We continue our 5 Midweek Facts series by looking at former world title challenger Kazuhiro Ryuko (13-2-3, 4). Although Ryuko isn't a name that many fans will recognise, therefore he's ideal for this series, he did manage to leave a decent mark on the sport as both an amateur and a professional.
Ryuko's professional career was a short one, running from 1995 to 2002 and yet it was one with a lot of promise and a decent level of achievement. He debuted in 1995, fighting out of the Watanabe Gym, and beat future world champion Celes Kobayashi in just his 4th professional bout. He would later go on to win the Japanese and OPBF Super Flyweight titles but lose in his sole world title bout bout in 2002.
1-Although Ryuko would be a pretty successful boxer, and was a very decent amateur boxer at high school level, he actually wanted to become a singer and not a boxer. He was scouted by the Watanabe gym and his career as a singer got put on the back burner.
2-We mentioned Ryuko was a good amateur boxer and we weren't joking. His reported amateur record was a very impressive 85-25 (40) and he fought for the Kinki University team and the Japanese national team.
3-Ryuko went to the Kyoto Kogakuin High School in Kyoto. That's the same school as Shinsuke Yamanaka, Shun Kubo and Ryota Murata, all of whom went on to win world titles! Sadly for Ryuko he himself would never win a world title, but did, as mentioned, challenge for one in his final bout.
4-Currently Ryuko works at the RK Boxing gym as a trainer, which he also owns. He also serves as an adviser for the Matsuyama University boxing team.
5-Ryuko is a close personal friend of Japanese recording artist Ryuichi Kawamura and often used Kawamura's song "Love is..." as his ring walk music. Kawamura also sang the national anthem in Ryuko's final career bout, against Masamori Tokuyama. For those wanting to hear "Love is..." we have included it below.
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).