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Former kickboxing star Tadashi Sawamura, who dominated the martial art in the 1960s and 1970s under the nickname “The Demon of Kickboxing,” died of illness on March 26. He was 78.

Sawamura, whose real name was Hideki Shiraha, was born in Manchuria, now a northeastern part of China.

He practiced karate from his childhood and later started a career in kickboxing.

In televised matches, Sawamura knocked out many opponents with his signature jumping knee kick and gained enormous popularity.

Half of his life was featured in the television anime “The Demon of Kickboxing,” and the title of the program became his nickname.

In 1973, Sawamura received the grand prize of the Japan Pro Sports Awards.

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