One of the great things about doing this series is that we don't need to concentrate on just the biggest names in the sport, but also fighters who are just interesting individuals. One such case is that of Seisaku Saito. Saito only had a relatively short career in the ring, despite fighting over 40 times, but went on to have massive success outside of the sport.
To western fight fans he's not someone who you will likely know much about, but he's someone we would to help you get to know. So with that said lets look at 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Seisaku Saito, and see if we can educate on the fighter, the actor, the comedian, and the well loved figure from the 20th century.
1-Saito got mud in his eye as a child and lost most of his sight in his left eye. He concealed this later in his career by memorising the vision chart and passing the medicals that he needed to pass as a boxer.
2-Saito was part of a big family, he was the second son from a total of 8 children.
3-Saito began his boxing career at the Sasazaki Boxing Gym, the same gym that Fighting Harada was at.
4-In 1963 Saito was stopped by future world champion Chartchai Chionoi, this was the only time he was stopped in his 43 fight career. Reportedly he was never dropped during his boxing career.
5-Saito would debut in September 1960, aged just 18, and retire after his final professional bout in April 1964, aged 22. In that time he amassed a 34-8-1 (11) record. To break down his career bouts by year gives up 6 fights in 1960, 19 bouts in 1961, 10 bouts in 1962, 6 bouts in 1963 and 2 bouts in 1964. Sadly the cause of his retirement from the ring was Dementia Pugilistica.
6-Following his time as a boxer Saito would turn to acting and comedy. He was taken under the wing of the legendary Toru Yuri, who served as his mentor.
7-As an actor Saito is actually credited as "Tako Hachiro", the name he went under as an actor and comedian. He was quickly a success and was a hugely popular actor by the time of his death in 1985.
8-During his acting career Saito was known as a big drinker and would often be seen at bars. It was, however, difficult to know if he was drunk or whether the brain damage that ended his boxing career was responsible for his behaviour.
9-Saito was missing part of his right ear. It was long assumed that it had been lost to a bite from a dog, but the man himself admitted he lost it was he was playing friends, having been bitten by one of them. It was originally sewn up and repaired but later needed to be permanently removed.
10-In 1992 Saito's nephew won the All Japan Rookie of the Year at Featherweight.
Extra fact - In 1962 he claimed the Japanese Flyweight title, beating Kyo Noguchi for the belt. He would defend it twice and hold the bout for around 15 months, before losing to Kenichi Iida. He did this whilst being almost entirely blind in his left eye!
Extra fact 2 - Japanese band Moon Riders and jazz musician Akira Sakata both recorded musical tracks about Saito
Extra fact 3 - Saito died whilst swimming in 1985, however it appears he didn't drown but instead died of a heart attack at the age of 44. The announcement of his death was communicated during an episode of a TV show he often starred on
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).