigns no champion has managed more than 6 defenses since Jintoku Sato vacated the belt in 1996.
-The belt has had 2 provisional champions, both since the year 2000. One of these was Hiroyuki Maeda and the other was Daisuke Sakamoto.
-The first "KO1" in a bout for the belt occurred in Junya Kushinko's first defense, back in 1982, when he stopped Koji Sasagawa.
-Hiroyuki Yoshino managed 3 "KO1" defenses during his long reign
-Tadashi Yuba is the only man to defend the belt with a "T/KO 1", lose the belt with a "T/KO 1" and to win the belt with a "T/KO 1". In fact he was involved in 4 title bouts that didn't last a round, including a 40 second loss to Teruyoshi Omagari, which saw Yuba being dropped 3 times.
-In December 2010 the Japanese and OPBF titles were unified by Yo Inoue. The remained unified until the second half of 2012 with Akinori Watanabe holding the unified belts after beating Inoue.
-At the time of writing there have been 182 bouts for the belt. These have included 180 bouts for the regular title and 2 for the interim title. There has also been 2 bouts to unify interim and regular titles.
-From the 184 title bouts we have had 5 draws. The first of those was in 1950 and the most recent in 2010.
-The most recent "TKO 3" in a bout for the title was in January 1997
-Sadly no one who has ever won the title has gone on to win a world title. Saying that however several have fought for world titles, including Akio Kameda who had two world title bouts and Hisao Minami.
For the second week in a row we're going to look at a Gym as part of our Did you know series, this time a much newer gym and one which has only really been making it's mark on the sport over the last decade or so. Despite being newer it has quickly built a reputation for its self as a very good gym which can attract top amateurs and looks like it will go one to develop a number of future world champions in the coming years.
This week we look at the World Sport Boxing Gym in this week's Did you Know...
-The gym was set up by former Japanese amateur standout Tatsuya Saida. Although not a big name outside of Japan Saida racked up an excellent record of 108-19 (40) before becoming a trainer at the International Boxing Sports Gym.
-The gym was founded in 2005 when Saida left the International Boxing Sports Gym to go independent, and was joined by Kinji Amano and Prosper Matsuura, who both became trainers at the gym.
-Interestingly Tatsuya Saida wasn't the only member of the family involved in business. Saida's parents own Sanyo Paper Industry Co., Ltd. With Saida's father being the president of the company. They produce things like boxes and packaging.
-The gym's first champion was Takuya Mitamura, who won the Japanese Minimumweight title in 2011
-The gym managed to sign trainer Toshiyuki Fujiwara in 2012, securing the services of the 2006 Eddie Townsend Award Winner.
-The gym has had a single world champion so far, with that being Naoko Shibata, a former IBF female Light Flyweight champion
-Whilst the gym is a boxing gym is also serves as a fitness gym and has several other interesting things happening there. This includes a yoga class, a public bath and a sauna. They also work with a Osteopathic therapist, which is on the first floor of the gym.
-In 2007, 2009 and 2012 the Gym had the highest winning rate of any gym in Japan, something very impressive given the gym was only founded less than a decade earlier!
-In the last few years the Gym has quickly become a major player on the Japanese domestic scene, thanks to the development of Takeshi Inoue and Kazuto Takesako, who have both unified domestic and regional titles.
After a monster "Did You Know" last week, we have a shorter one this week looking at the long established Misako Gym. The gym is located in Tokyo and whilst it's not one that fans in the Western world will be too familiar with, especially not when compared to Teiken, Watanabe and Ohashi, it is a really important one in Japan. It's old, it's well established, secure, very successful, and one with a huge roster of notable fighters.
With that said, let us bring you this week's, did you now. Did you know... The Misako Gym
-The gym was set up by former Japanese and OPBF Flyweight champion Hitoshi Misako, who fought as a professional from 1950 to 1958, and compiled a 31-14-5 (6) record.
-As a fighter Misako himself fought out of the the Noguchi Gym, doing so at the same time as Masaki Kanehira, who later set up the Kyoei Gym.
-The gym was established in 1960, making it one of the older active gyms in Japan.
-Despite being established in 1960 the gym actually relocated in 1990
-The Gym has developed 3 world champions so far, the first of which was Koichi Wajima, followed by Tadashi Mihashi and then Tadashi Tomori.
-At the time of writing the gym has had 10 OBF/OPBF champions, some of whom have held titles more than once, and 15 Japanese Japanese.
-Over the years a number of gyms have been set up by fighters who have fought out of the Misako Gym and the gym has close relationships with a lot of other gyms. Quite often the gyms work together and the group is dubbed the Sansako Ichimonkai, or the Sasako Clan, putting on quite a few shows together.
-When Ryota Murata turned professional he actually did so as a Misako Gym fighter, due to his links as an amateur to the gym, and not a Teiken fighter, who listed him as an "affiliated" fighter. Essentially he was licensed by Misako and promoted by Teiken and Top Rank. This deal opened up the opportunity for for him to work with Fuji TV.
-Murata is actually the second Japanese Olympic gold medal winner to fight out of the gym, following Takao Sakurai, who won gold way back in the 1964 Olympics.
-The Gym won a "Good Design Award", due to the stylish design of the gym's building
-Current trainers at the gym include former OPBF Bantamweight champion Hiroki Shiino and Kenta Kato, who won an award as the best trainer in 2019
-Having mentioned Kenta Kato's personal success at the end of 2019 it's worth noting that the year ended with 5 Japanese national champions.
