Shinji Takehara

Shinji Takehara
Real nameShinji Takehara
Height185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
NationalityJapan Japanese
Born (1972-01-25) January 25, 1972 (age 48)
Fuchū, Hiroshima, Japan
Boxing record
Total fights25
Wins by KO18
No contests0

Shinji Takehara (竹原慎二, Takehara Shinji, born January 25, 1972 in Fuchū, Hiroshima) was a professional boxer in the Middleweight (160lb) division. He was the first boxer from Japan to capture a World Middleweight Title.

Takehara turned pro in 1989 and had a relatively short professional career, spanning only seven years. In 1995 he landed a shot at the WBA Middleweight Title against Jorge Fernando Castro and won by decision. Takehara lost the belt in his only defeat during his first defense to William Joppy in a 9th-round TKO. He was overwhelmed in the first round and appeared unable to determine incoming attacks. Ringside doctors examination discovered Takehara had posterior vitreous detachment which progressed into retinal detachment and subsequently forced him into retirement.[1]

Childhood and early career

Takehara got into numerous street fights during his teens. He briefly played baseball before joining the school judo team. Takehara did not move on to high school, after graduating middle school, he moved to Tokyo in 1988 to start a boxing career. He took numerous part-time jobs while training, including working as a cleaning man at Yokohama Arena, where he would later make his first (and only) title defense of the WBA Middleweight Title.

Professional career

Takehara made his debut on May 15, 1989 with a 4th-round KO victory. He went on to win the Japanese Middleweight Title in 1991, defending it three times. He won the vacant OPBF Middleweight Title in 1993, which he defended six times.

Takehara got a shot against WBA Middleweight Champion Jorge Castro, who had a record of 98-4-2 at the time and had made five title defenses. Takehara went into the fight as a huge underdog, and the match took place in the tiny Korakuen Hall despite being a world title bout. Regardless, Takehara knocked Castro down in the 3rd round, and won by unanimous decision in 12 rounds, becoming the first ever Japanese boxer to win a world middleweight title.

The win against Castro generated huge media hype, and Takehara's title defense took place in Yokohama Arena on June 24, 1996 against William Joppy. Though both fighters were undefeated, Takehara was once again the underdog, and Joppy announced that he would win easily by KO. The fight was a disaster for Takehara, who was knocked down in the 1st, and lost by TKO in the 9th when the referee stopped the fight, giving up the middleweight title in half a year. Takehara himself admitted that he would have been knocked out even if the referee did not stop the fight, and Joppy remarked that he could have knocked out Takehara much earlier if he had wanted.

While preparing for his next fight, Takehara was diagnosed with a detached retina. This forced him to retire from boxing at only 24 years of age. His record was 24-1-0 (18KOs).


Winning a world middleweight title had been regarded as impossible for any Japanese boxer, since the division had featured some of the sports best champions, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Durán, Marvin Hagler, and Thomas Hearns. Though Takehara lost in his first defense, William Joppy remained a top middleweight contender for more than seven years after beating Takehara. Joppy remarked before his fight against Félix Trinidad that Takehara punched the hardest of any of the fighters he had faced. Takehara is now known more for his success after retiring from boxing, but his short career has left an important legacy on Japanese boxing.

Post retirement

Few people knew Takehara as a former world champion, and he had to rely on part-time jobs to maintain a living. After years of mediocre living, Takehara achieved immense popularity in 2000 after appearing on the variety show "Gachinko Fight Club." The show is similar to The Contender in concept, where the lives of aspiring boxers are documented as they go through hard training and life struggles. The show produced 12 professional boxers during its three-year run, and Takehara's role as the tough but fair-minded trainer was central to the show's success, allowing Takehara to pursue further opportunities in the television business. Since then, he has appeared on numerous variety and talk shows, and has even guest-starred in a TV drama series and released a rap CD. Takehara's blog and column in the Yahoo! Japan web magazine enjoy great popularity. IN 2014 he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent treatment that left him in remission since 2015.

