It's fair to say that when it comes to Japanese boxing a lot of focus is on what happens in Tokyo, and then what happens in Osaka. Those two markets dominate the Japanese boxing scene and everything else is secondary. As a result there are a lot of fighters from Central Japan who don't get talked about too much. One such fighter is former WBA Super Flyweight champion Satoshi Iida (25-2-1, 11), who's face is among the most seen by fans who follow Japanese boxing, even if he is rarely talked about.
Iiida fought from 1991 to 1998, squeezing 28 fights into his career, that lasted just shy of 8 years. During that time he wonRookie honours, national honours and the WBA world title. He was also involved in 6 world tittle fights, and beat the likes of Rolando Bohol, Yokthai Sithoar, Hiroki Ioka and Julio Gamboa.
Today we're going to try and share some more facts about Iida as we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Satoshi Iida
1-It's reported that Iida began boxing when he was at the Gifu Kyoritsu University. Rather notably he appears to be the only famous boxer to have gone there, though there are other Japanese sporting successes from the University, including rising baseball pitcher Kaito Yoza of the Saitama Seibu Lions.
2-Before turning professional Iida had received guidance with his career from Jiro Watanabe and Katsuo Tokashiki, as part of a TV show. What makes this even more interesting as a fact is the TV show in question essentially had it's title translated to "TV uplifting of genius, Takeshi!" and featured none other than Takeshi Kitano in a major role. That's the same Takeshi Kitano, or Beat Takeshi as he's sometimes more well known, that was also the Takeshi in "Takeshi's Castle".
3-Within a year of his debut Iida had been crowned the All Japan Rookie of the year, beating Jiro Matsushima. Just over 2 years later Iida would claim the Japanese Super Flyweight title, again defeat Matsushima.
4-At the time of writing Iida is one of only two champions from the Midori Boxing Gym. The other was Hideki Todaka. Interestingly both men won the WBA Super Flyweight title with Todaka winning it from the man who had dethroned Iida.
5-Rather oddly for a world champion Iida's bouts rarely came on prime time Japanese TV, and were rarely shown through the country. Instead he was very much a local star in the Chukyo region, and, much like Kosei Tanaka in recent years, he was pushed heavily by a TV channel in the local area, CTV in Iida's case and CBC in Tanaka's case. Despite the lack of mainstream attention across Japan, he was a very successful "local" star, and is one of the few world champions from the Chukyo region.
6-Due to his good looks Iida was regarded as being an "Idol Boxer", a bit of a back handed compliment in which they were essentially saying he was too pretty for boxing, though credit to Iida he proved critics wrong by becoming a world champion and still maintained a pretty un-marked face.
7-Following his retirement from the ring Iida set up a training program for kids, and since then has actually gone further opening up 2 training facilities, one of which is the "Satoshi Iida Boxing Academy Box Fai" which is in Toyko.
8-Since 2008 Iida has released several books and a DVD. Interestingly the books focus on what appears to be training the eyes and vision, something he also focuses on at the aforementioned "Box Fai".
9-Iida shares his name with a character from Kamen Rider Hibiki, played by Tsutomu "Ben" Hura, who is well known for dubbing American actors for Japanese movie releases, including Bruce Willis and Joe Pesci.
10-Now a days Iida is often seen doing commentary for boxing events, adding his knowledge and personality to broadcasts in Japan. He also contributes to Japanese magazine "Boxing Beat". Given his TV work, his face really is seen more than that of many active fighters, at least regards to televised boxing events.
Iida's career had some strange little details in regards to dates. One of those was that he fought 6 times April 29th, which is a national holiday by the name of "Shōwa Day". The only other date where he fought more than once was December 23rd, fighting twice on that date, which coincided with the "The Emperor's Birthday" at the time, another national holiday.. He also never fought in May or June and only fought once in February, August and October. This means 8 fights came on two specific dates, whilst 5 months combined only had 3 fights!
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).