Updated April 6, 2014

In 2014
Naoya Inoue wins title
20 year old Inoue faced WBC light fly weight champion Adrian Hernandez of Mexico on Apr 6. He was aggressive from the start. He knocked down the champion in the 6th round and took over the title. It's his 6th match to win.

In 2012
Ioka clinches double title
Champions of WBA and WBC clashed on June 20 for both titles in the strawweight. They are Kazuto Ioka and Akira Yaegashi. It was a competitive fight, but Yaegashi's eyes were checked frequently as they became swollen. In the end, Ioka was given an unanimous win.

In 2011
Ioka's nephew wins world title
21 year old Kazuto Ioka faced champion Oleydong Sithsamerchai of Thailand in the WBC minimum weight title match in Kobe on Feb 12. In the 2nd round, his left hook went into the champion's face. In the 5th while they were battling eachother Ioka gave a shot in the stomach and with that the champion was knocked out. Ioka has in his only 7th match became world champion of the quickest ever in Japan. His coach is former 2 weight category world champion Hiroki Ioka.

In 2010
Nashiro fails to defend his title
In Osaka on May 8, Nobuo Nashiro tried to defend his WBA Super flyweight title. However as a result of a unanimous 0 to 3 decision to Mexico's Hugo Cazares he failed in his 3rd attempt to defend his title. The 2 men found in September last year in which they tied.

Eldest Kameda give us his title
WBC flyweight world champion Koki Kameda faced Pongsaklek Wonjogkam of Thailand on Mar 27 at Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo. The Thai challenger was given a 2-0 unanimous win. With this, Kameda not only lost his WBC title. His consecutive win record was halted at 22 matches.

Younger Kameda also is champion
21 year old Daiki Kameda challenged Thailand's Denkaosen Kaowichit on Feb 7 in Kobe's World Memorial Hall. Un a unanimous decision, Daiki won the WBA flyweight title. He's the younger brother of Koki who's currently WBC flyweight champion.

Uchiyama is featherweight champion
30 year old Takashi Uchiyama who tried for the WBA world title for the first time fought aggressively against Mexico's Juan Carlos Salgado on Jan 11 at Tokyo Big Sight. He knocked out the champion in the 12th round and clinched the title without any losses.

In 2009
Eldest Kameda snatches belt from Naito
Daisuke Naito who so far defended his WBC flyweight title 5 times was challenged by Koki Kameda on Nov 29 at Saitama Super Arena. In a unanimous decision of 3 to 0, Kameda won the match and clinched the flyweight title, which means its the 2nd weight class he's won the title.

In 2008
Hozumi defends title again
On Jan 10, Hozumi Hasegawa was challenged by Italy's Simone Maludrottu in Osaka. It was in a bloody fight as Hozumi cut below his right eye in the 2nd round. He managed to defeat Maludrottu in an unanimous decision, and defeated his WBC bantamweight title for the 5th time.

In 2007
Naito beats the youngest Kameda
WBC flyweight champion Daisuke Naito who clinched the world title in July was challenged by 18 year old Daiki Kameda on Oct 11. He's the youngest of the 3 Kameda brothers. The frustrated Daiki made foul moves and lost 3 points. His action drew huge criticism. Naito defended his title.

In 2006
Kameda defends title
Koki Kameda proved he deserved the title on Dec 20. He had a rematch against Venezuela's Juan Landaeta in Tokyo's Ariake Colosseum. After 3 rounds Kameda gave his opponent effective blow. In the 9th round, Landaeta slipped. The match went to an unanimous decision and Kameda was given the winning verdict. The match drew a TV rating of more than 30 percent.

Controversial world title for Koki Kameda
A popular rising star, Koki Kameda challenged the world title for the first time on on Aug.2. It's in a match against Venezuela's Juan Landaeta for the vacant WBA light flyweight title match held at the Yokohama arena. In the first round, Landaeta attacked Kameda's chin, and put him down on the ring. But Kameda did not take long to get back on his feet. However, in the next rounds, he was not fighting as aggressively as he's known for. In the end, Kameda won a split decision. The 19 year old wailed upon the announcement. Sumo star Asashoryu rushed to the ring, and gave Kameda affectionate hugs and lifted him up on his shoulders.
Michiyo's Note: The viewers in Japan could not accept Kameda's victory. Many thought the title should be given to Landaeta.

Koshimoto lose and retires
In the WBC featherweight championship match on Jul 30, Takashi Koshimoto was challenged by Mexico's Rudy Lopez in Fukuoka's Marine Messe. In the 7th round, Lopez fired punches, and knocked out Koshimoto. After the match, the badly swollen Koshimoto announced he's retiring.

Nashiro among quickest to win title
On July 22, 24 year old Nobuo Nashiro clinched the WBA Super Flyweight title from Mexican Martin Castillo as a result of a uanimous decision. It's only his 8th fight. He's tied with Joichiro Tatsuyoshi's record. Nashiro is reported to have once left boxing following the death of his opponent a day after they fought eachother.

Tokuyama defends title
North Korean born Masamori Tokuyama retained his title. In the WBC super flyweight match on Feb 27 in Osaka, he was challenged by American Jose Navarro. Tokuyama had a strong start, but then Navarro gradually is on the offense. In the end it was an unanimous points decision for Tokuyama.

