By Joe Koizumi
Ex-OPBF flyweight champ and ex-world challenger Noriyuki Komatsu (24-6-6, 10 KOs), 29, was drowned in a cascade on Monday in Otsu, Japan. Scheduled to meet once-beaten Daiki Kameda in Tokyo on May 13, Komatsu went there for a training camp along with his trainer and stablemates. He wished to strengthen his fighting spirit by practicing Zen in a temple in Kyoto (an ancient capital of Japan). As he heard there’s a cascade named Sannotaki, he climbed up a mountain in order to stand under a waterfall. He then probably slipped down a steep cliff and was drowned in the basin of the cascade.
Westerners may wonder why the boxer attempted to stand under a waterfall, but it was a very traditional “spiritual” training here as previously practiced in kenjutsu (Japanese fencing), jujitsu (predecessor of judo), karate and other martial arts. The samurai (brave warrior) believed that he should mentally and spiritually become stronger by enduring pressure and coldness of a waterfall. It is obviously against the modern scientific training of today, and thus killed a young athlete.
Komatsu, a busy-punching boxer-puncher, used to be a good prospect, winning the OPBF flyweight belt in 2002 to retain it on five occasions to his credit. He had been unbeaten in his first seven years as professional, though, with five draws. The Japanese had an ambitious crack at the WBC 112-pound belt against formidable Thailander Pongsaklek Wongjongkam only to be annihilated in five lopsided rounds in 2005. Komatsu, still active though in the twilight of his career, was well-known as a tremendous ticket-seller since great many adherents and friends always came to see him fight wherever he fought. May his soul rest in peace.