It’s always nice to see a fighter go out on top.
WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Hozumi Hasegawa hung up the gloves earlier today, ending a highly-successful seventeen-year career that saw him win titles at 118, 122, and 126 pounds.
His standout countrymen had nothing but support for him.
Current bantamweight champ Shinsuke Yamanaka, a 34-year-old who defended the title for the 11th time in a world title doubleheader with Hasegawa in September, thanked his retiring compatriot.
"I became strong thanks to Hasegawa," he said. "I can continue being champion as he is the one who had this belt before, and because he kept fighting even when he was having a tough time. Hugging him in the ring after his final bout is my best memory."
Former WBA super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama, who saw his run of title defenses come to an end at 11 in October, lauded the way in which Hasegawa bowed out.
"Fighting one final time in a way that moves people is a cool way to draw the curtain," said the 37-year-old. "I’m older than him but I respected him as my senior world champion and would like to send my appreciation."
Hasegawa (36-5, 16 KO) dominated the bantamweight division for the latter half of the aughts, defeating Veeraphol Sahaprom for the WBC title in 2005 and defending it ten times before running into Fernando Montiel in 2010. He won the WBC featherweight belt one fight later with a decision over Juan Carlos Burgos, but lost it to Jhonny Gonzalez in his first defense.
He finally filled the gap between his titles this past September by forcing WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Hugo Ruiz to quit after nine.
Respect to Hasegawa as a great fighter. I wish him nothing but the best in whatever he decides to pursue.