Koshimoto is oldest world champion from Japan
35 year old Takashi Koshimoto faced South Korean champion, Chi In Jin in the WBC Featherweight championship match on Jan 29. It was held in the southern city of Fukuoka at a gymnasium with a capacity for a mere 3000 spectators. It was a fierce match which was fought a full 12 rounds. Koshimoto won in a 2 to 1 decision. The oldest before Koshimoto to become world champion was Koichi Wajima at 32 years 9 months old.

In 2005
Champion vs former champion
The incumbent world champion Katsushige Kawashima faced again Masamori Tokuyama from whom he grabbed the WBC super fly weight title more than a year ago. It's the 3rd time they faced eachother. This time, they fought on Jul 18 in Osaka. From the first round, Tokuyama accummulated points with a good defense and effective punches. And that gave him a unanimous win. The title was returned to Tokuyama.

Hasegawa is champion
24 year-old Hozumi Hasegawa had a unanimous win over veteran Thai boxer Veeraphol Nakhonluang-Promotion on Apr 16 in Tokyo's Nippon Budokan. Veeraphol has been defending his title 14 times, so it was a stunning victory.

Niida defends title
On Apr 16 in Tokyo's Nippon Budokan, Yutaka Niida defended his WBA minimin weight title. He beat South Korean challenger Kim Jae Won.

Takayama wins WBC title
21-year old Katsunari Takayama defeated champion Isaac Bustos of Mexico to win the WBC minimumweight title on April 4. It was in a 3 to 0 unanimous decision. The match was held in Osaka

In 2004
Niida keeps title
On Oct 30, WBA Minimum weight world champion Yutaka Niida was challenged by Venezuela's Juan Landaeta. In the 6th round, Niida was bleeding from the top of his right eye lid. But the match was continued. With a 2 to 1 decision for Niida, he defended his title for the first time since he won it in July. At the time, he clinched the title from Noel Arambulet who failed with his weight.

Kawashima defends title for the first time
Katsushige Kawashima was challenged by Mexico's Raul Juarez in Yokohama on Sept 20. His blows put Juarez down on the ring twice. They weren't effective enough to win with a knock out. But Kawashima, with a 3 to 0 unanimous win defended his world title in the super fly weight for the first time.

Tokuyama fails
It was a quick loss for Masamori Tokuyama in the WBC super fly weight match held June 28 at Yokohama Arena. He was challenged by Katsushige Kawashima also age 29 for the 2nd time. Kawashima finished the match in the first round to clinch the champion belt.

Todaka fails to defend
Bantam weight interim champion Hideki Todaka faced a tough match on Mar 6 at Saitama Super Arena. He did not give any decisive blow against Mexico's Julio Zarate who ranks 10th. Todaka lost to a 1 to 2 decision, giving up his title. There were 2 other world matches on the same day, but Japanese boxers failed to win either of them.

Tokuyama defends title the 8th time
In Jan WBC super fly weight champion Masamori Tokuyama fought Russia's Dimitri Kirilov, ranked number one at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium. On an unanimous decision, Tokuyama defended his title for the 8th time.

In 2003
Japan's first world champ is dead
It was learned on Dec 28, that Yoshio Shirai died 2 days ago from pneumonia while in the hospital. He was 80. He became World Flyweight Champion in 1952. His victory helped the Japanese, recovering from its defeat in World War 2 gain courage. He defended his title 4 times. Also, the fact that he challenged the world has prompted Japan to set up a ruling boxing body the Japan Boxing Commission.

Former champ Todaka is interim champ
On Oct 4,former WBA super flyweight champion Hideki Todaka fought for the interim bantam weight title. The man he faced was 5th ranking Leo Gamez of Venezuela who actually stole his flyweight title from him back in 2000. He won a split decision. On the same day there were 2 other world title matches held. In the WBA super flyweight match, champion Alexander Munoz of Venezuela kept his title in a 3-0 decision over Hidenobu Honda. In the WBC bantam weight title match, Thailand's Veeraphol Nakhonluang-Promotion who was challenged by Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka managed to retain his title in a draw.

Double WBC world title match in Yokohama
The first match on June 23, was for the WBC minimumweight title. In the 12th round, former world champion Keitaro Hoshino dropped on the floor against champion Jose Antonio Aguirre of Mexico in a technical knockout at 2 minutes 15 seconds. Hoshino failed to break the record of oldest champion held by Koichi Wajima.

In another match, WBC super fly weight champion Masamori Tokuyama took on the challenge from Japanese Katsushige Kawashima Tokuyama clinched an unanimous win of 3 to 0 to defend his title for the 7th time.

In 2002
Tokuyama defends title for the 6th time
WBC super fly weight champion Masamori Tokuyama was again challenged by Jerry Penalosa of the Philippines on Dec 20. In the 10th round, Tokuyama fought back attacking Penalosa's body. The verdict in the end was a 2 to 1 decision to Tokuyama.

Tatsuyoshi makes successful comeback
Joichiro Tatsuyoshi was on the ring for the first time in 3 years and 4 months on Dec 15. He faced Thailand's former WBA world flyweight champion Sean Sor Ploenchit at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium It's considered a non-title match. In the 5th round, Tatsuyoshi gave a clean blow into Ploenchit's face. Then in the 6th round, Tatsuyoshi's series of punches prompted the referee to stop the match. It was a technical knock out victory for Tatsuyoshi. He's expected to challenge the world title in his next match.

Tatsuyoshi's comeback fight unveiled
Boxing superstar and former WBC bantam weight champion, Joichiro Tatsuyoshi who retired 3 years ago will be back on the ring on Dec 15, and face a former Thai WBA world flyweight champion. This was announced Oct 23. "Jo" is 32 years old can only fight world ranking matches as his eye problem clashes with Japan's domestic boxing rule.

