Due to the lack of action going on in the ring right now, we've decided we need to put some extra mini articles out. As a result we've decided to do a mid-week spin off of our Sunday Series "10 facts you probably didn't know...". Rather than 10 facts however we're going to take a lesser known fighter and look at just 5 facts.
Today we'll give that treatment to former world title challenger Trash Nakanuma (27-6, 12), a man who went on to win the Japanese and OPBF Flyweight titles and had a decent, though often over-looked career. It spanned from 1993, when he was just 18 years old, to 2006 and saw him take on a number of world class fighters.
1-A rather obvious one to start with. He wasn't born "Trash", instead his birth name was Masaki Nakanuma. Like many from the Internation Boxing Gym however he took on a different surname, which was a word that had meaning in English. Other examples of this include Royal Kobayashi, Leopard Tamakuma, Jackal Maruyama and Crusher Miura.
2-Nakanuma's parents when he was just 1 year old and fell under the custody of his father. Sadly his father was certainly not a great parent, being a violent, drunk gambler. Nakanuma's father died when he was 17. This rough upbringing helped, in some ways, to get Nakanuma into boxing, and vowing to reach the top of the sport for his father and his sister, who had helped support Nakanuma's life.
3-In 1997 Nakanuma was was hospitalised with meningitis. He had a high temperature and, from reports in Japan, came incredibly close to dying. Unsurprisingly, given such a serious issue outside of the ring, Nakanuma's career was put on hold and it was almost 2 years before his next bout, in 1999.
4-Oddly half of Tamakuma's career defeats came in the space of 9 months, and in successfully more significant title bouts. He lost the Japanese Flyweight title in his second bout against Takefumi Sakata in April 2003, lost an OPBF title bout against Noriyuki Komatsu in August 2003 then lost in a WBC Flyweight title bout in January 2004. Interestingly he had previously beaten Sakata, in their first clash, and would later avenge the loss to Komatsu in 2004.
5-In a "Best I Faced" piece with Anson Wainwright for Ring TV Pongsaklek Wonjongkam stated that Nakanuma was the strongest fighter he faced during his career. Given Wonjongkam went in with a real who's who of who from the Flyweight division during his long career this is a huge compliment to how physically strong the Japanese fighter was. Even more impressive given his past, with the medical issue and situation with his father.
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).