When we talk about Japanese boxing legends few compare to Fighting Harada, a man who is still regarded as the greatest Japanese boxer of all time and one of the true legends, not just of Asian boxing but of boxing in general. The former Flyweight and Bantamweight champion fought from 1960 to 1970 and racked up a 55-7 (22) record and etched himself a career that later earned him a place in the hall of fame.
Although Harada is a true legend there's a lot that we suspect fan's don't know about one of the all time greats. With that in mind, let us bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Fighting Harada
1-Katsuhiro Harada, who also fought as Ushiwakamaru Harada and Fighting Ushiwaka, was Fighting Harada's real life brother. As professional Katsuhiro ran up a 36-20-14 (14) record and won the Japanese Bantamweight and Featherweight titles. Although not as well known as his brother he did face a number of notable fighters including a then unbeaten Danny "Little Red" Lopez, future 2-weight world champion Soo-Hwan Hong, who he actually beat, and Chucho Castillo, who he held to a draw!
2-Harada was the first multi-weight world champion from Japan, and only the second ever world champion from Japan.
3-He would beat fellow Japanese legend Hiroyuki Ebihara in the 1960 Rookie of the Year. During that bout Ebihara was down twice and Harada was cut. This was the only fight between Harada and Ebihara, but their careers would regularly intertwine and the two would be very, very close friends. So close in fact that Harada would admit crying at Ebihara's funeral but not at that of his parent's.
4-During his 62 fight career Harada was only ever beaten by 1 Asian fighter, Pone Kingpetch. His other losses came to Edmundo Esparza and Jose Medel, from Mexico, Lionel Rose and Johnny Famechon, both from Australia, and American Alton Colter. On a similar note 4 of those losses came in his final 9 bouts, dropping his record from 50-3 to 55-7
5-In 1966 Fighting Harada recorded a single, "Boxing Kouta", this can be head at the end of this article.
6-In 1989 he became the president of the Japan Professional Boxing Association, then known as the All Japan Boxing Association. It was the first time any former world champion had taken the role.
7-Harada's fights would twice break a 60% market share in the Kanto region. The first of those was his bout The first of those came in November 11 1965, when he beat Alan Rudkin in his first defense of the Bantamweight throne, which was viewed by 60.4% of the market. The other came just a few months later, in his rematch with Eder Jofre in May 1966, which drew a 63.7% of the region's audience.
8-After retiring Harada would become the chairman of the Fighting Harada Boxing Gym in Yokohama and do a significant amount of commentary, often alongside Tsuyoshi Hamada.
9-Harada has been played on screen several times. In 1990 he was played by Katsuo Tokashika, in TBS drama special "Showa's Champ Tako Hachiro Story", whilst in 2014 he was played by Hayato Ichihara in "Ohgon No Bantam: Fighting Harada Story"
10-Legendary Australian race horse Haradasun was named after Fighting Harada
Extra Fact 1 - In 1988 Mike Tyson, who had admired Harada as a fighter, didn't recognise the Japanese legend. That was due to Harada having increased significantly in size from his fighter.
Extra Fact 2 - In January 2005 Harada collapsed after suffering a hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhage, he had surgery afterwards and thankfully he recovered and was back doing commentary the following year.
We've all heard of Fighting Harada, arguably the greatest fighter out of Japan and one of boxing's all time greats. What you may not be aware of is that he wasn't the only boxer in the family and his brother was also a professional!
With that in mind, and with coronavirus still affecting the boxing schedule, we've decided to bring you 5 fights you probably didn't know about the Harada fighting family, in a bit of a spin off of our "10 facts you probably didn't know..." series.
For those curios there is a "10 facts you probably didn't know about...Fighting Harada" article coming in June.
For those who are unaware Fighting Harada's brother was Katsuhiro Harada, better known as Ushiwakamaru Harada. Ushiwakamaru was Fighting Harada's younger sibling, who was a solid fringe contender in the 1960's and 1970's. He was regarded as a genuine talent, but unfortunately cuts limited his success, and he's now pretty much a footnote to hardcore fans outside of Japan. Hopefully with that in mind you can enjoy this little bonus piece!
1-Whilst Fighting Harada is certainly the much more successful of the two brothers it's interesting to note that his brother was the only one of the two men to have won a Japanese title. Fighting Harada went on to win multiple world titles, making his mark at the top of the Flyweight and Bantamweight divisions, but he failed to pick up any lesser titles during his career. Ushiwakamaru Harada on the other hand was a 2-time Japanese Bantamweight and 1-time Japanese Featherweight champion.
2-Despite the Harada brothers both fighting over 60 times, and having careers that over-lapped for around 5 years, they only fought on the same card ONCE. That was was a show in August 1966 in Sapporo that saw Fighting Harada beat Dio Espinosa and Ushiwakamaru Harada defeat Yoshihiro Kawakami. Both Harada's scored their wins by decision.
3-On a similar theme the two brothers have only a couple of shared opponents.
One of those was Tsuyoshi Nakamura. Nakamura was beaten in 1961 by Fighting Harada but held Ushiwakamaru Harada to a draw in 1968. The other was Katsuo Saito, who Fighting Harada bet in a 12 round bout in 1965 whilst Ushiwakamaru Harada knocked him out in 2 rounds in 1967 to become the Japanese Bantamweight champion.
4-Rather surprisingly Ushiwakamaru Harada had a longer career. The younger of the two brothers had 70 fights over 11 years and 2 months accounting for 555 rounds. On the other hand Fighting Harada had 62 bouts over his 9 year and 11 month career, accounting for 501 rounds.
5-Both men were managed by the now often forgotten Takeshi Sasazaki, who was a former fighter himself. Sasazki went 73-27-11-3 (27) in his lengthy career that spanned from 1934 to to 1950. He managed both of the brothers out of the still functioning Sasazaki Gym in Tokyo.
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).