British fans may remember a few years ago a short, relatively unknown but bull strong Japanese fighter called Suguru Muranaka (26-3-1, 8) travelling to the UK to challenge the then WBA Super Flyweight champion Kal Yafai. Today we're going to shine a bit of a light on Muranaka as we feature him in the latest 5 midweek facts article.
Of course Muranaka was no world beater, he asked some questions of Yafai, and made the Englishman work hard for 12 rounds but was a clear loser. He left an impression of a proper tough, strong guy who had heart and desire, despite being technically limited. The reality is that he could have been in some amazing bouts had he been disciplined enough to really commit to the sport and being a full professional.
Sadly Muranaka's career is plagues with issues, but he was often regarded highly in Japan and, for most of his career, was a popular fighter with a fun style and an aggressive mentality. He would win the Japanese Flyweight title, beating Takuya Kogawa and would defend it twice, stopping both Masayuki Kuroda and Yusuke Sakashita.
Rather than giving a full career synopsis lets instead look at 5 midweek facts about Suguru Muranaka.
1-Prior to ever fighting for a title of any kind, including Japanese title, Muranaka had become a popular sparring partner for top Japanese fighters. By August 2012 he had sparred with Tomobu Shimizu, Yota Sato, Toshiyuki Igarashi and Akira Yaegashi. He explained to Boxmob that despite Yaegashi being a Minimumweight when they sparred he was the most "scary". Later on he would also spar with Naoya Inoue and Ryoichi Taguchi.
2-Muranaka was stripped of the Japanese Flyweight title when he failed to make weight for a 2015 clash with Tetsuma Hayashi. Although the bout went ahead the title remained vacant as Muranaka defeated Hayashi by decision.
3-The weight troubles of Muranaka didn't started and end with the Hayashi bout and he would also fail to make weight later that same year for a bout with Hideyuki Watanabe, which lead to a lengthy suspension. He also failed to attend a weigh in for a Japanese Bantamweight title bout in 2018, due to being taken to hospital due to his inability to make weight after this he was indefinitely suspended by the JBC.
His first weight weight fail was actually in 2008 when he failed to make weight for a bout against Shigetaka Ikehara, meaning he failed to make weight for 4 bouts during his career! This first failure to make weight actually resulted in him being away from the sport for 2, in which he got married and a had child.
4-A staggering 29 of Muranaka's 30 career bouts took place at the same venue! Those bouts were at Korakuen Hall in Japan. The one exception was his 2018 bout with Kal Yafai, which took place at the Barclaycard Arena, in Birmingham, England! That's almost 97% of his career fought in a single venue, a staggering stat.
5-At the time of his fight with Kal Yafai, in 2018, Muranaka was working for a waterworks company. Other jobs he has spoken about having included working at a Pachinko Parlour in 2014.
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).