When we talk about great fighters we often talk about those who achieved greatness, the ones that won world titles and that reached the top of the sport. Today, for our continuing 5 Midweek Facts series, we look at Naoto Takahashi (19-4, 14). Takahashi never reached the top of the sport, but yet he's still one of the most interesting fighters out there. He is very much a fan favourite due to his style, his looks, his attitude, and the excitement of his bouts.
Dubbed the "Prince of the Reversal", Takahashi was in some of the most amazing bouts of his era. Win or lose he was amazingly fun to watch. His bouts with Mitsuo Imazato, Mark Horikoshi and his first bout against Noree Jockeygym were breath taking displays of action, will to win and sheer bloody mindedness. He put on fights that excited fans and live on. Almost 30 years after his last bout he is still a popular figure among Japanese boxing fans.
1-In the years following Takahashi's win over Mark Horikoshi, which we've included under this article, Takahashi revealed he couldn't remember most of the fight. It appears that from round 3 or 4 he was fighting on instinct until his brain kicked back in round 9. He's been in several sources mentioning this type of thing. Upon learning of Horikoshi's death in 2015 Takahashi described his former foe as being a very kind man and wanted to thank him for their bout.
2-Takahashi featured on the under-card of Mike Tyson's 1990 bout with James Douglas, where he had his second bout with Noree Jockeygym. That bout was the start of the end for Takahashi and it seems like that was the bout that really showed the cost of his career. He only fought twice more after this, and less than a year later he had to retire due to a brain injury, suffered in his 1991 bout with Jong Pil Park. He later admitted that he was punch drunk after this Noree bout.
3-In 2004 Takahashi released an autobiography. The title essentially translates as "The Pride of a Beaten Dog". This book is currently available on amazon.jp for those interested in adding it to their collection.
4-After his forced retirement from boxing Takahashi resumed his involvement in the sport. He not only did commentary, for pay TV channel GAORA, but was also worked at the JB Sports Gym, which is run by Jyoji Morikawa, and ran his own gym.
5-Given that we've just mentioned Jyoji Morikawa lets go out on a high and add that the Miyata Ichiro character in Hajime No Ippo is based on Takahashi, using his likeness. Although the fighting style of the character more closely resembles that of Sugar Ray Leonard.
Sadly the now 48 year old is suffering from symptoms of Dementia Pugilistica however
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).