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Japan Boxing

When it comes to any sort of fighting, Japan is normally renowned for its variety and highly prolific martial arts. Whether it’s the style of the Samurai, the deadly arts of the Ninja or traditional fighting styles such as Judo or Aikido – Japan is commonly associated with all of them. Boxing, however, is a fighting sport normally attributed to a more western culture, specifically the American one given their extensive advertising of fights and the country’s tendency to produce some of the very best boxers whose name are recognized globally – Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson for example.

Thus it comes as a surprise to many when they’re told that boxing does have quite a history in Japan and is a fairly commonly practiced form of sport. The history of the art is relatively short in Japan when compared to America, but it exists nonetheless. It started in 1854 when US sailors would often compete in sparring matches, which is how boxing was first introduced to Japan. 1896 saw the very first boxing gym opened in Japan and the country saw its first boxers being born.

Professional boxing in Japan is regulated by the JBC, the Japanese Boxing Commission.Under their rules, every professional fighter must contract a manager for them, and must further “belong” to a boxing gym which holds exclusive management rights for a boxer. If two boxers belong to the same gym, they’re not permitted to fight each other in an officially sanctioned match unless one of the fighters changes gyms. This however becomes a lot more difficult than it is in other countries due to contractual agreements not only with a gym but also with the manager and so on.

Most recently, Japanese boxer Toshiaki Nishioka is considered to be the most successful produced boxer produced by Japan. His success gave him the chance to fight against former World’s number three ranked boxer, Nonito Donaire but lost.

Japanese Boxers

Japanese Boxers

Image from Fight News

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Teiken Boxing Gym

Professional level boxing in Japan follows a slightly different structure than it does in other countries. The Japanese Boxing Commission regulates the sport, setting its rules – however, it is also these rules that prevent the growth of the sport in Japan on an international level.  Under their rules, every professional fighter must contract a manager for them, and must further “belong” to a boxing gym which holds exclusive management rights for a boxer. If two boxers belong to the same gym, they’re not permitted to fight each other in an officially sanctioned match unless one of the fighters changes gyms – meaning that the gyms have a lot of autonomous control over the state of the sport.

A few of the gyms in Japan have reached levels of fame due to producing some of the best boxers to compete nationally – and the Teiken Boxing Gym is one of them. The history of the gym dates back almost 100 years, established back in 1926, and is today a member of the East Japan Boxing Association, which in turn is a branch of the Japan Pro Boxing Association, all regulated by the Japanese Boxing Commission.

Behind the Teiken Boxing Gym is the Teiken Promotions Inc, a company with an impressive international reputation, being responsible for the management, training and promotion of many internationally successful boxers, both Japanese and foreign. The gym has several branches across the Land of the Rising Sun, with its main one being in the country’s capital, Tokyo, its Kagurazaka neighborhood specifically.

One of the most significant problems with boxing in Japan is that most Japanese boxers are not recognized by the internationally important boxing organizations, such as the WBO, WBC or WBA, meaning its fighters cannot compete at all at their sanctioned events – this mainly stems from the somewhat odd set of rules that govern Japan’s boxing scene. However, Teiken Boxing Gym doesn’t have that problem – with its parent company being Teiken Promotions, it is uncommon for them to simply export their promising talent to a western country once the fighter is ready to take on the international stage.

Masao Ohba is a name that fans of the boxing scene might recognize – and is also one of the most important ones in the history of the Teiken Boxing Gym. Ohba was the first to bring an international title to the gym, winning the world title for the flyweight division.

First image by notifight.com

Second image by boxing.com

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Boxing in Japan

When it comes to any sort of fighting, Japan is normally renowned for its variety and highly prolific martial arts. Whether it’s the style of the Samurai, the deadly arts of the Ninja or traditional fighting styles such as Judo or Aikido – Japan is commonly associated with all of them. Boxing, however, is a fighting sport normally attributed to a more western culture, specifically the American one given their extensive advertising of fights and the country’s tendency to produce some of the very best boxers whose name are recognized globally – Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson for example.

Thus it comes as a surprise to many when they’re told that boxing does have quite a history in Japan and is a fairly commonly practiced form of sport. The history of the art is relatively short in Japan when compared to America, but it exists nonetheless. It started in 1854 when US sailors would often compete in sparring matches, which is how boxing was first introduced to Japan. 1896 saw the very first boxing gym opened in Japan and the country saw its first boxers being born.

Professional boxing in Japan is regulated by the JBC, the Japanese Boxing Commission. Under their rules, every professional fighter must contract a manager for them, and must further “belong” to a boxing gym which holds exclusive management rights for a boxer. If two boxers belong to the same gym, they’re not permitted to fight each other in an officially sanctioned match unless one of the fighters changes gyms. This however becomes a lot more difficult than it is in other countries due to contractual agreements not only with a gym but also with the manager and so on.

At the time of writing, Japan has accumulated an impressive overall record of boxers, both male and female. 76 male world champions and 16 female world champions have come out of the country, each winning titles in competitions – which, however, are not internationally recognized as such. The main issue with this is the fact that Japanese fighters tend to be dominant in the lower class weight divisions, especially below welterweight. Additionally, there is a lack of recognition between the JBC and the WBO and IBF, which are the World Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation respectively, both of which are the two dominant international boxing organizations internationally.  They refuse to acknowledge any of Japan’s champions unless they begin to compete amongst each other as well as agreeing to defend their titles against foreigners, which they seem highly unlikely to agree to.

First image by theboxingobserver

Second image by shibainu on Wikipedia