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Posted: 2006-08-17 09:35:05
Old-school Japanese Kickboxing

From 1966 to the early 1980's, the Japanese were constantly experimenting and improving their rendition of stand-up striking known as Kickboxing. During that time, the Japanese suffered losses against Nak Muays, but learned from their encounters in order to become serious opposition against Thailand. Toshio Fujiwara has been one of the most prolific fighters to be internationally recognized by Muay Thai/Kickboxing fans, and he was the first farang champion of a stadium title to boot. Mitsuo Shima was another notable kickboxer that fought and won over many Nak Muays before his shin broke.
However, what about the other lesser known fighters?
Yasuo Tabata I recall challenged and lost to Fred Royers for the WKA middleweight title. Genshu Igari was a busy fighter, and he was able to KO several Thai champions. Kunimatsu Okao retired undefeated in the super-lightweight class, but loss in a comeback against Benny Urquidez.
Can anyone fill in about other Japanese fighters during this period?
Another thing, in the interim period from the early 1980's (at the time when Kickboxing was in a scandal for being involved with the yakuza) and 1993 (when K-1 appeared), how was the Japanese Kickboxing scene at that time? I've seen some Japanese fighters wear full-contact pants (something that surprised me) and it seemed that they sometimes banned the use of the elbow while other times I've noticed they use hip throws in their bouts. Were there any significant Japanese fighters that went overseas to Thailand, the Netherlands, etc. to compete?

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