Yakuza get ringside seats at Kameda title fight


TOKYO (majirox news) — Kameda Gym was issued with a severe reprimand from the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) after members of a designated crime syndicate had ringside seats Aug. 31 for a double world title fight at the Tokyo Budokan.

Yakuza members were confirmed to have watched the two world title fights at the Budokan, including one bout in which Koki Kameda defended his WBA bantamweight title.

Kameda Gym, which ran the event and is the home gym of the world champion, denied any prior knowledge or involvement with the designated crime syndicate members being in attendance, but has checked ticket records to try and determine how the yakuza members gained the prime seating.

The JBC has, under the guidance of the Metropolitan Police Department, been conducting a campaign against yakuza involvement in boxing since 2007, banning group viewing, ticket sales, distribution of parking tickets and ID passes. The JBC also refused all cash prizes from unauthorized individuals or organizations.

Japan’s sports and entertainment worlds have been rocked by disclosure of organized crime involvement during this year. Apart from the Kameda case, the ancient sport of sumo has been rocked by betting and match-fixing scandals that resulted in the cancellation of a major tournament.

Shinsuke Shimada, once an almost ubiquitous presence on Japanese TV, abruptly retired in August after it was revealed he had ties to underworld figures. The yakuza are long rumored to have strong links in the sports and entertainment worlds.

Also on Oct. 1, a Tokyo Metropolitan Government ordinance cracking down on the yakuza came into effect, giving police powers to monitor those who have regular connections with members of designated crime syndicates.

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