PictureCourtesy of boxrec.com
In the Simpson's episode "The harder they fall" the Simpson patriarch, Homer, takes up boxing after it's discovered that he can really take a good beating with out falling over. When taken to the doctors it's later found that Homer has an abnormally large layer of fluid around his brain. It seemed like a funny idea and a cool way for the the Simpson's team to get in a Don King and Mike Tyson style characters. What I didn't expect however was for one of my favourite fighters to actually have something similar.

Japanese boxer Ryota Murata (2-0, 2) was found, in a CT scan to have a skull that is 1.5 times thicker than usual. Whilst Murata has skills to back up his "abnormal skull" it's still an interesting case of real life mimicking comedy.

As with Homer Murata has shown and impressive chin and a solid ability to take a puncher, as he displayed through his amateur career. From where I'm sat however I'm hoping he'll go on to claim a world title, something Homer failed to do losing to the Mike Tyson styled "
Drederick Tatum".

 
 
Picturehttp://www.kimaguren.com/
One of the strangest boxing stories of the last week is up there with oddest sports stories of the last week.

A Japanese pop singer will give up the microphone and instead take to the boxing ring in a professional boxing contest.

Whilst Japanese pop group Kimaguren aren't a world wide name in terms of music they are a pretty big name in Japanese music. The two-piece, which features KUREI (on the left of the picture) and ISEKI (on the right), have released several chart hits, though now KUREI (real name Yuki Clay) will be looking to land hits in the ring.

Scheduled to make his debut on November 29th Clay will be facing a fully trained fighter in what is likely to make a number of Japanese girls worry about the well being of their singing idol.

I'll admit I'm that Clay wins and then calls out Justin Beiber. Though saying that I'm probably in the minority.

For those wondering about the music of Kimaguren there is a song of there's below. I'll admit they aren't great but there is something infectious about them.

Video courtesy of Yoru13

 
 
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Sometimes you need to be weary of who you are trying to rob, just ask Gregory McCalium and you might find out, that is if McCalium can speak right now.

The 23 year old McCalium was left looking like he had been in a bar brawl in 2012 after trying to burgle from the house of 72-year old former amateur boxer Frank Corti.

Corti managed to teach the youngster a nasty lesson by connecting with two punches that left Corti with a badly blackened eye and a seriously messed up lip. The injuries were said to have been what he "deserved" according to Oxford Crown Court, though I dare say that Mr Corti deserved a least 1 more punch in the face.

 
 
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In 2004 Worapoj Petchkoom was a Thai national hero having claimed an Olympic Silver medal. Although he was clearly beaten in the final his loss was no shame having come to one of the greatest of all time in Guillermo Rigondeaux.

Over the following few years he had claimed various other titles including 2 Gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games (putting him on to 4 medals in the competition) and fought at both the 2007 World Amateur Champions and the 2008 Olympics.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the Thai's boxing but in 2009 he suffered a 3 month ban (denying him of a 5th successive Southeast Asian Games Gold medal) due to the fact he had "tarnished the reputation of professional athletes".

How had Worapoj tarnished the reputation of athletes? Well he'd been photographed and interviewed for gay lifestyle magazine "STAGE" (the cover of which can be seen above).

Despite the pictures not being obscene or indecent he was still forced to serve the ban by the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (ABAT) in what may be one of the gayest reasons for a ban in history (see what I did there?).

 
 
Late last year Puerto Rican fighter Orlando Cruz (19-2-1, 9) came out as being openly gay. His coming out made not only the boxing news but was mentioned across the sporting world and was seen as a major step forward for gay competitors in sport.

Whilst Cruz coming out was big news, it's often forgotten that he wasn't the first gay man in the boxing world. In fact it's actually hard to know who was the first though one man who came out before Cruz was Canadian Olympic medalist Mark Leduc.

Leduc, who won an Olympic Silver medal in 1992 (losing in the Light Welterweight final to Cuban Héctor Vinent) was a stand out amateur compiling a hugely impressive record of 158-26 in the unpaid ranks. Included in his amateur record were victories over Shannan Taylor, Fitzroy Vanderpool, Robert McCracken, Héctor Vinent, Howard Grant and Leonard Doroftei (Leonard Dorin).

After his solid amateur career Ludec would turn professional and make his debut in November 1992 stopping Jeff Williams. He would swiftly add 3 more victories to his record and claim the Canada - Professional Boxing Council Light Welterweight title as he moved to 4-0 by mid April 1993.

After winning his first 4 bouts as a professional Ludec would fight just once more losing a close split decision to Michel Galarneau for the Canadian Light Welterweight title bout. Following the loss Ludec (4-1, 2) retired from the sport aged 31.

Less than year after retiring from the sport Ludec came out as being gay on a documentary and was later featured on a radio show talking about his homosexuality and later working with AIDS charities.

In 2009, aged just 47 Ldeuc was found dead in a hotel's sauna, not living to see Cruz come out as gay whilst the Puerto Rican was still competing.
 
