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Gushiken awaits International Boxing Hall of Fame induction

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Okinawan native Yoko Gushiken, the WBA light flyweight champion from 1976-81, is among the luminaries scheduled for enshrinement on Sunday at the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, New York.

Other inductees for the 2015 Hall of Class are boxers Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Riddick Bowe and “Prince” Naseem Hamed, as well as broadcaster Jim Lampley, who was HBO’s ringside play-by-play announcer for the Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson fight on Feb. 11, 1990, at Tokyo Dome; journalist Nigel Collins, a former Ring Magazine editor-in-chief; and Rafael Mendoza, a manager and booking agent who teamed up with noteworthy trainers, including the legendary Eddie Futch, Amilcar Brusa and Nacho Beristain over the years.

Gushiken, who turns 60 on June 26, had a 23-1 record (15 knockouts) during his pro career before hanging up his gloves in 1981. A southpaw, Gushiken received the moniker “Fierce Eagle,” an apt description of his fighting style.

Born in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, Gushiken captured the WBA light flyweight championship belt on Oct. 10, 1976, with a seventh-round KO of Dominican champion Juan Antonio Guzman in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture. Gushiken made 13 successful title defenses before losing his belt when Mexican challenger Pedro Flores knocked him out in the 12th round in Gushikawa, Okinawa Prefecture, on March 8, 1981. That was Gushiken’s last pro bout.

An estimated 40 former boxing stars, a who’s who of pugilistic heroes, including Jake “The Raging Bull” LaMotta, Michael Spinks, Aaron Pryor and Nino Benvenuti were expected to participate in this weekend’s festivities.