Although not well known in the west Japanese fighter Hiroshi Kawashima is regarded by many in Japan as one of the countries most skilled fighters, ever. The former WBC Super Flyweight champion ran up 6 defenses of the world title, that he took from Jose Luis Bueno in 1994, and held it for close to 3 years, losing it in February 1997. He rebuilt from a faltering start, that saw him suffer 2 stoppage losses in his first 6 bouts and begin 4-2-1 (4) and become one of the faces of Japanese boxing in the 1990's.
Whether you're a fan of the Super Flyweight division, and know something about Kawashima, or not, we are going to try and bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Hiroshi Kawashima
1-Kawashima's father ran a barber shop.
2-As a boxer Kawashima was a converted southpaw, meaning he was a right handed southpaw.
3-As an amateur Kawashima went 27-3 (15), he also beat both Puma Toguchi and Katsuya Onizuka in the amateurs.
4-In 1985 Kawashima's brother, Shinobu Kawashima, challenged for the IBF Flyweight title, losing to Soon Chun Kwon. Interestingly Shinobu also lost in a bout for an IBF Japan title in October 1985, losing to Satoshi Shingaki.
5-Kawashima was the fifth, and final, fighter to win a world title out of the Yonekura Gym, run by Kenji Yonekura. He followed Kuniaki Shibata, Guts Ishimatsu, Shigeo Nakajima and Hideyuki Ohashi. Interestingly he originally had a style similar to that of Hideyuki Ohashi, before developing to be more of a pure outside fighter due to his poor punch resistence.
6-Kawashima was a multi-time Japanese boxing award winner. He was the KO Award winner in 1993, a 2-time skill award winner, in 1994 and 1995, and the Best Fighter award winner in 1996. He was also a 2-time Hochi Professional Sports Award winner, in 1995 and 1996, for boxing.
7-Following his loss to Gerry Penalosa in 1997 Kawashima retired citing issues with his sight.
8-Penalosa regarded Kawashima the most skilled fighter he had faced and described him as a "complete fighter" in a piece where he spoke with Anson Wainwright for Ring, in a "Best I Faced" article.
9-Kawashima was dubbed "Untouchable" in Japan due to his defensive ability. That nickname continues with the shows he promotes, which are "Untouchable Fight". Interestingly Kawashima has also released a DVD, that can be purchased on Amazon.jp, called "Hiroshi Kawashima Boxing Defense Master ", showing off the defensive skills of the former world champion.
10-Earlier we mentioned that Kawashima had beaten Puma Toguchi in the amateurs but their careers crossed quite a few other times. They actually debuted on the same card, in August 1988 and fought each other in December that year, with Toguchi avenging his loss to Kawashima in the amateurs. Their bout in 1988 was the East Japan Rookie of the Year final, which Toguchi won in 6 rounds. The two also shared a card in July 1989, where Kawashima suffered his second professional loss. So, interestingly, both of Kawashima early losses came on cards shard with Toguchi!
Extra Fact - Kawashima lost the WBC Super Flyweight title on February 2nd 1997 to Gerry Penalosa, in what would be Kawashima's final bout. On that same show was the unrelated Katsushige Kawashima, who was making his debut. Katsushige Kawashima would later go on to win the same title Hiroshi Kawashima lost to Penalosa! What makes this event stranger is that Katsushige Kawashima was managed by Hiroshi Kawahima's former gym mate Hideyuki Ohashi, becoming Ohashi's first world champion.
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).