Hozumi is knocked out
Japan's Naotaka Hozumi challenged WBA middleweight world champion William Joppy in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Oct 10. He was fighting well, until the 10th round. Joppy, however, jabbed the challenger's face and the refree stopped the match.

Sato fails to retain title
It was the first time on Oct 9, WBA Super Bantam Weight world champion Osamu Sato attempted to defend his title. He faced world number one ranking Salim Medjkoune, a Frenchman, at Tokyo's Yoyogi Gymnasium. Sato had a bad start. In the 6th round he fell on his butt. He tried to win back points but in the end lost to a 0 to 3 unanimous decision. At this point, there's only one world champion registered with a Japanese boxing gym. It's Masamori Tokuyama.

Tokuyama defends title for the 5th time
On Aug 26, Masamori Tokuyama beat Mexican challenger Erik Lopez in a technical knock out finishing 6 rounds to defend his WBC super fly weight title. The match was held at Saitma Super Arena. Tokuyama said after the match that he couldn't move very well as he felt heavy. He's expected to face his tough rival Jerry Penalosa of the Philippines again for his next match.

Two title matches on same day disappoints
It's a double world title match at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Aug 24. Japan's Kengo Nagashima was knocked out in just 2 rounds in the WBC super featherweight match to Thailand's Singmanassuk Sirimongkol. Manabu Fukushima faced Mexican interim champion Oscar Larios in the WBC super bantamweight title match. The refree stopped the match though and Fukushima's fight ended with a TKO in the 8th round.

Hoshino fails and retires
Keitaro Hoshino tried to defend his WBA minimum weight title on July 29 at Pacifico Yokohama. But former champion Noel Arambulet of Venezuela regained the crown in a majority decision. After the match he announced his retirement.

Kobayashi hangs up gloves
Former World Boxing Association (WBA) super flyweight champion Shoji ''Celes'' Kobayashi on July 15 held a press conference to official announcement that he is leaving his boxing career.

SATO is Japan's new world champ
It was a dramatic KO victory by Japan's Osamu Sato who tied in the WBC match of the same division just in February to US champion Willie Jorrin. This time, he challenged Thailand's WBA Super Bantam Weight title holder Yoddamrong Sithyodthong at the posh Saitama Super Arena on May 18 before a crowd of 8500. Sato did not have a good start. The champion was taking the lead in the first 3 rounds. And it appeared that Sato was losing confidence. But, Sato kept on targetting the champs body. It was in the 7th round, he gave blows that put the champion down on the ring twice. Then in the 8th round, Sithyodthong fell again. That was it. Sato clinched the world title. Sato is 25 years old. His record is 26 wins including 15 KOs, and a loss.
Michiyo's Note:
Luckily, I was able to watch the game live at the site with a number of sports loving people, thanks to Kyoei Boxing Gym. By the way, Sato is the gym's 9th world champion.

Kobayashi gives up crown
Celes Kobayashi faced Venezuelan Alexander Munos on Mar 9. Celes tried to defend his WBA super flyweight title. Celes was losing to Munos already in the 2nd round. He was floored. Although Celes picked himself up in the 3rd and 4th rounds. He was down again in the 6th, 7th, and finally in the 8th, he failed to get back on his 2 feet to fight. Munos marked his 22th KO victory out of 22 victories.

Hoshino regains title
32 year old Keitaro Hoshino rechallenged the WBA minimum weight title at Pacifico Yokohama on Jan 29 facing a Filipino based in Japan Gamboa Koizumi. They aimed to clinch the champion belt which noone held. Gamboa's right blow seemed good in the 3rd round, but from the 4th, Hoshino started to fight more effectively. They fought a full round, and Hoshino was given a 3 to 0 unanimous decision. At 32 years and 5 months, Hoshino is the 2nd oldest boxer after Koichi Wajima to regain the world title.

In 2001
Tokuyama defends title again
WBC super fly weight champion Masamori Tokuyama had a full match against Jerry Penalosa of the Philippines on Sept 24. Penorosa was bleeding from the eye but fought on. But as a result of a 3 to 0 decision, Tokuyama was pronounced the winner at the Yokohama Arena.

Kobayashi defends title
For the first time, Celes Kobayashi managed to defend his WBA super flyweight title on Sept 1. The match was a harsh battle between the two. Kobayashi appeared to have lost his stamina near the end. But he won a 2 to 1 unanimous decision over Venezuela's Jesus Rojas.

Niida wins title
The WBA minimum weight world title match was held in Pacifico Yokohama on Aug 25. Japan's Yutaka Niida, at that point ranked number 9 in the division faced 35-year old champion Chana Porpaoin of Thailand. It was not an aggressive fight. A full match was played and Niida was given a 0 to 3 unanimous win. Niida is currently 22 years old. His record is 14 wins and 3 ties. He's become the 3rd active Japanese world boxing champion.

Hatakeyama gives up title
WBA Lightweight champion Takanori Hatakeyama fought former champ Julian Lorcy of France at Saitama Super Arena on July 1. To surprise of fans, Hatakeyama lost 0 to 3 unanimous decision to Lorcy. He failed in his 3rd attempt to defend his title.

