Between 1970 and 1982 Japanese fighter Shoji Oguma (38-10-1, 20) put together one of the most confusing records in the sport. He suffered 10 losses in 49 fights, but fought more than 25% of his bouts fighting at the world level. Not only that but he was also a 2-time WBC Flyweight champion, and the linear champion in both of those reigns. He was also in the ring end of year rankings in 5 separate years, and was clearly one of the best Flyweights of his era.
Sadly however Oguma came around during a golden era for Flyweights and his competition reads like a who's who with bouts against the likes of Betulio Gonzalez, Miguel Canto, Alfonso Lopez, Sung Jun Kim, Chan Hee Park, Antonio Avelar and Jiro Watanabe, and fighting that type of competition as regularly as he did will lead to losses.
Rather doing a full career analysis here however we're going to take a look at some facts about the former 2-time champion we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Shoji Oguma!
1-Oguma share's his birthday with several interesting figures. These include guitarist Richard Bennett, who has performance alongside Niel Diamond, Mark Knopfler, Billy Joel and Barbara Streisand. As well as well as tragic former NFL player J. V. Cain and Patriarch Daniel of Romania.
2-Oguma went to the Fukushima Prefectural Koriyama Kita Technical High School. That's the same high school as manga artist Hidekazu Himaruya, who is best known for his webmanga series "Hetalia: Axis Powers" and Tsutomu Nihei, also a manga artist, known for work such as "Blame!" and "Knights of Sidonia". Nihei was also responsible for "Wolverine: Snikt!"
3-Although he was a southpaw Oguma was actually right handed. According to the JPBA this was actually due to his previous experience learning Kendo
4-During his career Oguma fought 49 times as a professional. Interestingly that included a 4 fight series with Betulio Gonzalez, trilogies with Chan Hee Park and Miguel Canto, and 2 fight series with Sung Jun Kim, Kazuo Aikawa and Masakuni Kawakami. So depite having 49 professional bouts he only fought 38 different fighters and more than 20% of his bouts were rematches.
5-The first fight between Oguma and Chan Hee Park ended up being a very rough and tough fight with the fans throwing things into the ring after Oguma tossed Park to the canvas. The commentary for the bout, which was actually provided in English, blamed referee Larry Nadayag for losing control of the bout. Reportedly there were armed police on high alert for the bout due to anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea at the time.
6-Oguma is the first, and only, world champion to have won a world title whilst fighting out of the Shin Nihon Boxing Gym in Nogata, The gym, which was established in 1961, has had a number of Japanese and OPBF champions, but no other world champion.
7-Oguma was named the The Ring magazine "Comeback of the Year fighter" for 1980. Interestingly this was the first time the award had been given out by Ring Magazine. Despite being the inaugural winner, Oguma was a worthy recipient, given 1980 was a genuinely brilliant year that saw Oguma reclaim the Flyweight title, with a win over Chan Hee Park, and defend the belt against Sung Jun Kim and Park in a rematch.
8-During his career Oguma had an amazing 8 world title challenges, going 2-5-1 during those shots. Despite having a losing record in world title challenges Oguma was success at world level, winning the WBC Flyweight title twice and amassing a total of 3 successful defenses. That takes his record in world title fights to 5-7-1.
9-Oguma was the temporary coach of Leopard Tamakuma in 1990, and helped lead him to a world title.
10-After retiring Oguma opened the Oguma Boxing Gym, in Saiitama Prefecture. Prior to opening the gym he had worked in waste disposal and had a business interest in Karaoka boxes.
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).