By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Boxing Beat
During this reporter’s absence in Japan while covering Evander Holyfied’s eight-man tournament in Louisville, KY last Friday, there happened some serious and significant incidents in Japan. The Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) announced on April 25 that it indefinitely suspended former WBC flyweight champion Daigo Higa for his overweight scandal of having tripped the scale at 114, two pounds over the class limit.
It means the JBC won’t allow Higa to fight inside of Japan until the JBC lifting the said indefinite suspension on him. Higa was the very first that ever failed to make weight in world title bouts in Japanese boxing history. The JBC also had 20% of his purse forfeited as penalty, and gave official warnings to his manager Yoko Gushiken (ex-WBA 108-pound champ who had defended his belt on thirteen occasions) and his trainer Joji Nogi. The JBC advised that Higa should move up to a higher division upon being released from suspension.
Last time when the JBC announced the overweight ex-WBC bantamweight champion Luis Nery’s indefinite suspension in Japan, it gave severe warning to Guillermo Brito, Nery’s representative of Zanfer Promotions, as well as Teiken Promotions for its supervisory responsibility (although the promoter was a victim of Nery’s unexpected overweight scandal). The JBC, this time, didn’t issue such a warning to the promoter again.
Gushiken announced his apology in a written form, “Our boxer Daigo Higa this time committed a disgraceful overweight incident, which we deeply reflect on. Higa was hospitalized for a medical checkup after the bout, but discharged from hospital afterwards. We sincerely accept the JBC’s punishment and seriously take on health control of our boxers. We hereby apologize for the dishonorable incident that Higa committed.”
The similar overweight incidents recently happened in ex-WBC bantamweight champ Luis Nery and Higa in succession—both in Japan. The WBC as well as other sanctioning bodies must establish the guideline/procedure upon such an overweight case happening as follows:
(1) the overweight boxer should make his final scaling in two hours since his failure to make weight (some boxers say No Mas),
(2) second weigh-in with the mutually agreed upper limit on the next day should take place to avoid the overweight boxer’s drastic rebound on weight at the fight time,
(3) stipulated/ruled penalty out of the purse in case of his overweight,
(4) the supervisor or the local commission staff should watch the processing of the overweight boxer’s reduction of weight after his first failure (lately, some boxers haven’t seriously reduced weight in order to fight and win on the next day),
(5) length of suspension depending on the quantity of overweight. Our boxing rules have serious defects in regulating the overweight procedure, which should be discussed on the earliest possible opportunities such as in forthcoming conventions.