One of the most notable gym's in Japan in recent years is the Watanabe Gym, a successful and well established gym in Tokyo which has created a number of champions at every of the sport.
Whilst we expect many fans have seen Watanabe gym fighters in action, and have likely seen the Watanabe gym logo, there is a lot to the gym. So here are some facts about the gym in Gotanda, as we cover the Watanabe in our latest "Did you know...?"
-The gym was set up by former fighter Hitoshi Watanabe, who boxrec list as having gone 8-5-2 as a fighter in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Mr Watanabe was a Middleweight and reached a #3 ranking on the Japanese domestic scene before retiring.
-The gym was founded in July 1981
-The first fighter from the gym to win a title of any kind was Hiroyuki Yoshino, who won the Japanese Welterweight title in 1988.
-The first fighter from the gym to challenge for a world title was Kimio Hirano in 1991, who faced the sensational Ricardo Lopez. The bout, at the Kusanagi Gymnasium, Shizuoka, saw Lopez stop Hirano in the 8th round.
-The gym's first world champion was a female fighter! That was Naomi Togashi, who won the WBC "interim" female Light Flyweight title in 2008 and was later upgraded to the full champion. The first man from the gym to win a world came in 2010, when Takashi Uchiyama won the WBA Super Featherweight title.
-The gym has a relationship with TV. It has had it's fighters featuring on TV Asahi, NTV, Sky A Sports +, TV Tokyo and most recently TBS. Of those only really their on going relationship with TBS is in place, though their fighters do appear on some G+ cards.
-In total the gym has created 7 world champions. These include not only Togashi and Uchiyama but also Kohei Kono, Ryoichi Taguchi, Hiroto Kyoguchi, Yunoka Furukawa and Kayoko Ebata.
-In 2010, when Takashi Uchiyama became the WBA Super Featherweight champion, the gym became the first Japanese gym to have had both a male and female world champion. Since then Ohashi, Shirai Gushiken and Shinsei have also managed to have both make and female world champions.
-The gym was the second gym in Japan to have guided multiple women to world titles, following on from Futur gym.
-The gym hosts shows under the "Watanabe Family" moniker, which features the Wtanabe gym fighters along with fighters from gyms run by former Watanabe gym fighters. These include the EBISU K's Box gym, TEAM 10 COUNT and RK Boxing Gym. These gyms really show how well established Watanabe are to have had multiple fighters from the gym setting up their gyms after retirement.
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).