A legendary Japanese-American boxing trainer who has been helping Japanese boxers win major titles for nearly 50 years has been given a special lifetime achievement award by the Japan Pro Boxing Association (JPBA).
Stanley Ito, 87, received the honor on May 19, the 60th anniversary of the day Yoshio Shirai became Japan’s first ever world title holder. Ironically, Ito was training the American boxer whom Shirai defeated in that world flyweight title fight, Salvador "Dado" Marino. In 2010, the JPBA designated May 19 as Boxing Day to commemorate Shirai’s achievement.
Ito, who lives in Hawaii, was appointed by the Japan Amateur Boxing Federation as a special coach for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and trained boxers all over Japan. Many professional Japanese boxers aiming for a world title also traveled to Hawaii to train under Ito.
He was in the corner of several Japanese world title winners.
Yoko Gushiken, who defended his world title for 13 consecutive fights, a Japanese record, had Ito at ringside.
“In my first defense, my left eyelid got cut and started bleeding. Because of Mr. Ito’s efficiency, I was able to fight until the 15th round, which eventually led to my consecutive record,” Gushiken said.
Many of Japan’s current and former world title holders attended the ceremony to show their appreciation and respect for Ito.
Ito, who seemed overjoyed to be reunited with the former world champions, said he was delighted that Japan currently has eight active world champions and praised the quality of Japan’s trainers.
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