 
Reid, pictured right
Last weekend many British boxing will have seen once beaten Kenny Anderson (18-1, 13) defeat former world champion Robin Reid (42-8-1, 29) though what many may now know about Reid is that the "Grim Reaper" was once "Randy Robin".

Robin Reid's professional career started around 20 years ago following a very successful amateur career. As an amateur Reid had claimed not only an Olympic medal (Bronze in 1992) but had also come runner up in the Junior World Championships (1989) and had also won the Canada Cup (1992).

Following his amateur success Reid turned professional and debuted in 1993 as a very good looking guy (I'm not scared of my sexuality dammit!)

In 1996 Reid would go on to claim the WBC Super Middleweight title, a belt he would defend 3 times before suffering his first career loss (a decision loss to Thulani Malinga). Sadly for Reid his career started to suffer after than with losses to both Joe Calzaghe (in a WBO Super Middleweight title bout) and Italian Silvio Branco.

Despite suffering 3 losses in close succession Reid continued to fight on and in 2003 earned a chance at both the WBA and IBF world titles against controversial German Sven Ottke. Sadly against Ottke, Reid was fighting the referee almost as much as the crafty German and would sadly lose a very highly debated decision. Since then Reid has only managed to fight once for a world title, losing a 7th round TKO to Jeff Lacy in 2005. Despite the loss to Lacy, Reid has continued to box, on and off at a lower level including twice losing bouts for the British super middleweight title (including one to Carl Froch, as well as the previously mentioned Anderson bout).

So with everyone now knowing about Robin Reid's boxing career...lets look at the other side of Robin Reid, the side that made good use of his handsome looks.

As well as knowing his way around the ring, Reid also knew his way around the catwalk as he did some part time modelling. This was of course different to what you'd expect to see from a boxer, however with Reid's smouldering looks there was little doubt that he could have done modeling instead of boxing.

The story of Reid's modeling takes a twist however when you read that he did some pornographic stills, yes I know it's a hard (haha) story to believe. These were taken sometime after the fight with Calzaghe but before the Lacy fight (presumably in 2004 or 2005) and featured in an obscure magazine.

Incidentally several years after the porn shoot Reid was featured in the movie "Killer Bitch" (which also featured MMA fighter Alex Reid), a movie that featured more than it's fair share of sexual content and was described as pornographic it's self.

 
 
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Yesterday I looked at former England cricket captain Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff who appears to have set his eyes on to the world of professional boxing. I thought I'd follow that up with an even weirder multi-sport story, that of American Eddie Eagan.

Eddie was born into a relatively poor family in 1897 though though was a determined and driven man. Not only did he study law at both Havard and Oxford but he also went on to become a lawyer, a colonel and the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission.

Of course with this site being "www.WeirdBoxing.info" his story obviously has something to do with boxing, in fact it was in boxing that Eagan first become a global name.

Having won a Boxing AAU title in 1919 Eagan would then go on to compete, in the Light Heavyweight division at 1920 at the Antwerp Olympics. After victories against Thomas Holdstock (South Africa) and Harold Franks (Great Britain) Eagan would find himself in the Olympic final opposite Norwegian Sverre Sørsdal. Eagan would manage to defeat Sørsdal for the Gold medal and his first, of two major international sporting medals.

Despite continuing to box, and claiming a British ABA title in 1923 Eagan couldn't replicate his success at the 1924 Olympics where he was beaten in the the opening round of the Heavyweight division by Arthur Clifton (Great Britain).

The 1924 Olympics were to be the last ones that Eagan would compete in as a boxer, though 8 years later Eagan resurfaced on the international sporting stage.

In 1932 the USA had sent 2 separate Four-Man Bobsleigh teams to the Winter Olympics held at Lake Placid with one of those teams, the one lead by Billy Fiske, also featuring Eddie Eagan. Eagan's team (which also contained English song writer and actor Clifford Grey) would go on to earn the Gold medal.

The Gold medal at the 1932 Winter Olympics saw Eagan not only becoming one of the few people to capture medals at both the Winter and Summer games, but the only man to capture Gold in different events at the two separate games.

Following his Bobsleigh medal Eagan went on to serve in World War 2 and became, as said previously a lawyer and the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission prior to his death, aged 70 in 1967.

Note-The only other person to collect Golds at both Summer and Winter games was Gillis Grafström, who won Figure Skating gold at the 1920 Summer Olympics and the same event at the 1924 and 1928 Winter Olympics.

 
 
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For this website I read about a lot of weird and wonderful things to do with the world of professional boxing, this however shocked even me. Former England International Cricket player Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff is to become a boxer.

Yes for those who thought misread that, Freddie Flintoff loos set to become a professional boxer.

Whilst competitors in others sports have managed to turn their hand to boxing successfully, notable Anthony "The Man" Mudine, they usually do it early in their career. Flintoff however is 34 years old and was forced to retire from his original sport after a series of injuries effectively cut his playing time down at the top level.

