It's amazing to see how successful the Ohashi Gym have become in recent years, but it's hard to believe that they've not really been on the map for all that long, and aren't one of the more historical gyms. One of their first stars was Katsushige Kawashima. Although only really known in the west for his short reign as the WBC Super Flyweight champion, following an upset win over Masamori Tokuyama in their second bout, he's actually a really interesting fighter who proved doubters wrong and got to the top the hard way.
As Kawashima was only a short term champion, making only a couple of defenses, there is lots about him that has remained under the radar. With that in mind, let us bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Katsushige Kawashima
1-Kawashima went unbeaten in the amateurs, running up a less than extensive 1-0 (1) record in the unpaid ranks.
2-Unlike many fighters Kawashima wasn't actually inspired to fight after watching the sport on TV. Instead he was inspired after watching his friend fighting in 1995. His friend, an Ohashi gym fighter, got Kawashima to attend and it was there that he decided he wanted to box.
3-Surprisingly, given the fact he would later win a world title, Kawashima twice failed his pro-test. He was regarded as having no natural boxing ability, but being a genuine hard worker.
4-Kawashima's first loss as a professional came in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in 1997. The man that beat him, Hitoshi Nakano, would later go on to win the OPBF and Japanese Flyweight titles!
5-In terms of nicknames Kawashima's most common one was "Last Samurai", though he was also dubbed "Lucky Man"
6-Kawashima's 1999 win over Napa Kiatwanchai saw him following his promoter, Hideyuki Ohashi, in beating the former Thai world champion.
7-When Kawashima won the WBC Super Flyweight title in 2004, stopping Masamori Tokuyama, he became only the second Japanese fighter to win a world title, whilst being managed by a former Japanese world champion, Hideyuki Ohashi. For those who are curious, the first was Keitaro Hoshino, who was managed by Susumu Hanagata.
8-The win over Tokuyama not only netted Kawashima the WBC Super Flyweight title but also saw him claiming the 2004 Best fighter award at the Japanese Boxing Awards and the Hochi Sports award for Boxing for that same year.
9-Kawashima fought with the initials "ST" sewn on his trunks after the death of a 17 year old Ohashi Gym trainee, from the 2000 Naka-Meguro derailment.
10-Since retiring from boxing Kawashima and his wife have run a jewellery business. The business sells original rings, not boxing ones, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, bangles and earrings, among other things. For those interested in the items they sell, the website can be found here https://ring-kawashima.com/
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).