One former fighter we expect fans to know a little bit about, even if it's not really a lot, is Hideyuki Ohashi. The former 2-time world champion is currently making a name for himself as one of Japan's top promoters, and most well respected people involved in boxing. Although not a huge outside of Japan he can often be seen with his fighters, including the likes of Naoya Inoue and Andy Hiraoka, who have both fought in the US, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential people in Japanese boxing right now.
Although we think everyone who follows Asian boxing has likely seen Ohashi's face in recent years we don't imagine many know too many things about him. With that in mind, here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Hideyuki Ohashi!
1-As an amateur Ohashi ran up an excellent 42-3 (27) record before making his professional debut in 1985
2-Ohashi was dubbed the "Phoenix", a name he continues to use in his promotional events which was dubbed Phoenix Battle, and was also described as being the "150-Nen ni 1-ri no tensai,", essentially the genius that comes around once 150 years.
3-Hideyuki's older brother Katsuyuki Ohashi also had a professional career. His career ran from 1978 to 1983 and saw him run up a 12-11 (1) record. On paper's that's bad, though it is worth noting that 3 of his losses came to men who, at some point, held world titles. They were Khaosai Galaxy, Chan Hee Park and Bobby Berna.
4-In recent years Mr Ohashi revealed that he had originally planned to turned professional with the Hanagata gym, but was advised by Mr Hanagata to instead sign professional papers with the Yonekura Gym. The decision turned out to be a wise one, and he would become the gym's 5th world champion in 1990, when he won the WBC Minimumweight title.
5-As a professional Ohashi's record of 19-5 (12) doesn't look spectacular but there are a bunch of things to note about his record. All 5 losses came to fighters who were either reigning world champions, or future world champions. They included 3 losses to hall of fame fighters, Jung Koo Chang, twice, and Ricardo Lopez. When he suffered his losses his opponents were a combined 126-5-2!
6-Ohashi announced his retirement on February 7th 1994, exactly 4 years after winning his first world title. He had been out of the ring for almost a year by that point. His announcement of retirement also came with the announcement that he would be opening a gym, what is now the very successful Ohashi gym.
7-Ohashi is one of a very small number of former Japanese world champions to have gone on to promoter world champions himself, becoming part of a list that also includes Susumu Hanagata and Yoko Gushiken. Like Hanagata and Gushiken he has actually created male and female world champions. Notably he has had more champions than either Hanagata and Gushiken.
8-Not only has Ohashi lead his fighters to world titles but in fact both he has lead fighters to winning some of the same titles he himself held! Both Ohashi and Akira Yaegashi won the WBA Minimumweight title, with Yaegashi winning it 19 years and 10 days after Ohashi won it, but Ohashi also lead Naoya Inoue to winning the Japanese Light Flyweight title. Ohashi held that belt twice in the 1980's and Inoue won it in 2013.
9-Talking about Ohashi leading things, he lead Team Japan against Mexico in Boxing Grand Prix 2007, which was an event held in January 2007 pitting Japanese and Mexican fighters at the Ariake Colosseum. Despite a loss in the main event, for the Ohashi managed Katsushige Kawashima, Team Japan would win by a score of 4.5 Vs 2.5.
10-Ohashi is a licensed real estate agent, and his Phoenix Promotion is involved in real estate.
Extra Fact 1 - Ohashi dropped out of Senshu University, the same University that Shinsuke Yamanaka would later graduate from. Interestingly Yamanaka was the first graduate from the university to win a world title.
Extra Fact 2 - Ohashi went to the same High School as a number of people involved in boxing. These include Koji Matsumoto, who is now a trainer at the Ohashi Gym, Yuichi Kasai, who went on to become a trainer at the Teiken Gym, former world title challenger Naotaka Hozumi. They also include Ohashi Gym fighters Seiichi Okada, Ryo Matsumoto and Andy Hiraoka. For our wrestling fan readers the school also had eternal bad ass Minoru Suzuki attend, who was several years younger than Ohashi.
Extra Fact 3 - As an amateur Ohashi trained at the same gym that had lead Susumu Hanagata to become a world champion, hence why Ohashi had originally intended to turn professional with the Hanagata gym.
Extra Fact 4 - This article went live on the 30th anniversary of Ohashi's loss to the legendary Ricardo Lopez!
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect Hideyuki Ohashi to Shinji Takehara!
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-Japanese Hideyuki Ohashi has become well known as one of the most well respected promoters in Asian boxing, prior to becoming a promoter however he was a very successful professional fighter. Interestingly he went to the same University as Shinsuke Yamanaka, who was actually the first graduate from the University to win a world title as Ohashi actually dropped out.
2-During his lengthy reign as the WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka scored a stoppage win over former WBC Flyweight champion Malcolm Tunacao.
3-Malcolm Tunacao was only stopped twice during his long career. One of those was the aforementioned loss to Shinsuke Yamanaka and the other was an opening round loss to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, who stopped Tunacao to claim the WBC Flyweight.
4-Talented Thai Pongsaklek Wonjongkam didn't just stop Tunacao inside a round but also his biggest rival, Daisuke Naito. Wonjongkam famously fought Naito 4 times during one of the more notable Flyweight rivalries of recent years.
5-Although Daisuke Naito lost twice to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam he would go on to defeat the Thai in their third bout and fight to a draw with the Thai in their final bout. Another man Naito fought to a draw with was Takefumi Sakata.
6-Whilst Takefumi Sakata isn't a hugely well known name in the West he was a pretty notable fighter in Japan and was one of the stars of the Kyoei. Notably however before he signed for the Kyoei gym he had actually been training at the gym run by former WBA Shinji Takehara!
(Images - JPBA)
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).