When and why you started boxing:
When I was a child, I wanted to be a football player, but after graduating from high school I was severely injured in a motorcycle accident – I couldn’t move for two weeks. I went to a boxing gym for rehab and I’ve been hooked on the sport ever since.
Favourite all-time fighter:
Roy Jones Jnr is the fighter that I’ve always admired, especially for his sharp punches and exceptional hand speed and reflexes.
Best fight you’ve seen:
Roy Jones Jnr vs Vinny Pazienza. I respect both boxers, but the amazing skills that Roy demonstrated were godlike.
Personal career highlight:
It’s been 24 years since I first started boxing at the age of 19. Even though I’m a veteran now, I still have the capacity to fight at world level at 43 years old. I’ve become stronger mentally through hard work and gaining victories.
I’m not a fan of fighting out-boxers, but I can still beat them.
Best and worst attributes as a boxer:
As a boxer, training physically and mentally has helped me to think positively. However, there’s a lot of delicious food in Japan, so sometimes the dietary restrictions are hard when I’m making weight!
Training is tough but you should never think about compromising. Instead, you should clarify your goals and push your limits.
I often eat Chinese dumplings at Gyoza no Ohsho, which is quite popular in Japan.
Best friends in boxing:
I have many friends in boxing, but I mostly eat out with friends from the same Kansai region.
Other sportsperson you would like to be:
I’d probably choose a martial art.
Last film/TV show you saw:
It was the Joker film. Joaquin Phoenix’s acting is top-notch.
Who would play you in a film of your life:
I’d ask Takehara Pistol (Kazuo Takehara), as we’re a similar age and we look alike. He’s a diverse Japanese artist who’s a singer and an actor.
Have you ever been starstruck:
I experienced an intense feeling of joy when I became the Japanese champion for the first time.
Last time you cried:
It was extremely painful when my father died in 2008, as he’d always supported me. Before every fight, I make sure that I have a picture of him with me in my dressing room.
Best advice received:
Daisaku Ikeda, my life mentor, said to ‘fight cheerfully’. It’s engraved deep in my heart.
Worst rumour about yourself:
I concentrate on boxing rather than focusing on rumours.
Something not many people know about you:
I love Kawasaki motorcycles and I like to go touring on them.