-Hitoshi Misako stepped down as the chairman in 2014, and his son, Takashi Misako, took over the day to day running of the gym.
-Sadly Hitoshi Misako passed away in 2019, at the age of 85. He was posthumously awarded the 2019 Professional Boxing Special Award just months later.
-The gym has been a major provider of boxing content for Fuji TV's "Diamond Glove" series. At one point they were providing bi-monthly shows for the series.
-The gym is often used by other non-affiliated fighters, with a major example of that being Kenshiro Teraji.
We're back again with another did you know it's a bit of a bumper one focused on the Japanese Flyweight title. We're only looking at bouts for the title since the JBC began their recognised line, which does predate the JBC being founded, but we think we've come up with a solid number of facts here!
-The first reign of the Japanese Flyweight title, as recognised by the Japanese boxing commission, predates the JBC. It's the reign of Yoichiro Hanada, who was recognised as the champion from 1947 to 1949. In reality Hanada was regarded as the best Flyweight in the country under the previous system, and his reign is sometimes listed as being from 1934 to 1949, or with Hanada having 2 reigns, despite never losing his claim, during that period.
-The second champion, again as recognised by the JBC was actually the fighter who essentially caused the JBC to be founded. That was Yoshio Shirai, the man who was also the first Japanese world champion. Shirai is one of a number of world champions to have been recognised by the JBC as the best Flyweight in Japan.
-The third man to hold the title was Akira Hayashi, also known as Speedy Akira, who was also the first southpaw to hold the title. His reign saw him make 6 defenses in a single reign, a record that has never been beaten, but has been matched several times. He also held the title a record 3 times, being the first man to recapture the title and the only man to hold it 3 times.
-Another early champion was Hitoshi Misako, the man who went on to open the legendary Misako Gym in Tokyo, which still exists to this day.
-Another legendary gym set up by an early Japanese Flyweight champion was the Yonekura Gym, set up by Kenji Yonekura.
-The title's 13th recognised reign was had by Seisaku Saito who would later become a well known comedian and actor in Japan before passing away in 1985.
-The belt was held by Kiyoshi Tanabe, who was the first ever Japanese boxer to win an Olympic medal. It was actually the only belt Tanabe held before his career was ended due to an eye issue that forced him to retire with an excellent 21-0-1 (5) record.
-Speedy Akira wasn't the only "Speedy" to win the title. Tetsuro Kano, also known as Hiroshi Hayase, was also a "Speedy" and was best known as Speedy Hayase, who held the belt twice in the late 1960's.
-The second fighter to be recognised as the Japanese champion before winning a world title was Susumu Hanagata. Hanagata fought in 8 bouts for the title, and would be a 2-time champion before winning a world title in what was his 62nd professional bout
-As well as Yoshio Shirai and Susumu Hanagata, others who have held the title and won world titles include Leopard Tamakuma, Yuri Arbachakov, Celes Kobayashi, Takefumi Sakata, Daisuke Naito, Tomobu Shimizu and Toshiyuki Igarashi
-We mentioned Speedy Akira set the record of 6 defenses in a reign, this record has been matched a number of times. Others to have managed 6 defenses in a reign include Kazumasa Tamaki, Shuichi Hozumi and Nolito Cabato.
-The most defenses by a fighter is 7 defenses, with that number being set by Takuya Kogawa over his two reigns. His first reign saw him make 3 defenses and his secnd reign saw him make an extra 4.
-From all the men who held the title from 2000 to 2019 only two didn't fight for a world title, these were Hiroshi Nakano and Kenji Yoshida, showing just how significant the title is for those looking to fight at the elite level.
-At the time of writing there have been 177 bouts for the title, including 4 for the "interim" title.
-The first time a "KO1" was recorded in a bout for the title was 1990, when Puma Toguchi defended the belt against Jun Takada. Incidentally the next was when Yuri Arbachakov won the title, just 11 months later, stopping Takahiro Mizuno who was a late fill if for Toguchi. The belt was also win inside a round by Tomonari Tamura, who stopped Tatsuya Sugi when Yuri Arbachakov vacated the belt.
-The shortest ever bout for the title was Daisuke Naito's 24 second win over Takeyuki Kojima in 2004.
-Also in 2004 the title was twice won by fighters winning 6 round technical decisions, with Hiroshi Nakano winning the title with that result in February and then losing it to Naito 4 months later.
-Daisuke Naito's defend against Noriyuki Komatsu was the first time a JBC recognised defenses, so excluding those before Hanada's reign in the late 1940's, the belt was defended over 12 rounds. That was due to the bout being a unification with the OPBF title.
-At the time of writing, the last "TKO4" result for the belt was way back in 1992
-There have been 11 draws in bouts for the title. Amazingly 4 of those took place in 5 bouts from August 1976 to December 1977, with Chikara Igarashi involved in 3 of them.
-Talking about Chikara Igarashi he and Kenji Kato split a 3 fight series for the title, going 1-1-1
-Suguru Muranaka is the only man stripped of the belt for failing to make weight, something that happened in 2015 ahead of his mandatory title defense against Tetsuma Hayashi.
-Kenji Yonekura and Hideyasu Ishihara both attempted to win the belt in their 3rd professional bouts
-Despite coming up short in his first Japanese title fight Kenji Yonekura did win the belt in his 5th fight, a record for the Japanese Flyweight title, and only one bout more than the Japanese record at any weight, with a number of fighters winning national titles in their 4th professional bouts.
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).