Wajima c. 1973
|Real name||Koichi Wajima|
|Nickname(s)||Hono no Otoko (Man on Fire)|
|Rated at||super welterweight|
|Height||5 ft 7 1⁄2 in (171 cm)|
21 April 1943 |
|Wins by KO||25|
Koichi Wajima (輪島 功一, born 21 April 1943) is a retired Japanese professional boxer who competed in the light middleweight (154 lb) division. He is the former Undisputed Light Middleweight Champion of the World, who won both WBC and WBA titles.
Childhood and early career
Wajima was born in Karafuto, (current Sakhalin) which became Soviet territory when Wajima was three years old. He and his family moved to Shibetsu, Hokkaidō, but barely managed to scrape out a living there. Wajima was put up for adoption, and lived with his stepfamily while his parents worked in Shibetsu.
Wajima began to work as a fisherman with his stepfamily. He was still in middle school, but had to work from sunset all the way to daybreak. The only time he had to sleep was during class. He was a fighter from a young age, having to work tirelessly each day, and often picking fights with other kids.
After graduating from middle school, he traveled to Tokyo, where he worked briefly as a truck driver before joining the Misako Boxing Gym. He made his professional debut in March, 1968, at the age of 25.
Wajima captured the Japanese super welterweight title in September, 1969. He defended the title 9 times before returning it. He got his first shot at the world title against Carmelo Bossi for the world super welterweight title on October 31, 1971 in Tokyo. He won by 15-round split decision to capture his first world title. He made his first defense in May, 1972, taking less than 2 minutes to knock out his opponent. He would defend the title a total of 6 times. He quickly became one of the most popular boxers in Japan for his peculiar "Frog Jump" uppercut punch.
He lost his 7th defense to Oscar Albarado in 1974 by KO in the 15th round. He got a rematch with Albarado 7 months later, on January 21, 1975, and managed to avenge his loss with a 15-round decision win to regain the WBC and WBA titles. He was stripped of the WBC title in March, and lost to Jae-Doo Yuh to lose his WBA super welterweight title as well. However, he regained his WBA title in February, 1976, with a 15th round KO over Yuh.
Wajima lost to Jose Manuel Duran in his first defense, losing the world title for the third time in his career. He fought his final match In June, 1977, challenging Eddie Gazo for the WBA super welterweight title, but lost by 11th round KO. This was the last fight of his career. His record was 31-6-1 (25KOs).
Professional boxing record
|31 Wins (25 knockouts, 6 decisions), 6 Losses (5 knockouts, 1 decision), 1 Draw |
|Loss||35-4-2||Eddie Gazo||TKO||11||07/06/1977||Nihon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan||WBA World Light Middleweight Title. Referee stopped the bout at 0:45 of the 11th round.|
|Loss||58-5-9||Jose Manuel Duran||KO||14||18/05/1976||Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan||WBA World Light Middleweight Title. Wajima knocked out at 0:50 of the 14th round.|
|Win||41-1-1||Jae-Doo Yuh||KO||15||17/02/1976||Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan||WBA World Light Middleweight Title. Yuh knocked out at 1:47 of the 15th round.|
|Loss||37-1-1||Jae-Doo Yuh||KO||7||07/06/1975||City Sogo Gym, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan||WBA World Light Middleweight Title. Wajima knocked out at 2:04 of the 7th round.|
|Win||51-6-1||Oscar Albarado||UD||15||21/01/1975||Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. 69-67, 70-69, 75-68.|
|Loss||49-6-1||Oscar Albarado||KO||15||04/06/1974||Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. Wajima knocked out at 1:57 of the 15th round.|
|Win||35-0-1||Miguel De Oliveira||MD||15||05/02/1974||Metropolitan Gym, Tokyo, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. 73-73, 73-70, 74-71.|
|Win||42-2-1||Silvano Bertini||RTD||12||14/08/1973||Makomanai Ice Arena, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. Bertini retired at 3:00 of the 12th round.|
|Win||42-6-2||Ryu Sorimachi||MD||15||19/04/1973||Prefectural Gymnasium, Osaka, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. 71-71, 72-71, 72-71.|
|Draw||30-0||Miguel De Oliveira||PTS||15||09/01/1973||Metropolitan Gym, Tokyo, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. 71-71, 73-71, 71-71.|
|Win||17-8-2||Matt "Art" Donovan||KO||3||03/10/1972||Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. Donovan knocked out at 0:53 of the third round.|
|Win||63-17-7||Domenico Tiberia||KO||1||07/05/1972||Sports Centre, Fukuoka, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. Tiberia knocked out at 1:49 of the first round.|
