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).