The name Takashi Okada (6-1-1, 1) is unlikely to mean a lot to most fans, but the former Japanese fighter is certainly a man who should be better known than he is, and whilst his professional career was very short, he scored 2 wins that look fantastic on reflection, and did in the space of 13 months. He is the man who gave perennial title challenger McWilliams Arroyo and current Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman their first defeats.
One thing that is often asked when Okada's name is brought up in conversation is why he ended his career after his first loss, and just how did such an obscure fighter score 2 huge wins in his incredibly short career. Here we'll look to answer those two questions and more, as we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Takashi Okada.
1-Firstly we need to point out that Okada was very talented amateur, winning the 2005 All Japan Championship as a Flyweight en route to recording an amateur record of 53-15 (28).
2-According to at least one Japanese news site Okada was planning to become an interior co-ordinator before becoming a professional boxer.
3-He has 3 older brothers, who were all involved in sport whilst Okada originally took up Piano, which he played from kindergarten to elementary school. It wasn't until High school that he began boxing and was bitten by the boxing bug.
4-He made his professional debut in 2007, stopping Kiattisak Sor Proenchai, as a fighter affiliated with the MT Boxing Gym in Japan. Notably that was his only bout in Japan as his career got a lot more complicated, and he was unable to get a Japanese license, forcing him to fight in North America for the rest of his career.
5-Following his debut Okada suffered from vomiting and headaches, and was diagnosed as having a subdural hematoma. Whilst he didn't require major surgery, though did require treatment, the injury prevented him from being able to receive a Japanse boxing license. This meant he had to fight outside of Japan, and lead to him fighting in the US, and Mexico, for the rest of his career, rather than in Japan.
6-Just months after turning professional Okada had sparred with Akira Yaegashi and Eagle Den Junlaphan. Later in his career, ahead of his bout with Daniel Modad, he sparred with Giovani Segura.
7-On his US debut Okada fought to a draw against the then debuting Filipino-American Bruno Escalante. For that bout Okada was trained by Rudy Hernandez and was fighting for the first time in in 2 years and 8 months. That included the break from the ring to recover from his brain injury.
8-Whilst Okada's earlier career win over Daniel Roman stands out now, especially given Roman's success at Super Bantamweight, the bout was actually fought at a contracted 116lbs. Following that win he returned to Japan to get an extension to his Visa before fighting in his first 6 rounder, exactly 11 months after the win over Roman. He also suffered a number of injuries this bout, that would have delayed a ring return regardless of visa issues.
9-After suffering his first, and only professional loss, in 2013 Okada is quoted as having said something to the effect that if he fought Uriel Gaona 10 times he would win 8 of them. From what little detail of that bout we could find Okada had dropped Gaona before being stopped standing in round 3 by the referee. Following this bout neither man would fight again. For Okada it would seem likely that injuries, including the brain issue and injuries suffered against Roman, likely forced his decision.
10-He currently works as a trainer at the MT Gym, the gym that he made his professional boxing debut under. He's been a trainer since 2014, the year after his final professional bout.
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).