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Kenji Yonekura

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kenji Yonekura
米倉 健司[1]
Real nameKenji Yonekura
Japanese: 米倉 健治[1]
Born (1934-05-25) 25 May 1934 (age 85)
Nōgata, Fukuoka, Japan[2]
Boxing record
Total fights24
Wins by KO1

Kenji Yonekura (米倉 健司, Yonekura Kenji, born May 25, 1934) is a retired Japanese boxer who competed at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games in the flyweight division, and is a former two-time world title challenger in the flyweight and bantamweight divisions. Currently he is the president of Yonekura Boxing Gym.

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Amateur career

Yonekura saw the United States Armed Forces' boxing fights in Itazuke Air Base, that was his first encounter with boxing. Yonekura began boxing at the age of a high school student. He was training and sparring with Yoshio Shirai under Alvin Rober Cahn's guidance.[3]

Yonekura won the All-Japan Amateur Boxing Championships in the flyweight division in 1956,[4] and represented Japan at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, while studying at Meiji University.[1] He won on points over Phachon Muangson in the second round match, and lost on points to René Libeer in the quarterfinals. He also participated in the Seattle Golden Gloves in 1957,[2] and compiled an amateur record of 71–7 (19 KOs) before turning professional.[5]

Professional career

Yonekura made his professional debut under his real name Kenji Yonekura, written as 米倉 健治, in an eight-round bout in June 1958. Before his official debut, he made an exhibition match against the Japanese flyweight champion Sadao Yaoita as a welcome bout for the NBA's public relations manager. He was awarded with Japan's Fight of the Year and Technical Award in his debut year. His ring name was changed into 米倉 健志, pronounced the same, during his professional career.[1] He captured the vacant Japanese flyweight title in January 1959.

His first world title shot against Pascual Pérez in the flyweight division, which was postponed three days due to rain,[6] ended in a unanimous decision loss after being knocked down in the second round, in front of 9,000 spectators at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in August 1959.[7] However, as Yonekura had been highly expected to be the winner of it as a former Olympian,[8] its audience rating was 88.0 percent.[9] Yonekura was featured on the front covers of not only boxing-related such as (Japan's) Boxing Gazette, Puroresu & Boxing and Weekly Sports: Fight, but also various magazines such as Weekly Shōnen Magazine, Weekly Yomiuri Sports, Weekly Sankei Sports and Olympic Gahō, as a handsome superstar.[10]

Yonekura moved up in weight division to capture the OPBF bantamweight title in January 1960. In his second world title shot in the bantamweight division in May of that year, he lost to José Becerra via a split decision[11] while being watched by 17,000 spectators at the Korakuen Baseball Stadium.[12][13] From 1960 through 1961, he made an expedition to Mexico and fought four times in Tijuana and Mexico City, but was defeated in all those fights.[13] After defending the OPBF title four times, he lost on points in his fifth defense in October 1962, and hung up his gloves.

Recent activities

After his retirement as a boxer, he opened Yonekura Boxing Gym in Tokyo in 1963, and acts as its president, promoter, manager, and trainer.[13][14] He also served as the president of Japan Pro Boxing Association (JPBA) for three years from 1986 to 1989.[4][13] Yonekura Boxing Gym has so far brought up fifty champions including five world champions i.e. Kuniaki Shibata, Guts Ishimatsu, Shigeo Nakajima, Hideyuki Ohashi and Hiroshi Kawashima.[4] The gym has provided a boxing television program Excite Boxing under the auspices of the TV Asahi on sky-A sports+ etc.[15] In March 1995, Yonekura received the Distinguished Service Award in Sports from the education minister at the time, Kaoru Yosano.[13][16]


  1. ^ a b c d Boxing Magazine editorial department, ed. (March 1, 2004). "米倉健志". 日本プロボクシングチャンピオン大鑑 (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Baseball Magazine Sha Co., Ltd. p. 89. ISBN 978-4-583-03784-4.
  2. ^ a b ヨネクラボクシングジム – ご挨拶 (in Japanese). official website of Yonekura Boxing Gym. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  3. ^ Fitness Sports 2011, p. 79.
  4. ^ a b c Fitness Sports 2011, p. 80.
  5. ^ Baseball Magazine Sha 2002, p. 299.
  6. ^ AP (May 20, 1960). "Bantam Title Bout Postponed". Calgary Herald. p. 15. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  7. ^ UPI (August 10, 1959). "Perez Retains Boxing Title – Flyweight Champ Defeats Jap Ace". The Washington Reporter. p. 12. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  8. ^ Baseball Magazine Sha 2002, p. 81.
  9. ^ Baseball Magazine Sha 2002, p. 291.
  10. ^ Fitness Sports 2011, p. 78.
  11. ^ UPI (May 24, 1960). "Mexican Retains Bantam Crown – 25,000 Tokyo Fans See Favorite Edged". The Gazette. p. 17. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  12. ^ Baseball Magazine Sha 2002, p. 152.
  13. ^ a b c d e Hisao Adachi (November 19, 2008). "¡Miya derrotó al coreano Kyun-jin Son en Japón!" (in Spanish). Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  14. ^ Makoto Maeda (May 2003). 米倉健司というボクサー (in Japanese). World Boxing editorial department. Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  15. ^ Hisao Adachi (January 13, 2010). "Shimada visit to Salinas on Friday in Japan!" (in Spanish). Retrieved September 13, 2011.
  16. ^ Hisao Adachi (May 26, 2010). "Japón: Resultados Cartelera 'Svenson Excite Boxing'" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on March 27, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2011.


  • Boxing Magazine editorial department, ed. (May 31, 2002). 日本プロボクシング史 世界タイトルマッチで見る50年 (Japan Pro Boxing History – 50 Years of World Title Bouts) (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Baseball Magazine Sha Co., Ltd. pp. 81, 152, 299. ISBN 978-4-583-03695-3.
  • Boxing Beat editorial department (June 15, 2011). MACC Publications Inc (ed.). 飯田覚士の直撃トーク 第99回ゲスト 米倉健司さん. Ironman. Boxing Beat (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Fitness Sports Co., Ltd. (special issue): 78–80.

External links

This page was last edited on 1 January 2020, at 05:32
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