The Japanese Middleweight title is one of the most over-looked domestic titles from the Land of the Rising Sun but it's also a very interesting on and has had it's share of not just Japanese born champions but also fighters born outside of the country. One of those was 2-time Japanese Middleweight champion Steven Smith (18-11, 14), who was better known in Japan as Flasher Ishibashi.
Whilst not too well remembered now Smith was an exciting glass cannon and only 5 of his 29 career bouts went the distance. He was must watch, win or lose, and today we bring you 5 Midweek facts about Steven "Flasher Ishibashi" Smith.
1-Smith is from a large American family, from which he is the eldest of 7 siblings.
2-Smith's amateur record was reported 7-1 (6), with the fighter learning to box at an air force base in California. It was whilst he was in the air force that he also visited Japan, spending time at the Yokota Air Base.
3-Rather notably Smith didn't adopt the "Flasher Ishibashi" moniker until he had had more than 10 bouts, with the first under his adopted fighting name being his bout with Hideo Kanazawa in 1973. The Ishibashi name came from the Ishibashi gym that he fought out of.
4-Smith's first reign as the Japanese Middleweight champion ended despite him losing in a non-title bout to Ryu Sorimachi, the then Japanese Welterweight champion. This was due to the JBC rules that stated losing a bout held within the weight class limits would cause a fighter to be stripped. Due to this situation Smith has the 26th and 27th recognised reigns of the title.
5-Although an American born fighter who spent much of his career in the US Smith was a really well travelled fighter. He had 16 bouts in Japan, one in South Korea, one in Australia, one in France, one in South Africa and 9 in the USA. Whilst he's not alone in fighting in 4 continents, Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America and Africa, he's certainly in a rather small percentage of fighters to have done that
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).