Hoshino fails to keep title
Champion Keitaro Hoshino was challenged by Thailand's Chana Porpaoin for the WBA minimum weight title in Yokohama on Apr 16. In the 3rd round, Porpaoin begin to have an edge over the champion. Hoshino tried to earn points near the end. After a full round, the judges favored Chana. 31-year old Hoshino lost his title before a crowd of 4,000 at the Pacifico Yokohama National Convention Hall.

Kobayashi wins super flyweight title
Celes Kobayashi fought with determination to win this time in the WBA super flyweight title match. It was before a full crowd at the Yokohama Arena on Mar. 11. It's his 2nd try for the champion belt. He was focused on giving Venezuelan champion Leo Gamez body blows, and was aggressive from the beginning. In the 10th round, Gamez was clearly weakening. And Kobayashi went for him and puched his face. That did it. Kobayashi knocked out the champion to win the champion belt. The 28 year-old cried in delight and carried his little girl on the ring.

Hatakeyama defends title
A sellout crowd had their eyes glued to the WBA Lightweight championship match in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Feb 17?. Champion Takanori Hatakeyama's first main action took place when he gave his opponent Rick Yoshimura a body blow. But from the 5th round, Rick took control of the match Then in the 9th, Rick's point was taken away due to a hold Hatakeyama's strength appeared to have recovered soon after that. He fought with energy, to finish a full 12 round. The result--a tie, thus Hatakeyama retained his title.

In 2000
Tokuyama defends title
WBC super fly weight champion Masamori Tokuyama was challenged by Japanese Akihiko Nago on Dec. 12 in Osaka. The blond-haired Tokuyama with his left, knocked the challenger off his feet in the 3rd round. But then it was him who went down in the 6th round. The 2 survived 12 rounds. But Tokuyama won over a 3 to 0 decision, and defeated his world title for the first time. For Nago, this was his 2nd world title match

One of the eldest first-time champ is Hoshino
31-year Kentaro Hoshino challenged Ganboa Koizumi of the Philippines for the WBA Minimumweight title. The world title match took place in Pacifico Yokohama on Dec. 6. In the 5th round, he gave effective attacks. A full round was fought. But Hoshino was given a 3 to 0 evaluation by the judges, and won his first world title. Gamboa failed to defend his title for the 3rd time. He's the second oldest among Japanese to clinch a title for the first time. There are now 3 champions based in Japan.

Japanese fail in interim title match
On Nov. 23, Japan's Kozo Ishii faced his 2nd world title match. He challenged WBA super bantam weight interim champion Yober Ortega of Venezuela. In the 10th he went down, but came on his feet immediately. But the blows given to him did it in the 11th. Ishii lost to a TKO.

Hatakeyama fights another Japanese to defend title
WBA light weight title match was held at Yokohama Arena on Oct. 11. Takanori Hatakeyama, for his for try at defending his title, was faced by Hiroyuki Sakamoto. For 29-year old Sakamoto it's his 4th time to challenge the world title. They attacked eachother aggressively, but the champion proved better. It was a TKO victory in the 10th round for 25 year-old Hatakeyama.

Todaka loses title to 37-year old
WBA super flyweight champion Hideki Todaka was challenged by 37 year-old Leo Gamez of Venezuela. They fought at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium on Oct.0. From the 2nd round, Gamez was more aggressive, His punches were hitting the target. In the 7th round, as Todaka was attacked by Gamez, he stepped back yelled as if to boost his fighting spirit. But soon after, he dropped on the ring. The champion belt went to Gamez. In fact, it's the Venezuelan's 4th weight class title. Todaka on the other hand failed to defend his title for the 3rd time.

Tokuyama captures WBC super flyweight title
Masamori Tokuyama was about to knock out South Korean champion Cho In Joo in the 4th round. The match however was fought in full, and the judges ruled for him 3 to 0. Tokuyama became the new WBC super flyweight champion on Aug. 27 at the Osaka prefectural Gymnasium. It was a historical match. Tokuyama, is actually a North Korean resident of Japan. His real name is Hong Chang Soo. So the match became the first ever world title meeting between a North and South Korean. Tokuyama's record is 22 wins 2 losses and a tie.

Kobayashi was close but...
Japan's "Celes" Kobayashi was performing strong half way in the match on Aug. 20 until he hurt his left arm. The judges ruled 113 to 113, a draw. Filipino champion Malcom Tunacao was able to keep his crown in the WBC World Flyweight match held in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. It was 27 years old Kobayashi's first try for the world title. For Tunacao, it was his first time to defend his title.

Nishioka loses to champ in bantamweight
Veeraphol Nakonluang of Thailand in Japan again. He was challenged on June 25 by Toshiaki Nishioka in the WBC bantamweight title in Hyogo Prefecture's Takasago municipal gymnasium. It was unanimous win for the champion. He defeated his title for the 4th time. By the way, Japan's star boxer Joichiro Tatsuyoshi who has retired was watching the match by the ring dreaming of himself being up there sometimes soon making a comeback. Veeraphol clinched the title for Jo in Dec. 1998.

HATAKEYAMA is back and on top
It's been a year since Takanori Hatakeyama retired. But he decided to box again but in a heavier weigh division. His first match in the division was on June 11 at Tokyo's Ariake Colosseum in the WBA World Lightweight. He faced champion Gilberto Serrano of Venezuela Hatakeyama was awesome. He clobbed the opponent for the 2nd time in the 8th round and won a knockout game. The 24-year old new lightweight champion became only the 2nd Japanese to clinch a light weight and another weight.

