The sport of boxing is full of great stories, many of which are unknown outside of the local fanbase. Despite that the sport has long been linked to redemption and turning lives around. One great example of that was the hugely popular Hironari Oshima (21-5-1, 13), who fought between 1997 and 2005. Outside of Japan his name won't mean much at all, but in Japan he was incredibly popular and a story of a fighter who turned his life around, going from criminal activity to being someone keeping youngsters on the right track.
In the ring Oshima was a tall, range fighter who really connected with fans and made for fun, entertaining fights. He began his career at the Wajima Sports Gym, who managed him to Rookie of the Year success and his first title fight, before later becoming a staple at the Cheyenne Yamamoto gym, where he later worked as a trainer.
He's now retired as a boxer, but Oshima is still popular with fans and has remained connected to the sport in various ways, and is very open about what the sport means to him, essentially admitting it really saved him from a torrid life.
With that small introduction out of the way let us bring you 5 Midweek Facts about Hironari Oshima!
1-Prior to becoming a boxer Oshima fell in with the wrong crowd and was a member of the Yakuza, joining the criminal organisation after graduating Junior High School. He would end up spending time imprisoned at the Odawara Boys' Institute during his days as a Yakuza member and was injured multiple times.
2-It was whilst imprisoned that Oshima was inspired to become a professional boxer, with his father, himself a former boxer, visiting him regularly.
3-Back in January there was a lot of discussion about Kazuto Ioka and the tattoo he sported on his left arm, and how it wasn't covered properly for his bout with Kosei Tanaka. Japanese boxing's issue with tattoo's isn't a new issue however and it was one that Hironari Oshima had to deal with as well, with Oshima having to remove his tattoos. To have his tattoos removed he needed to have skin grafts, to cover up tattoos on his chest and shoulders. In 2017 he explained it took 6 or 7 hours, and for 4 months afterwards he was unable to do much at all and couldn't train for 6 months following the operation.
4-In February 2000 a then 11-0 (7) Oshima challenged Japanese Lightweight champion Rick Yoshimura. The bout reportedly set the record for the most visitors to the Korakuen Hall and was such a highly anticipated bout that it was aired live on TV Tokyo during prime time. Sadly for Oshima this was one of three title bouts he had, and he came up short in all 3 of those bouts, including a 2005 loss to Norio Kimura in what was Oshima's final professional bout.
For fans who haven't seen Oshima's bout with Yoshimura we've included it below. Those who believe Japanese fans are "quiet" might be surprised by the noise here!
5-Following his retirement from the ring Oshima has been a busy boy! He has worked at the Cheyenne Yamamoto gym, which was run by his former trainer Cheyenne Yamamoto, he has opened his own fitness gym, opened a store and has even been in some acting roles and released an auto-biographical book in 2016.
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).