|Win||22-1-2||Cassius Naito||KO||7||02/02/1972||Metropolitan Gym, Tokyo, Japan||Naito knocked out at 1:30 of the 7th round.|
|Win||40-7-3||Carmelo Bossi||SD||15||31/10/1971||Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan||WBA/WBC World Light Middleweight Titles. 68-67, 72-70, 70-73.|
|Win||12-8-1||Tetsuo Hoshino||KO||2||28/05/1971||Tokyo, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. Hoshino knocked out at 2:41 of the second round.|
|Win||0-9||Alfredo Fuentes||KO||1||26/03/1971||Tokyo, Japan||Fuentes knocked out at 3:08 of the first round.|
|Win||18-3||Hideo Kanazawa||KO||2||18/02/1971||Osaka, Japan||Hideo knocked out at 1:45 of the second round.|
|Win||23-15-5||Hisao Minami||KO||7||08/01/1971||Tokyo, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. Minami knocked out at 2:38 of the 7th round.|
|Win||5-6-2||Raizo Kashima||KO||3||30/10/1970||Tokyo, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. Kashima knocked out at 2:34 of the third round.|
|Win||12-5||Tetsuo Hoshino||KO||5||10/09/1970||Tokyo, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. Hoshino knocked out at 2:12 of the fifth round.|
|Win||21-13-2||Muneo Mizoguchi||KO||8||09/08/1970||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. Muneo knocked out at 2:09 of the eighth round.|
|Win||10-22-1||Ken Sato||KO||3||23/05/1970||Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan||Sato knocked out at 2:31 of the third round.|
|Win||10-6||George "Jimmy" Carter||SD||10||09/04/1970||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. 49-48, 48-47, 48-49.|
|Loss||9-6||George "Jimmy" Carter||UD||10||05/02/1970||Tokyo, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. 46-48, 46-48, 47-49.|
|Win||14-3-4||Turtle Okabe||KO||7||18/12/1969||Tokyo, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. Okabe knocked out at 2:25 of the 7th round.|
|Loss||28-9-5||Pedro Adigue||KO||1||30/10/1969||Tokyo, Japan||Wajima knocked out at 2:21 of the first round.|
|Win||13-10-1||Noriyasu Yoshimura||KO||4||04/09/1969||Nagoya, Aichi, Japan||Japan Light Middleweight Title. Yoshimura knocked out at 1:37 of the fourth round.|
|Win||23-15-6||Rocky Alarde||KO||8||30/07/1969||Tokyo, Japan||Alarde knocked out at 1:28 of the eighth round.|
|Win||12-0||Alacran Kusanagi||KO||9||16/06/1969||Tokyo, Japan||Kusanagi knocked out at 0:21 of the ninth round.|
|Win||2-4||Takemi Kato||KO||6||27/03/1969||Tokyo, Japan||Kato knocked out at 1:00 of the sixth round.|
|Win||--||Masaki Nomoto||PTS||6||03/02/1969||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||--||Masami Takechi||RTD||4||30/12/1968||Tokyo, Japan||Takechi retired at 3:00 of the fourth round.|
|Win||0-3-2||Sozo Yamamoto||KO||1||27/10/1968||Tokyo, Japan||Sozo knocked out at 1:25 of the first round.|
|Win||--||Takao Higa||KO||3||06/10/1968||Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan||Higa knocked out at 1:19 of the third round.|
|Win||--||Tadakazu Sakai||KO||2||31/08/1968||Tokyo, Japan||Sakai knocked out at 1:05 of the second round.|
|Win||--||Toshiaki Kaneko||KO||3||08/08/1968||Tokyo, Japan||Kaneko knocked out at 2:00 of the third round.|
|Win||--||Koji Watanabe||KO||2||30/06/1968||Tokyo, Japan||Koji knocked out at 0:52 of the second round.|
|Win||--||Akira Takekawa||KO||1||15/06/1968||Tokyo, Japan||Akira knocked out at 2:51 of the first round.|
Like many other Japanese boxers, Wajima became a successful television personality after retiring, and has appeared on game shows and television dramas. He became the head of the Eastern Japan Boxing Council, and has founded his own boxing gym in Tokyo. His brother-in-law also runs a successful dumpling store in Kokubunji, Tokyo. He also claims that condemned prisoner Iwao Hakamada is innocent. Hakamada was later released after 45 years in prison, due to new evidence and discovery of the prosecution's reliance on falsified evidence.
- List of WBA world champions
- List of WBC world champions
- List of undisputed boxing champions
- List of The Ring world champions
- List of light-middleweight boxing champions
- "Koichi Wajima". boxrec.com. BoxRec. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "Calls mount for retrial of boxer 38 years on death row". The Japan Times. 2006-11-21. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Koichi Wajima.|
- Professional boxing record for Koichi Wajima from BoxRec
- Koichi Wajima boxing gym official (Japanese)
|World Light Middleweight Champion
31 October 1971 – 4 June 1974
|Undisputed Light Middleweight Champion
21 January 1975 – 22 March 1975
Title next held byWinky Wright
|WBC Light Middleweight Champion
21 January 1975 – 22 March 1975
Title next held byMiguel de Oliveira
|WBA Light Middleweight Champion
21 January 1975 – 7 June 1975
|WBA Light Middleweight Champion
17 February 1976 – 18 May 1976
Jose Manuel Duran