Todaka defends title
Japan's only champion Hideki Todaka was challenged by Thailand's Yokthai Sith Oar at Nagoya's Rainbow Hall on Apr. 23. Todaka was not so strong in the beginning, but in the 8th round, he clobbed Yokthai and landed him on the floor. 38 seconds into the 11th round, the referee stopped the fight. Todaka defended his WBA super flyweight title for the 2nd time. It's the 27-year old champion's 17th win.

Sakamoto stopped in title match
Hiroyuki Sakamoto tried for the 3rd time the WBA world lightweight title on Mar.12 at Ryogoku Kokugikan. Fans were excited by his aggressive attitude as the match took off. He went forward to attack Venezuelan champion Gilberto Serrano. Serrano was down twice in the 1st round. On going into the 2nd round, it was obvious that Sakamoto was given a major blow below his eye. His right eye was actually barely open. As the match proceeded the skin around his eyes puffed up. During the 5th round, the doctor stopped the match. Sakamoto failed to clinch the title again. But in terms of points, Sakamoto was ahead of the champion.

Jo plans comeback
The president of Johichiro Tatsuyoshi's gym disclosed to reporters that the former bantam weight champ is preparing for a comeback. He said that Jo had resumed training in December. He may be all set by spring. Jo is 29 years old.

Koshimoto's knocked out
Japanese challenger Takashi Koshimoto was wacked by American WBA featherweight world champ Freddy Norwood. They fought on Jan.30 at Fukuoka International Center before a crowd of 4500. In the 9th round, Norwood gave 2 jackhammer hooks at Koshimoto's right side of his face and finished him with another blow behind the neck.

In 1999
Abe unable to win provisional champ status
Satoru Abe who was originally slated to fight WBA minimum weight champion Noel Arambulet of Venezuela on Dec. 4 in the end had a different opponent. He's 5th ranking Joma Gamboa of the Philippines. This happened because Arambulet apparently came down with a severe cold and had to cancel. Gamboa, at any rate,overwhelmed 4th ranked Abe. Abe was knocked out in the 6th round.

Ishii fails to win
Japan's Kozo Ishii was doing as well as his opponent, Mexican champion Nestor Garza until the 12th round. This was in the super bantam weight title match held in Nagoya on Nov.21. However, he was defeated to a TKO. Garza defended his title.

Todaka defends title
Hideki Todaka faced another Japanese 23 year old Akihiko Nago on Nov. 7. Nago belongs to a gym run by former champ Yoko Gushiken. Nago, who Gushiken scouted for his great potential gave too many punches that hit the air. The outcome of the match was judged based on an unanimous decision of 3 to 0. Todaka improved his life record to 16 wins against 2 losses and a draw. His next match is schedule in March.

Former champ drops
On Sept 5, former Japan's Keiji Yamaguchi lost by unanimous decision to South Korean champ Cho In Joo in the WBC super-flyweight title match in Tokyo in the 12th round. Yamaguchi tried to recover points from earlier losses in the final rounds, but that attempt worked against him. He was on the floor twice. Yamaguchi was a fly weight world champion 3 years ago and aimed to clinch another weight class title.

Jo fails in return match and retires
Japan's charismatic boxer Johichiro Tatsuyoshi challenged Veeraphol Nakonluangpromotion of Thailand who stole away the WBC World Bantam weight champion title from him last Dec. The return match was held on Aug. 29 at the Osaka Dome before 27,000 fans. Veeraphol's punches were effective from the beginning. Tatsuyoshi withstood them. However in the 7th round, the refree stopped the match. Tatsuyoshi lost to a TKO. The next day, Jo announced that he was retiring. He said although he still had a fighter's mind, his body was no longer up to it.

TODAKA is world champ
It was a rematch between Jesus Rojas of Venezuela and Japan's Hideki Todaka on Jul. 31 at Nagoya City Gymnasium. Todaka this time beat the WBA super-flyweight champion for the title. They boxed a full match. Todaka was declared the new world champion with an unanimous decision of 3 to 0, becoming Japan's only title holder.

Hatakeyama give up title
WBA Super Featherweight champion Takanori Hatakeyama was challenger by Mongolian Lakva Sim on June 27. The title match took place at the Ariake Coloseum in Tokyo. In the 5th roung, Hatakeyama dropped to Sim's punch. He stood up to fight again, but the game was stopped. For the first time, a Mongolian boxing champion was born. At the same time, Japan lost its only world champion.

Japanese fails in minimum weight
Wolf Tokumitsu challenged Thai's WBC minimum weight champion Wandee Singwangcha in Okayama Prefecture on May 4. At one point Wandee was the aggressor, and Tokumitsu also looked good. But just when fans thought the fight might go into an unanimous decision, the referee had to step in. Wandee suddenly gave blows and the match had to be stopped. Wandee defended his title for the first time.

An unheard of outcome at a world title match
26 year-old Hideki Todaka for the first time fought a world title match on Mar. 28. He faced WBA Super Flyweight champion Jesus Rojas of Venezuela. Todaka went for the challenge in his hometown Miyazaki. But a head butt by Todaka in the 4th round had the match stopped. That's because Roja started bleeding from the left eyebrow. The match was ended an injury draw. Naturally, Rojas kept his title.

Iida decides to quit
Satoshi Ida who lost his WBA World Super Flyweight world title to Jesus Rojas of Venezuela on Dec. 23 announced that he's not going to fight anymore. He said in a press conference on Feb. 28 that he resumed practice, but retirement was in his mind too. And finally, he made up his mind.

