With the recent news that Kyoei would be shutting its doors as a professional boxing gym, at least temporarily, there seemed no better time than feature the legendary gym in the latest of our "Did you know" features
1-The gym was founded by former fighter Masaki Kanehira, the father of recent chairman Keiichiro Kanehira. As a fighter Masaki Kanehira ran up a record of 16-19-3 (1) during a career that ran from 1954 to 1959. Despite fighting almost 40 times there wasn't really anyone notable that he faced
2-The gym was one of the early success stories of Japanese, along with other highly established gyms like Teiken, Misako, Yonekura and Kadoebi. For years the main rivalry of gyms in Japan was Teiken Vs Kyoei, with the two being the biggest and strongest, by far. Sadly though since the death of Masaki Kanehira in 1999 Kyoei did fall behind Teiken, quite badly.
3-One of the gyms most notable "firsts" was promoting the first Japanese professional female fighter Masako Takatsuki, who fought way back in the 1970's. Takatsuki's career was a short one, and boxrec only list her as having 2 professional bouts. Japanse sources on the other hand suggest she had 11, going 8-2-1 (3).
4-The gym is an historically significant one for fans who have enjoyed the recent rise of fighters from former Soviet nations. In 1989 they signed a number of top amateurs from the former USSR, including Orzubek Nazarov and Yuri Arbachakov, who later went on to be among the most influential "Russian" fighters, laying down the ground work for the current rise of fighters from Russian, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
5-Something we intend to talk about in more details one day is "The Orange Incident", but it fits in nicely here. "The Orange Incident", also known as "the poison orange incident", was a massive controversy in the early 1980's when Masaki Kanehira, the then gym chairman, was accused of mixing drugs into orange juice used by Yoko Gushiken and Katsuo Tokashiki. It's unclear what they were poisoned with, though the talk is that it could been a muscle relaxant or a laxative. The accusation was so serious that the JBC stripped Mr Kanehira's licenses and Gushiken's retirement ceremony, which was to take place in 1982, was canceled.
6-The Kyoei gym had arguably the greatest North Korean professional boxer ever fighting for them back in the 1990's. Thanks to Mr Kanehira's relationship with professional wrestler, become promoter, become politician, Antonio Inoki the gym managed to sign 1992 Olympic gold medal winner Choi Su Chol. The North Korean isn't too well remembered now but between 1996 and 1999 he went 3-0 (3) as a professional and scored a very notable win over Samuel Duran. Sadly though his career never managed to reach the heights it could have, and he remains one of boxing's many enigma's.
7-The gym has had 12 world champions, and one interim world champion. Those world champions are Hiroyuki Ebihara, Shozo Saijo, Yoko Gushiken, Yasutsune Uehara, Katsuo Tokashiki, Katsuya Onizuka, Yuri Arbachakov, Orzubek Nazarov, Osamu Sato, Koki Kaneda, Takefumi Sakata and Yota Sato. They also lead Tomoki Kameda to a reign as the WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight champion.
8-Among Kyoei's former fighters are Akira Jo (aka Joe Yamanaka), who would go on to have an excellent career as a musician and be well remembered for his charity work, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, who was dubbed "Santa Tokyo" whilst fighting in Japan, and voice actor Atsushi Imaruoka, who was in Super Street Fighter IV, Overwatch and several Way of the Samurai games, among other work.
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).