For today's mid-week facts we decided to pick someone pretty obscure, and as a result have selected the relatively unheralded Mitsuru Sugiya (28-5, 21). We don't expect anyone outside of Japan to be familiar with him, though there is actually some pretty neat facts about him out there.
Before we get to the facts we'll just share general information on Sugiya, who fought from 1981 to 1989 and changed gyms a number of times during career. His career isn't a huge well known one, but he did have success at domestic level and got a shot at a world title late in his career. Despite having a career that spanned most of the 1980's he was only 25 when he retired, though had fit plenty into his short career. This included being Japanese Featherweight champion, several times, and winning the East Japan Rookie of the Year.
1-As a professional fighter Sugiya managed to win the East Japan Rookie of the Year, but lost in the All Japan Final, losing a close decision to future world champion Takuya Muguruma. Interestingly Muguruma would go on to win the WBA Bantamweight title and challenger for the WBA Super Bantamweight title whilst Sugiya would, in 1989, fight for the WBA Featherweight title, losing to the brilliant Antonio Esparragoza.
2-Rather oddly Sugiya lost the Japanese Featherweight title in a non-title bout! He lost the belt when he lost to a decision to the then 2-0 Lion Ari in 1987. The rules dictated that if a champion lost in a bout at their weight in Japan they would be stripped of the title. Following this title loss he won the vacant title back, to become a 3-time champion!
3-Mitsuru Sugiya wasn't the only member of the family to be a boxer. His older brother, Minoru Sugiya, was also a successful fighter. As a fighter on the Japanese domestic scene Minoru Sugiya managed to win the Japanese Light Welterweight title, though sadly lost it in his first defense just 4 months after winning it.
4-Sports runs in the family! Not only was Mitsuru Sugiya's brother a boxer, but Mitsuru's second son is a professional baseball player! Kenshi Sugiya is a talented baseball player who has played for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.
5-After retiring from in ring competition Sugiya went on to become a trainer at the Shirai Gushiken Sports Gym, run by Yoko Gushiken.
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).