Hatakeyama saves face
It was a tough match for WBA Super Featherweight champion Takanori Hatakeyama on Feb. 13. His opponent was number 10 ranking Saul Duran of Mexico at the Ariake Coloseum in Tokyo. In the 2nd round, Duran's blow caught Hatakeyama right into the face and he fell. It wasn't a decisive punch though, so Hatakeyama was able to continue fighting. In the 10th round, Duran lost points for hugging Hatakeyama constantly. A full match was played. The result was a draw. That gave Hatakeyama the right to keep the only world title held by a Japanese. It's the first time Hatakeyama defended the title. After the match though, he expressed his disappointment with how he did.

Ioka hangs up gloves
Former champion of both the WBA straw weight and junior flyweight, Hiroki Ioka announced on Jan. 20 that he is quitting after fighting professionally for 13 years. Ioka has a career record of 33 wins, 8 losses and a tie.

In 1998
Jo fails to keep title
WBC World Bantam weight champion Johichiro Tatsuyoshi faced former WBA title holder Veeraphol Nakonluangpromotion of Thailand at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Dec. 29. Veeraphol, when heading toward the ring stopped suddenly and did not move for a couple of minutes while the crowd roared. To the audience, it appeared that the Thai challenger was just putting on a show. On the ring, he proved himself. From the 3rd round, Veeraphol was the aggressor. In the 6th round, his left jab clashed into Jo's face. Jo lost his balanace and fell. He had a deep slash over his right eye lid. Jo stood up again to fight, but Veeraphol showered him with more blows. Jo dropped. The time was 2 minute 52 seconds. It's the first time Jo lost a champion title to a technical knock out.

Iida gives up title
Champion Satoshi Iida was challenged for the WBA World Super Flyweight title match on Dec. 23 by Jesus Rojas of Venezuela. Rojas was formerly a flyweight champion. Rojas was a replacement for Puma Toguchi who was forced to withdraw from fighting on Oct. 15, following the discovery of a clotted vein in the brain. The crowd at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium cheered on Iida. In the 5th round, he was showered with punches. One got his shoulder dislocated. However, after that round, Iida yelled out loud showing that his mind was still set on winning the fight. Iida fought back in the final round but it was too late. Jesus Rojas was announced the new world champion.

Matsumoto loses chance in the featherweight
On Sept. 21, Fred Norwood had to give up his WBA World Featherweight champion title for being overweight by 800 grams. So he fought as a former champion with Japanese Koji Matsumoto on Sept. 22 at the Yoyogi Gymnasium in Tokyo. Matsumoto, if he won could have clinched the title. But he lost to a technical knock out in the 10th round. On the otherhand, the victory did not give Norwood back the crown he held until a day ago. So the title remains vacant. It was Matsumoto's 3rd challenge for the world title.

HATAKEYAMA is world champ!
Takanori Hatakeyama beat WBA Super Featherweight champion Choi Yong Soo of South Korea on Sept. 5 for the title. This was in Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. Both aggressively attacked eachothers face from the beginning. Hatakeyama's right cheek, as a result, became very swollen that his right eye could barely open. During the 10th round, Hatakeyama gave the champion a strong blow that has put him in an advantageous position. They boxed a full match. Hatakeyama was declared the new world champion with a unanimous decision of 2 to 0. Hatekeyama is Japan's 40th world boxing champion. Hatakeyama broke into tears upon the announcement of his victory.

Jo in grief despite victory
Champion Tatsuyoshi Joichiro who is also known as "Joe", wept as the refree stopped the match. That's before the start of the 7th round WBC Bantam weight world championship in the Yokohama Arena on Aug. 23. His opponent, Paul Ayala of the U.S. was in the 6th round, deducted a point for gashing Tatsuyoshi's head which caused severe cut around his eyebrow. The match was really supposed to be stopped there, but was resumed due to some misunderstandings. Anyway, the 7th round was not fought. Tatsuyoshi appeared angry that he could not fight a convincing match just because of the bloody injury. He agreed with Ayala for a rematch in the near future. All in all, Tatsuyoshi defended his title for the 2nd time. This was one of the matches in the first triple title match held in Asia. In another match, Hiroyuki Sakamoto failed to clinch the title from WBC world lightweight champion Cesar Bazan to an unanimous decision. Rocky Lin, who is originally from Taiwan and ranked 1st in the miniflyweight lost to 2nd ranker in the division Thai's Wandee Chareon. Rocky announced his retirement after the defeat.
WBC Bantamweight title match Johichiro Tatsuyoshi(champion) vs Paul Ayala (U.S.A.)
WBC Lightweight title match Hiroyuki Sakamoto vs Cesar Bazan (Mexican champion)
WBC Miniflyweight interim championship Rocky Lin (Japan based) vs Wandee Chareon (Thailand)

Iida keeps champion belt
WBA super flyweight title match on July 26 was fought between world champion Satoshi Iida and challenger from Nicaragua, Julio Gamboa. It took place at Nagoya City Gymnasium. Blood suddenly streamed down near the Nicaraguan's right eye during the third round. He lost a point for that. In the 5th round, Iida couldn't see. Blood bursted from his right eye lid due to damages done by Gamboa. He did not, however, surrender. He came back with punches in the 6th. A full 12 round match was fought. Iida defended his title for the 2nd time by an unanimous decision. Gamboa had to have 10 stitches for his injury.