A well liked, and hugely respected competitor Flintoff was known for both his big hitting (which he will need in the ring), his fast bowling and his relentless dive to succeed. He will need to show this same drive to not only get in to shape for boxing (having not been in top level sport for over 2 years) but also to get a professional boxing license from the British Boxing Board of Control.

In the build up to Flintoff's professional debut Sky in the UK are going to show a 2-part documentary showing the trials and tribulations of Flintoff's transformation as former world champion Barry MacGuigan takes the 6'4" former all rounder under his wing.

Whether Flintoff manages to get far in the ring or not is something we will have to watch to find out about, however it will certainly be fun to see how the man, famous for the "Pedalo Incident" will get with the gloves on.

 
 
Some of the least well known names in the sport have the most amazing or tragic stories in the whole of sport. Here we are going to look at the little known Japanese fighter Iwao Hakamada (16-10-2, 1) who fought professionally form 1959 to 1961 but yet has had most of his life stolen from him along with his dignity and his mind. In fact Iwao has been all but forgotten by the boxing community despite being a fighter that genuinely needs the support of all of us.

Hakamada, born in 1937 made his professional debut in November 1959 and scored a decision win over Yutaka Kawaguchi. Swiftly however his record started to falter and by the middle of February 1960 he had fallen to 4-4-1 as a professional. Hakamada would bounce back well as he went on an 11 fight unbeaten streak and advanced his record to 14-4-2 sadly he would then lose 6 of his following 8 bouts before hanging up the glove.

It's not Hakamada's boxing career however that we are wanting to look at, instead it's his life since the mid 1960's which we are going to concentrating on.

In 1966 Hakamada was arrested for the murder of 4 people just 2 years later he was sentenced to death by the Shizuoka District Court. Although he appealed the decision the Japanese Supreme Court upheld the original decision in 1980 and sadly Hakamada has remained on death row since then. Despite the rulings of both the District Court and the Supreme Court there has been a lot of doubt cast on the guilty verdicts held against Hakamada and as a result no death warrant has been signed. Sadly this hasn't stopped Hakamada being kept in solitary confinement for over 40 year, thought to be the longest of any Death Row inmate. Hakamada's family have been trying to fight his case but sadly they've had little success so far.

Despite not being well known by boxing fans Hakamada has seen his case getting some international coverage by the media thanks to Amnesty International (who have a campaign running for Hakamada to have justice, this campaign can be found here). There has also been a Japanese Movie released on his story called "Box: Hakamada Case" that looks at the case.
 
 
Picture thanks to Wikimedia Commons
FBI picture of Vicent Gigante
Despite the shady nature of professional boxing not many former fighters have reached the weird heights of being a Mafia leader though that's exactly what former Light Heavyweight Vincent Gigante (21-4,1) manages to do prior his death in 2005, aged 77. In fact the entire story of Vicent “Chin” Gigante is nothing less than a story made for a Hollywood screen writer.

Aged 16 the young Vicent started on his short lived dream of being a professional boxer, although his career started with a loss he soon get into the swing of things and managed to amount a respectable 21-3 record before facing Jimmy Slade. Slade would stop Gigante in the 7th round as a result of cuts and spell the end of Gigante's professional boxing career. Aged just 19 Gigante waved good bye to boxing and became ever more involved in the Genovese crime family.

In the 1950's Gigante's involvement with the Genovese family became more and more sinister. What started off as a bit of illegal gambling and Auto-Theft soon became attempted murder as Gigante was ordered to shoot Frank Costello. Thankfully for Gigante Costello refused to identify him and he was acquitted for the attempted murder the following year.

Gigante's involvement would continue to get more and more serious and by the early 1980's he had become the boss of the Genovese family. As the boss Gigante would often be found wondering around in his pyjama's in the park which saw him dubbed “The Oddfather” as he tried to give off the impression that he was mentally ill. This act as well as his “paranoid” allowed Gigante to run the families business with out too many issues until 1990, when he was finally arrested for racketeering and murder. During his reign at the top Gigant would rarely leave the house empty and rarely make phone calls instead using a messenger to give his orders out.

Despite being arrested in 1990 it took years before they could eventually try Gigante who's act of being mentally ill continued despite his arrest. This was helped further with witnesses testifying that Gigante was in no fit state to be tried with his own family coming forward and claiming he had an IQ in the high 60's and wouldn't know how to run a Mafia family. In fact so good was Gigante's acting that psychiatrists had claimed he had been insane since the the 1960's, it wasn't until a trial in 2003 that Gigante actually admitted that he had been feigning his mental illness. Soon after coming clean about his mental health Gigante's psychical health started to decline and in 2005, aged 77 Gigante passed away.

Whilst his boxing career was short and somewhat underwhelming, it's hard not view Vincent Gigante as one of the most weird and wonderful stories that boxing has had it's hand in. A whirlwind 3 year boxing career followed by a climb to the top of one of the biggest Mafia Families.

Picture courtesy of the FBI.