The Japanese boxing scene has adopted fighters from all over the world over the years. Some of these have been real stars, such as Roman Gonzalez and Jorge Linares, whilst others are less well known, and some are even totally forgotten now years later. For example the likes of James Callaghan, from the UK. One man who fell somewhere between the two extremes was Kenyan born Japanese based Philip Waruinge, better known as Waruinge Nakayama (14-10-1, 6).
During his his 25 fight pro career Waruinge won the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, defending it 4 times, and twice fought for world titles. In fact his first world title fight saw him fight in the inaugural WBC Super Bantamweight world title fight. He didn't manage to win a world title, but he is certainly more noteworthy than his record suggests.
With that introduction out of the way, let us bring you 5 Midweek Facts about Waruinge Nakayama who was a fantastic amateur, promised a lot as a professional, but never managed to quite settle in the professional ranks.
1-As an amateur Waruinge went a reported 168-20 and was a 2-time Olympic medal winner, winning a bronze at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and a silver medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics. He also won the Val Barker trophy in 1968, despite only winning a bronze medal, and competed at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
2-Waruinge travelled to Japan in 1973 and signed with a Gym in Osaka. He had acquired an A Class license before his debut in the summer of 1973 and beat former Japanese Featherweight champion Kimio Shindo on debut. What makes his debut even more interesting is that Shindo wasn't supposed to be his debut opponent, that was supposed to be Royal Kobayashi! The bout had to change, due to scheduling, but still, that would have been a clear case of being thrown in at the deep end!
3-Sadly Waruinge was pushed too hard too fast and despite an impressive debut the then Japanese based Kenyan would lose 3 of his following 4 bouts, falling to 2-3 after 5 professional contests. They included a loss to former Japanese Bantamweight champion Ushiwakamaru Harada and future Korean Super Bantamweight champion Panther Koh.
4-Sadly Waruinge was forced into retirement in 1978 due to a detached retina.
5-Waruinge's son, Tom Waruinge, also had professional career. Like his father he fought in Japan, though had a much less notable career, going 3-2 (1) between 2001 and 2003.
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).