With their being no live fights at the moment we've spent some time recently exploring the lesser talked about pre-war boxing scene. In the US pre-war boxing was big news, with the rise of Joe Louis being particularly notable, and the hugely popular Jack Dempsey. Over in Asia there wasn't much worthy of major attention, and many of the top Asian fighters ended up in the US anyway. However that doesn't mean there weren't things happening in Asia, particularly in Japan which had a boxing scene that was very different to what it is today.
One of the early names of note was Nobuo Kobayashi (6-4-2, 2), who had a very short career, but one that was notable for a number of reasons, as we'll explore in this weeks "5 Midweek Facts" article.
1-When Kobayashi was born in 1910 the place he was born was under Japanese rule. Now Wonsan is part of what is North Korea, a country that didn't even exist until after Kobayashi passed away.
2-Kobayashi was twice crowned the Japanese National Lightweight champion. The first of those came at the 1929 Meiji Shrine Games, whilst the other reign began in 1930 , when he beat Eiji Takahashi. This would actually end up being his last in ring victory. He is regarded as the 5th and 6th Japanese Lightweight champion of the pre-war era.
3-Kobayashi was managed by Teiken. Yes Teiken is that old that it operated back in the 1930's, albeit in a very different form to how it operates now a days.
4-In June 1930 Kobayashi lost the Japanese title to a Filipino! He was beaten by Joe Sacramento, who dethroned Kobayashi in his first defense. Interestingly Sacramento had twice shared the ring with one of the big Filipino pre-ward fighters, Ceferino Garcia, who famously fought Henry Armstrong among others.
5-Sadly Kobayashi was the first boxer to die in Japan from injuries suffered in the ring. He passed away following a 1930 loss to Filipino Bobby Wills. This bout took place in a ring set up at the Koshien tennis court in Nishinomiya and saw Kobayashi passing away aged just 20 years old.
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).