Tadashi Sawamura

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Tadashi Sawamura
BornHideki Shiraha
(1943-01-05) January 5, 1943 (age 76)
Manchukuo Manchukuo
Native name沢村忠
NationalityJapan Japanese
StyleKickboxing, Karate, Muay Thai
Years active1966–1973
Kickboxing record
By knockout228

Tadashi Sawamura (沢村 忠, Sawamura Tadashi, born January 5, 1943) is a Japanese former kickboxer whose real name is Hideki Shiraha (白羽 秀樹, Shiraha Hideki). He was one of the first popular participants in the sport, and enjoyed great fame throughout his career. He is sometimes credited for sustaining the early boom in the popularity of kickboxing.[1] He has an exceptionally high knockout percentage of 94.60% in combat sports. For comparison, in heavyweight boxing the two highest knockout percentages are 87.76% by Rocky Marciano and 87.23% by Vitali Klitschko. Mike Tyson who became famous for his knockout power retired with a knockout percentage of 75.86%. Sawamura's knockout prowess earned him the nickname "The Demon of Kickboxing".


In 1963 there was a competitive match between leading Japanese and Thai instructors, a karate vs Muay Thai tournament. Japan won the series although two of the Japanese participants Osamu Noguchi and Tatsuo Yamada wanted to create a full-contact sport similar to how Muay Thai is a sport in Thailand, and they started to create kickboxing. Sawamura was a young karate sports student at high-school and university who won numerous school championships and thought he was the best. He asked his hero Noguchi what he thought and Noguchi replied that the sports version of karate doesn't have the training to win in a full-contact fight and that he would lose if he traveled to Thailand to compete in full-contact.[1]

Sawamura went to Thailand to prove he couldn't lose regardless of the rules because he thought himself to have the samurai spirit. He lost the fight against the Thai fighter in round 2 and suffered three broken ribs and needed sixteen months to heal. Disheartened, Sawamura wanted to retrain himself in jujutsu and hold a rematch. Noguchi met with Sawamura while he was healing, and introduced him to Japanese kickboxing. Sawamura decided to retrain in this new martial art under the guidance of Noguchi and won his rematch in Thailand against the fighter who previously knocked him out. He became one of the sport's great champions and would help make it popular world-wide, retiring with over 200 knockouts.[1]


Hideki Shiraha was born in Manchukuo in 1943. He practiced rugby during university.

He debuted as a professional kickboxer on April 11, 1966.

He won Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize in 1973[2]

He retired on October 10, 1977.

He now manages his automobile-related company. He also enjoys teaching karate to children in his free time.


  • 241 total fights
    • 232 wins
    • 5 losses
    • 4 draws


  • Oriental Lightweight champion
  • Oriental Middleweight champion


His exploits were the basis of an anime series called Kick no Oni[3] (which means "The demon of kickboxing", written by Ikki Kajiwara), and he was also a guest on an episode of the series Return of Ultraman as himself.

His anime series also became intensely popular in Brazil during the 70's and early 80's featuring 26 episodes under the name "Sawamu, o Demolidor". In this series, Tadashi Sawamu (Brazilian translation), was an arrogant karate fighter who was defeated by a kickboxer, leaving Sawamu in a mild coma. Once in the hospital and recovering from the coma, his opponent's kickboxing trainer Noguchi, came to his hospital room and convinced Sawamu to become a kickboxer. To which after some rigorous training, he learned a devastating finishing move: "The Jumping Vacuum Knee" (Shinku tobi hiza geri)

The Japanese name for Hitmonlee, a Pokémon character, is Sawamurā, which is a reference to Sawamura.[4]

In Cynthia, a girl embraces a sandbag which was kicked by Tadashi Sawamura.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c [1] Archived August 17, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ [2] Archived February 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "キックの鬼 - TOEI ANIMATION". Toei-anim.co.jp. Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  4. ^ Pikachu's global adventure: the rise ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2004-02-05. ISBN 0822332876. Retrieved 2011-02-21.