Between 1995 and 2004 Japanese puncher Junichi Watanabe (29-5, 20) was putting on some of the most exciting bouts in Japanese rings. Win or lose the man originally from Yamanashi was able to generate real excitement in the ring whilst making a name for himself at both Bantamweight and Super Bantamweight.
To international fans Watanabe might now be a well known fighter but in Japan he was certainly a popular fighter thanks to his unique look, his heavy hands and his rather questionable chin. In fact it was his durability that caused him to suffer 3 of his 5 defeats. Despite those losses he managed to score plenty of notable wins himself, claiming the Japanese Super Bantamweight title in 2001, with a win over Setsuo Segawa, which he subsequently defended 6 times before losing the in 2003 to Yoshikane Nakajima.
This week we're going to share some facts on Watanabe as we bring you 5 Midweek facts about Junichi Watanabe
1-Watanabe's boxingnick name was the rather unique, and genuinely brilliant, "Golden Wolf". The nickname was due to how he looked, with his blonde hair and ponytail.
2-Although never an amazing boxer Watanabe had a much feared straight left hand, which was known for it's genuine potency. Whilst he never showed in any sort of major international bout, the power well known about in Japan and that was shown very clearly in September 1998 when he dropped future world champion Toshiaki Nishioka with a single left hand in the opening minute of their bout! Sadly for Watanabe he couldn't finish off Nishioka who recovered and stopped him in the very next round.
3-After winning bouts and doing an in ring interview Watanabe would often sign off by thanking fans and then telling them to drink a beer on their way home. Often adding that it's cold weather and that he thought the fight would have warmed them up.
4-After retiring from in ring activity, following his loss to former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Yober Ortega in 2004, Watanabe went on to become a cook
5-The fighter shares his name with a now deceadedJapanese author. The Junichi Watanabe who was a writer wrote most a lot about extra marital affairs, and his 1997 novel "A Lost Paradise became a best seller in 1997. He was also the winner of the prestigious Naoki Prize in 1970. Sadly the writer passed away in 2014, aged 80, after a battle with cancer.
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).