Today we return to looking at a title in our Did You Know Series, as we look at the Japanese Welterweight title. The belt doesn't have the strongest lineage but does have an interesting one dating back over 70 years with some explosive title fights and several notable champions.
Just for general guidance we are only considering reigns and fighters recognised by the JBC, so the early earliest title bouts, including those from the 1920's and 1930's, aren't considered here.
So here is "Did You know...The Japanese Welterweight title".
-The first Japanese Welterweight champion, as recognised by the JBC, was Ichiro Kawada who held the title from September 1947 to April 1949. Whilst his reign does pre-date the JBC being formed, the linage of the title does start with him and can be tracked directly from him to the foundation of the JBC in the early 1950's.
-Despite being a champion from more than a year Kawada was dethroned without making a single defense. His reign was ended by Tatsumi Hachiro. Hachiro's reign saw him make 4 defenses before losing the belt in May 1951, a little over 2 years after winning it.
-Hachiro's 4 defenses of the title stood as an unmatched record from 1951 to 1970, when Ryu Sorimachi managed to notch his 4th defense.
-Hachiro wasn't just the second champion but was also the first to reclaim the title, defeating Takeo Ugo in 1952 to have his second reign. Incidentally Ugo would himself become a 2-time champion in 1954.
-On the subject of 2-time champions 5 of the first 7 champions had 2 reigns. They were Hachiro, Ugo, Teruo Onuki, Teruo Matusyama and Kenji Fukuchi.
-In regards to multiple reigns the only 3-time champion is Makoto Watanabe, who had all 3 of his reigns in the 1960's.
-Shoji Tsujimoto, who held the belt from October 30th 1972 to April 28th 1978. This reign was over 2000 days! During his lengthy reign Tsujimoto set a then record number of defenses, defending the belt 12 times.
-Tsujimoto's record for most defenses was broken less than a decade later when Junya Kushikino recorded 13 defense in 1984, a record that has now been broken it's self. What's notable about Kushinko's reign is that he made his first 10 defenses all by T/KO, a record that still stands for any Japanese title more than 20 years later.
-Sadly for Kushinko his own total defenses record of the belt was beaten in 1992 by Hiroyuki Yoshino, who made 14 defenses of the belt, a record that still stands today.
-Despite the belt having had 4 double digit reigns no champion has managed more than 6 defenses since Jintoku Sato vacated the belt in 1996.
-The belt has had 2 provisional champions, both since the year 2000. One of these was Hiroyuki Maeda and the other was Daisuke Sakamoto.
-The first "KO1" in a bout for the belt occurred in Junya Kushinko's first defense, back in 1982, when he stopped Koji Sasagawa.
-Hiroyuki Yoshino managed 3 "KO1" defenses during his long reign
-Tadashi Yuba is the only man to defend the belt with a "T/KO 1", lose the belt with a "T/KO 1" and to win the belt with a "T/KO 1". In fact he was involved in 4 title bouts that didn't last a round, including a 40 second loss to Teruyoshi Omagari, which saw Yuba being dropped 3 times.
-In December 2010 the Japanese and OPBF titles were unified by Yo Inoue. The remained unified until the second half of 2012 with Akinori Watanabe holding the unified belts after beating Inoue.
-At the time of writing there have been 182 bouts for the belt. These have included 180 bouts for the regular title and 2 for the interim title. There has also been 2 bouts to unify interim and regular titles.
-From the 184 title bouts we have had 5 draws. The first of those was in 1950 and the most recent in 2010.
-The most recent "TKO 3" in a bout for the title was in January 1997
-Sadly no one who has ever won the title has gone on to win a world title. Saying that however several have fought for world titles, including Akio Kameda who had two world title bouts and Hisao Minami.
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).