By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Unheralded and JBC unranked ex-amateur novice Rei Nakajima (4-0, no KO), 159.5, surprisingly scored an upset victory by a split decision (77-75 twice for him, 74-78) over ex-OPBF middleweight ruler Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-6-1, 11 KOs), 159, over eight fast rounds on Friday in Tokyo, Japan.
Charlie, the younger brother of former Japanese national 140-pound titlist Valentine Hosokawa, both being from a Nigerian father and a Japanese mother, appeared for the first time—chiefly because of the coronavirus outbreak—since he forfeited his OPBF 160-pound belt to Kazuto Takesako last January.
Nakajima, fourteen years his junior at 22, was formerly an amateur boxer at Tokyo Agricultural University. He once suffered a broken neck bone after an auto accident before his entrance of the university, but made a fine comeback to be Japan’s #3 in the national amateur tournaments. Having failed to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games scheduled this year, Nakajima turned professional under the management of ex-WBA interim 154-poun ruler Nobuhiro Ishida.
In his fourth pro bout, Nakajima, five inches shorter than 5’11” Charlie, displayed busily shifty movement to confuse the taller ex-champ who attempted to outjab the footworker and catch up with him. It was the younger Rei that utilized good left hooks upstairs and downstairs, piling up a little more points than the prohibitive favorite. Nakajima may be worth watching.
It was a show for the fifty-fifth anniversary in commemoration of the late Shigeji Kaneko, former Orient featherweight champ, having established his gym in 1965. Kaneko, Japan’s brightest prospect at that time, participated in an ambitious non-title bout with the then world featherweight titleholder Sandy Saddler only to succumb in the sixth round despite a good performance here in 1955. Shigeji, whose overall mark was 52-10-1, 31 KOs, was one of very few Japanese warriors then world rated by the NBA as well as The Ring Magazine. He unfortunately couldn’t get a world title crack even once despite his four hard-fought victories over future world titlist Flash Elorde in as many encounters. May he rest in peace.
Promoter: Kaneko Promotions.