WBA Junior Bantam Weight dream match
Champion Satoshi Iida vs former champion of 2 weight divisions, Hiroki Ioka fought eachother on Apr.29 in Nagoya. In the 6th round, Iida was bleeding from above his right eye and appeared from time to time to be disturbed by blood dripping into his eye. He withstood the injury, however, and battled competitively against Ioka. Ioka, at the end of most rounds would raise his one hand to appeal to the judges. As a result of finishing 12 rounds, the judges gave scores in favor of Iida. He defended the world title for the first time. Those on Ioka's side were so disappointed with the decision that they complained to the judges immediately.
Michiyo's Note: Here's an interesting story on the two boxers. Iida, started out with a boxing club sponsored by a TV variety show. On entering the club, he was auditioned by his opponent, Ioka.

Tatsuyoshi defends title
WBC Bantamweight world champion Johichiro Tatsuyoshi was challenged by South American champ Jose Rafael Sousa of Argentina at the Yokohama Arena on Mar. 8. Tatsuyoshi went ahead from the first round attacking Sousa. However, none of his blows were serious enough for Sousa. In the final 12th round, Sousa suddenly gave consecutive blows. Tatsuyoshi was somehow able to stop them from being too much. The game ended, and Tatsuyoshi was given the decision 3 to 0. He successfully defended his title for the first time. Tatsuyoshi was not, however, pleased with his performance. He apolized to the crowd for fighting a queer match. Before this, another world title was held. Japan's Shiro Yashiro lost to a TKO in the 4th round to Thai champion Sama Sorjaturong in the WBC Junior Flyweight title match.
WBC Bantamweight title match Johichiro Tatsuyoshi(champion) vs Jose Rafael Sousa (Argentina)
WBC Junior Flyweight title match Shiro Yashiro vs Saman Sorjaturong (Thai champion)

Yuri decides to quit
Russian born Yuri Arbachakov who lost the WBC world flyweight title in Nov. 1997, had decided by Jan. 6 that he will quit. Yuri had fought for Japan's Kyoei gym and defended the world title 9 times. He has boxed 18 years and feels that he had had enough. Yuri hopes to open his own gym in Japan.

In 1997
On Dec. 23, Yokthai Sith Oar of Thailand was challenged by Satoshi Iida for the second time. In the first round, the champion dropped on the ring after Iida punched into his face. Yokthai, however, recovered quickly. Then in the 6th, and 9th rounds, Yokthai lost points for aiming below Iida's waist. In the final 2 rounds, Yokthai was the aggressive one, but Iida pulled himself through. Iida, as a result, won the WBA Junior Bantamweight title by an unanimous decision. The spectators at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium were delighted, and Iida was buried in tears and sweat as he was carried by his boxing club members for the victory round on the ring.
Michiyo's Note: It was learned on Dec. 25, that Iida had broken his noise, and that it will take 7 weeks to recover.

At one point in the 7th round, champion Sirimonkol Nakornthorn-Parkview of Thai got up to fight again after Tatsuyoshi Johichiro showered him with body blows. However, Tatsuyoshi got back at him and Sirimonkol finally fell to a technical knockout. The Osaka Castle Hall roared with excitement to superstar Tatsuyoshi's victory. Dubbed "Jo of Osaka", he has clinched the WBC bantamweight world title for the 3rd time. At last, Japan has a world champion. It's been 274 days since Japan had one. However, hardly anyone thought Tatsuyoshi would make a comeback. Rather, there were demands for his retirement. Boxers diagnosed with a detached retina are not allowed to box in Japan. Tatsuyoshi did not give up by fighting in Las Vegas until he was finally given a chance to return to the ring in Japan

Another title match was held earlier at the Osaka Castle Hall that day. Former WBA junior flyweight title holder Keiji Yamaguchi faced Jose Bonilla of Venezuela champion for the WBA Flyweight title match. There were times Yamaguchi's punched got the champion tipsy, but the punch that banged into his chin in the 6th inning really did it. 23-year old Yamaguchi lost to a technical knock out.

The only Japan based boxer loses title
Russian Yuri Arbachakov who fights for Japan's Kyoei gym was not able to defend his WBC flyweight title, and needless to say, earn the WBA title on Nov. 12. Yuri fought a full 12 round against WBA champ Chatchai Sasakul of Thailand in Sapporo. Chatchai was successful with consecutive punches in the 4th and 5 rounds, and won by unanimous decision, making him a unified flyweight title holder. As for the WBA titled, he defended it for the second time. One major reason that placed Yuri at a disadvantage was that he had not fought a match for more than a year. Yuri won the WBC world title in June 1992, and had defended it 9 times.

Hatakeyama ties with Korean champion
Champion Choi Yong Soo of South Korea and Japan's Takanori Hatakeyama faced eachother at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan on Oct. 5 for the WBA Junior Lightweight Title Match. It was very competitive from the start. Choi's punch wrecked Hatakeyama's left eye in the 4th inning. It didn't affect him much for awhile. Then in the final 3 rounds, the champion came back with some good blows. The match was a draw allowing Choi to defend his title for the 6th time.