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
25 fights 24 wins 1 loss
By knockout 18 1
By decision 6 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
25 Loss 24–1 United States William Joppy TKO 9 (12)
1996–06–24 Japan Yokohama Arena,
Yokohama, Kanagawa
Lost WBA middleweight title
24 Win 24–0 Argentina Jorge Castro UD 12 1995–12–19 Japan Korakuen Hall, Tokyo Won WBA middleweight title
23 Win 23–0 South Korea Lee Shung-Chun PTS 12 1995–09–12 Japan Tokyo Retained OPBF Middleweight title.
22 Win 22–0 South Korea Park Young-Ki KO 1 (12) 1995–04–17 Japan Tokyo Retained OPBF Middleweight title.
21 Win 21–0 Australia Craig Trotter KO 7 (12) 1994–12–19 Japan Tokyo Retained OPBF Middleweight title.
20 Win 20–0 South Korea Lee Hyun-Sik PTS 12 1994–09–18 Japan Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo Retained OPBF Middleweight title.
19 Win 19–0 Australia Alex Tui KO 7 (12) 1994–06–12 Japan Hiroshima, Hiroshima Retained OPBF Middleweight title.
18 Win 18–0 Philippines Noli de Guia KO 1 (?)
1994–02–21 Japan Tokyo
17 Win 17–0 Indonesia Nico Toriri KO 6 (12) 1993–11–22 Japan Tokyo Retained OPBF Middleweight title.
16 Win 16–0 South Korea Lee Sung-Chun KO 12 1993–05–24
Japan Tokyo Won vacant OPBF Middleweight title.
15 Win 15–0 Japan Satoshi Yokozaki KO 5 (10) 1993–02–15 Japan Tokyo Retained Japanese Middleweight title.
14 Win 14–0 Ghana Biney Martin UD 10 1992–08–17 Japan Tokyo Retained Japanese Middleweight title.
13 Win 13–0 Japan Yoshinori Nishizawa PTS 10 1992–05–17 Japan Tokyo Retained Japanese Middleweight title.
12 Win 12–0 Japan Hisashi Teraji KO 2 (10)
1992–02–17 Japan Tokyo Retained Japanese Middleweight title.
11 Win 11–0 Japan Takehito Saijo KO 7 (10) 1991–10–28 Japan Tokyo Won Japanese Middleweight title.
10 Win 10–0 Japan Jiro Kashiwara KO 4 (?) 1991–07–15 Japan Tokyo
9 Win 9–0 Japan Tomoo Suzuki KO 1 (?) 1991–02–18 Japan Tokyo
8 Win 8–0 South Korea Park Keon-Soo KO 1 (?) 1990–11–26 Japan Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
7 Win 7–0 Japan Satoshi Yokozaki KO 10 1990–07–30 Japan Tokyo
6 Win 6–0 Japan Haruhisa Tokuda KO 2 (?) 1990–02–18 Japan Osaka, Osaka
5 Win 5–0 Ghana Biney Martin PTS 6 1989–12–23 Japan Tokyo
4 Win 4–0 Japan Yoshihiro Kitada KO 1 (?) 1989–11–10 Japan Tokyo
3 Win 3–0 Japan Kiyoshi Hirayama KO 1 (?) 1989–09–18 Japan Tokyo
2 Win 2–0 Japan Kiyoshi Hirayama KO 2 (?) 1989–07–17 Japan Tokyo
1 Win 1–0 Japan Masao Tadano KO 4 (?) 1989–05–15 Japan Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

See also


  1. ^ 日本プロボクシング史 世界タイトルマッチで見る50年. BBM Japan. 2002. ISBN 4-583-03695-7.

External links

Preceded by
Jorge Castro
WBA Middleweight Champion
19 Dec 1995–24 Jun 1996
Succeeded by
William Joppy

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