Story and photos by Joe Koizumi
Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and JPBA (Japan Professional Boxing Association; the union of club owners here) celebrated a historic press conference to announce its affiliation with the International Boxing Federation (IBF) on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan. IBF president Daryl Peoples, Championship chairman Lindsey Tucker and Rating chairman Anibal Miramontes were in attendance along with JBC commissioner Yuko Hayashi and JPBA chairman Hideyuki Ohashi. About a month ago we saw a same event where Japan announced to join the World Boxing Organization (WBO) with the president Francisco Paco Valcarcel’s attendance.
The JBC’s affiliation with the WBO and the IBF will be in effect from April 1 (not April Fool), and Japanese boxers will be eligible to fight for any of the four organizations. Previously we had been restricted only for the WBC and the WBA championships by respecting the history and dignity—allegedly for “quality control”. The JPBA, however, received great many requests from our boxing people to make the territory and targets more worldwide, and then officially appealed to the JBC to ask for its recognition of the WBO and the IBF. After deep discussions inside the JBC, our commission finally decided to open the box, if we don’t call it Pandra’s box. Our boxing people will be able to target the two more world championships, which means that we may produce more titlists, and, on the contrary, the rarity value of the world championships will drop accordingly.
The president Peoples said, “We know there are many talented boxers in Japan, and we wish to give them good opportunities to acquire the IBF championships. It’s our great pleasure that we have had Japan as our new member.” Peoples gifted a small IBF belt to the JBC commissioner Hayashi, who may appreciate the weight of the belt and his decision-making.
The championship chairman Tucker mentioned all IBF titleholders such as Wladimir Klitchko, Bernard Hopkins, Carl Froch. It might be attractive for our outstanding boxers especially in smaller divisions to be eligible to fight for two more world championships. We may see IBF or WBO title bouts to be held here in Japan, and our boxers may fight more for world belts abroad, which may be really good for our hungry fighters for fame and fortune. Bon voyage!