In the early 1990's and early 00's the Japanese Super Featherweight scene was red hot. One of the big stars of the time was Koji Arisawa (34-4-2, 24). Arisawa was a fun to watch fighter with boyish good looks and he knew how to fight, twice winning the Japanese Super Featherweight title.
Although Arisawa is best known for his loss to Takanori Hatakeyama in 1998, in what was dubbed "The ultimate Japanese title match", he managed to have a really solid career himself and was in some great bouts, and very much a popular fighter.
Today, as part of our on going 5 midweek facts series we bring you 5 midweeks facts about Koji Arisawa.
1-Arisawa's twin brother was also a fighter. That was Kazu Arisawa, who would twice challenge for Japanese titles but sadly came up short both times. Interestingly the two men were both following in the footsteps of their father, Shigenori Arisawa, was also a professional boxer back in the 1960's. The boxing bug actually extends beyong the trio with Kazu and Koji's uncle being involved in boxing along with their grandfather.
2-From what we could find Arisawa had absolutely no amateur experience, that was despite the boxing roots in the family.
3-Arisawa's final bout, which took place on December 13th 2005, saw him defeat Pichitchai Kawponkanpim. Despite the win Arisawa was actually over-shadowed on the card by Masayuki Koguchi. That was due to Koguchi's wig falling off during the bout, and Arisawa jokingly suggested that whilst it was his retirement it was also the day that Koguchi became a star.
4-Following his retirement from boxing Arisawa took part in a number of exhibition bouts on cards promoted by Japanese MMA company DEEP. These included a 2008 exhibition with former WBA Super Flyweight champion Yokthai Sithoar. It seems like he was in at least 4 exhibitions with DEEP, with the first 2 bouts in 2007 and the second 2 in 2008.
5-In 2009 Arisawa performed on stage as an actor, taking part in in a place entitled "Kiraboshi no Magneto-It's too soon to give up!"
Great KO's are something we don't see enough of, but when they come against the run of the rest of the round they are even better. Today we look at a brutal KO from 1997. Sadly this isn't one with replays but is still a KO that should be spoke about, as it was glorious and came very much against the run of the fight up to that point.
Koji Arisawa (15-0, 12) vs Yutaka Nishida (14-6-1, 3) II
In April 1996 the exciting and heavy handed Koji Arisawa won the Japanese Super Featherweight title. He made his first defense 3 month later by stopping talented southpaw Yutaka Nishida in 3 rounds. Another defense later in the year saw Arisawa extend his unbeaten run to 15-0 (12) before he clashed with Nishida in a rematch.
For those who haven't seen Arisawa before he was a genuine domestic star in Japan. He was a good looking fighter-boxer who's looks appealed to female fans and his in ring style appealed to casual fans, who always enjoy a puncher. He didn't have the natural ability to go all the way, and completely lacked anything in terms of notable amateur experience, but he was a TV friendly fighter with heart and firepower. He could certainly be out boxed, but few were going to beat him, domestically at least, in a war.
Yutaka Nishida on the other hand was a much more technical fighter. He lacked the explosive power and heavy hands of the champion but was a very skilled southpaw, with a lovely crisp jab, good movement and a smart boxing brain. Sadly he had come up short in two other Japanese title fights before this bout, once to Arisawa and once to Toshikazu Suzuki. Although he had 6 losses to his name he had beaten Hiroyuki Maeda and looked like a clear talent.
Having been stopped in 3 rounds in their first meeting Nishida knew he had to avoid getting into a war with Arisawa. For the first 2 and a half minutes or so he had done that brilliantly. He had easily out boxed Arisawa, popping the champion with his jab and some very sharp straight left hands. It was the perfect start for Nishida.
And then, out of nowhere Arisawa threw a jab, Nishida tried to counter with a straight but was then on the wrong end of a thunder bolt of a right hand counter himself, that sent Nishida crashing hard to the canvas. He tried to get up but the referee knew he wasn't in a fit state to continue, waving off the bout with Nishida flat on his back.
We know this would be better with replays but sadly we don't have those. What we suggest is rewatching at quarter speed to see just how clean the shot is. It's an absolute beauty from Arisawa and one of the best he landed during his career.
Sadly for Nishida this was the end of his career and he never fought again. As for Arisawa he would go on to lost his title in 1998 in a brilliant bout with Takanori Hatakeyama, in one of the most famous Japanese title bout in history and one of the best Japanese titles bouts to ever take place.
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).