Some of the least well known names in the sport have the most amazing or tragic stories in the whole of sport. Here we are going to look at the little known Japanese fighter Iwao Hakamada (16-10-2, 1) who fought professionally form 1959 to 1961 but yet has had most of his life stolen from him along with his dignity and his mind. In fact Iwao has been all but forgotten by the boxing community despite being a fighter that genuinely needs the support of all of us.

Hakamada, born in 1937 made his professional debut in November 1959 and scored a decision win over Yutaka Kawaguchi. Swiftly however his record started to falter and by the middle of February 1960 he had fallen to 4-4-1 as a professional. Hakamada would bounce back well as he went on an 11 fight unbeaten streak and advanced his record to 14-4-2 sadly he would then lose 6 of his following 8 bouts before hanging up the glove.

It's not Hakamada's boxing career however that we are wanting to look at, instead it's his life since the mid 1960's which we are going to concentrating on.

In 1966 Hakamada was arrested for the murder of 4 people just 2 years later he was sentenced to death by the Shizuoka District Court. Although he appealed the decision the Japanese Supreme Court upheld the original decision in 1980 and sadly Hakamada has remained on death row since then. Despite the rulings of both the District Court and the Supreme Court there has been a lot of doubt cast on the guilty verdicts held against Hakamada and as a result no death warrant has been signed. Sadly this hasn't stopped Hakamada being kept in solitary confinement for over 40 year, thought to be the longest of any Death Row inmate. Hakamada's family have been trying to fight his case but sadly they've had little success so far.

Despite not being well known by boxing fans Hakamada has seen his case getting some international coverage by the media thanks to Amnesty International (who have a campaign running for Hakamada to have justice, this campaign can be found here). There has also been a Japanese Movie released on his story called "Box: Hakamada Case" that looks at the case.

    The outside lives

    We all know that not everyone in the sport makes a name for themselves in the ring but what of those who become well known for the lives they lived outside of the ropes?


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    All Rounder
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