2 title matches plus Tatsuyoshi
For the first time in 9 years, Japan hosted 2 title matches at one venue. This was on July 26 at the Yokohama Arena.
WBC Lightweight Title Match Champion Steve Johnston (USA) vs
Hiroyuki Sakamoto (Japan)
WBA Junior Featherweight Title Match Champion Antonio Cermeno (Venezuela) vs
Yuichi Kasai (Japan)
Non-titled Match Johichiro Tatsuyoshi (Japan) vs
Ricardo Medina (Mexico)
Matchmaker Joe Koizumi

Hiroyuki Sakamoto fought aggressively against American champion Steve Johnston. He'd constantly move forward and seemed to easily withstand blows by Johnston. The problem it seemed was that he could not punch the champion effectively. A full match was played. Sakamoto, lost to a split decision. It was really close though.

It was Yuichi Kasai's 3rd attempt to go for the championship belt. The match against champion, Antonio Cermeno went into the final round. It was then that Cermeno suddenly gave Kasai consecutive number of blows. Kasai fell backwards. He was knocked out and was completely motionless on the ring. He was immediately taken to the hospital for examination. Fortunately, he did not suffer any brain damage. However, he is likely to retire.

Meanwhile, Johichiro Tatsuyoshi's match against Ricardo Medina went into 10 full rounds. He won by a split decision. But the fans nor were his supporters happy with his fight. He had a strong 1st round, but after the 2nd round, he was not able to demonstrate his good quality. So he may not be given a chance to try out for a world title again until next spring. The matches were all in all a disappointment to the Japanese crowd of 15,000. However, the event was able to collect ticket sells of 300 million yen.

Yosukezan is champion??
The WBF cruiserweight title match was held in Las Vegas between Japan's Yosukezan Nishijima and America's Brian LaSpada. They fought 6 rounds, and the 182 cm. well-shaved Yosukezan succeeded in an unanimous win. But the Japan Boxing Commission does not officially recognize WBF or the World Boxing Federation which is based in Texas. Yosukezan will not be able to defend his new title in Japan.
Michiyo's Note: Hopefully Yosukezan will win the world title in either WBA or WBC to prove that he is the best in his weight division.

Kawashima decides to quit
Japan's last champion, former WBC super flyweight champion Hiroshima Kawashima announced his retirement from boxing on June 5. He said he made up his mind to quit because of deteriorating eyesight. He was only able to record a vision of 0.05. The Japan Boxing Commission requires 0.3 for both eyes. Kawashima is hoping to start a new career as a sportscaster.

Featherweight champ loses his post in Japanese gym
The Japan Boxing Commission announced on May 27 that WBC world featherweight champion Luisito Koizumi of the Philippines will be ousted from registeration in Japan. The reason is because he has not been residing in Japan for the required 6 months. Luisito Koizumi, who's real name is Luisito Espino won the world title as a boxer of the Abe Gym in Dec. 1995. Luisito's manager Joe Koizumi agreed to the decision. This move will make Yuri Arbachakov the only foreign world champion fighting for a Japanese gym.

Japanese fails to win title in the junior light weight
Koji Matsumoto who is 9th in the junior light weight and former Asia Pacific champion in the featherweight faced Korean champion in South Korea. A full match was fought and the champion defended his title for the 5th time. This was Matsumoto's 2nd challenge for the world title.
Michiyo's Note : Unfortunately, this match was not publicized very much in Japan.

Junior bantamweight match ends in a tie
Japanese Satoshi Iida went for the world title the 2nd time. On Apr. 29, he challenged Thai champion Yokthai Sith Oar in Nagoya for the WBA super flyweight title. Iida started to accummulate points in the late half of the match. But, he did not earn enough. The match resulted in a draw. This means Yokthai succeeded in defending his title for the 3rd time. The match is the 11th straight world title match in which a Japanese failed to win.

Joe fails again
On April 14, Japan's superstar Joichiroh Tatsuyoshi faced WBC junior featherweight champion, Daniel Zaragoza of Mexico again. They fought last March and Joe lost to a TKO in the 11th round. This time at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, 12 rounds were played. In the final round, Zaragosa kept on leaning forward to defend himself. Zaragoza appeared to be weakening and Joe in much better shape. However, Zaragoza won by an unanimous decision. Zaragoza defended his world title for the 4th time. This is the 10th straight defeat faced by a Japanese in a championship match.

Watanabe is no match in the WBA Featherweight Title Match
Number one ranking Yuji Watanabe in the WBA featherweight gave a shot at the title on Mar.30 at Tokyo's Ryogoku Kokugikan. Watanabe, though, was no match 36 year old Wilfredo Vazquez of Puerto Rico. He dropped twice in the 2nd round. Vazquez's right blow drove Watanabe completely down in the 5th round. He was knocked out.

Ioka fails to win a 3rd weight class
Former champion of both the WBA straw weight and junior flyweight, Hiroki Ioka challenged the flyweight title on Feb. 25 in Osaka. He was, to his dismay, powerless in front of the present world champion of the division Jose Bonilla of Venezuela. 2 minutes 49 seconds into the 7th round, the referee stepped in to stop Bonilla from severing Ioka any further. It was a technical knockout victory for Bonilla.
Michiyo's Note: One upsetting fact about this match is that, it was not broadcast live in Tokyo. It was shown on tape from 2:45 am on TV Tokyo.

Japan's only world champion loses title
Hiroshi Kawashima took off to his 7th attempt to defend his title in WBC super flyweight division on February 20. However, his opponent Jerry Penarosa of the Philippines got him off balance in the 2nd round. Kawashima recovered thereafter. Then in the 11th round, Kawashima received serious blows. A full match was played. Penarosa won an unanimous decision. Kawashima lost his title and Japan too, it's only ruling world champion.

For info on boxing in 1996, go to BOXING ARCHIVE