By Joe Koizumi
Today, May 19, is the Boxing Day in Japan. We make it a rule to celebrate and remember the birth of our first world champion in Yoshio Shirai who brilliantly dethroned Hawaii’s Dado Marino to become the new world flyweight champion at the Korakuen Stadium in Tokyo on May 19, 1952. Shirai successfully retained his undisputed belt on four occasions to his credit before he forfeited it to Argentine Pascual Perez via fifteen-round decision in 1954.
He became a popular television commentator, and later honorably presided Shirai Gushiken Boxing Gym. Shirai passed away at the age of eighty in December 2003. We still greatly respect Shirai’s very first achievement that paved the way for the younger aspirants to follow his footstep.