We continue to try to shine a light on the unheralded, and often little spoken about, Asian fighters of the past as we continue our 5 Midweek Facts series. This time we turned our attention to a former OPBF Flyweight champion who we don't think many will have heard of, yet was a regional champion and was said to be on the verge of a world title fight.
The man in question is Masaharu Naganawa (12-1-2, 2), a fighter who fought from 2003 to 2007 and later set up a boxing fitness gym. Sadly his career was a short one but one that showed what a technically excellent boxer he was, before it came to an end.
1-Prior to joining a boxing gym Naganawa had hoped to become a soccer player in the J League.
2-As a professional Naganawa fought of the the Gifu Yokozeki gym, where he became their first OPBF champion thanks to a decision win over Jojo Bardon in August 2007. That win not only saw Naganawa claiming the OPBF Flyweight title but also avenging his sole career defeat. Interestingly from his 15 bout career he beat all his opponents apart form Yuki Sano, who he fought to a draw with in 2004
3-We mentioned in the introduction that Naganawa's career was a short one. That was sadly due to a retinal detachment that forced him to retire at the age of 23 and just after his career defining win.The injury forced him to cancel a scheduled bout with Masafumi Okubo in April 2008.
4-Sticking on the subject of Naganawa's retirement, he had, supposedly, been on the very of a WBC world title fight with Daisuke Naito. The plan had been for the two to clash in August 2008, if Naganawa had beaten Okubo and Naito had retained his title against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Whilst Naito did retain Naganawa's retirement ended the plans of the bout.
5-Following his retirement from the sport as an active fighter Naganawa has set up the Fitness Boxing Gym Minerva in Gifu Prefecture. The gym is typically open every day of the week, other than Thursday and Sunday. Interestingly the gym claims to have more female members than male ones,
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).