Jofre-Harada Encounter Remembered

Harada Upsets Jofre

By Joe Koizumi

Might 18 is the memorial day {that a} miracle occurred right here in Japan in 1965 as big underdog Masahiko “Combating” Harada upset beforehand unbeaten “Golden Bantam” Eder Jofre to wrest the undisputed world bantamweight belt in Nagoya. It was fifty-seven years in the past however this reporter, then an eighteen-year-old boxing-addict who already started writing for The Ring Journal as a correspondent guided by the editor Nat Fleischer a 12 months earlier, nonetheless remembers all the pieces intimately on the historic occasion. I wish to write an untold story thereon.

Initially scheduled on April 7, Jofre claimed he was sick and requested for a postponement. The Brazilian hero, nonetheless, attended an award-giving ceremony in New York in April, with out preserving quiet for remedy in Brazil. It’s mentioned Jofre merely didn’t just like the Japan’s local weather of early spring (normally nonetheless cool), so the occasion was finally delay by some forty days till Might 18—by Jofre’s request.

The Japanese challenger Harada, ultimately of February that 12 months, sustained a proper leg ache within the coaching camp in Shimoda, and couldn’t even jog for weeks. The postponement requested by Jofre luckily helped Harada, who may get better nicely and make himself in fine condition on the level of the rescheduled battle.

Earlier than their encounter, there occurred a scorching argument on the gloves for use. The native promoter in Nagoya ready solely gloves made in Japan, however Jofre didn’t like them and his supervisor Abraham Katzenelson demanded Everlast or Reyes gloves because the champion’s privilege. In conclusion, they couldn’t put together them in time, and Jofre lastly accepted Japanese gloves getting used for the title bout.

There was a “Third Man” behind the scene who took an vital function within the upset occurring. It was Jose Medel, a perennial prime contender out of Mexico. Medel, a razor-sharp counterpuncher, scored a powerful sixth-round TKO victory over Harada, dropping him repeatedly in September 1963. Quite the opposite, Jofre decked a few knockout victories over Medel twice in 1960 and in 1962. Given Medel as a foundation for comparability, Jofre was by far superior to Harada, as everybody would possibly admit.

Edel Jofre (then 47-0-3, 37 KOs) had scored, earlier than he confronted Harada, all eight profitable defenses by knockout and sixteen KO victories in a row to his credit score. Harada (then 38-3, 18 KOs) was previously world flyweight champ who moved as much as the 118-pound class since two years earlier than. Jofre as soon as got here to Japan to totally show his energy punching and wonderful expertise in dispatching Orient titlist Katsutoshi Aoki in three gorgeous rounds two years earlier than in April 1963. Jofre was a prohibitive favourite, whereas Harada was an apparent underdog sentimentally supported by our partisan aficionados.

The dramatic fourth spherical witnessed Harada’s proper uppercut explode and have the champ staggering to the ropes, the place the Japanese challenger one-sidedly rained a flurry of punches to the peek-a-boo stylist Eder. However the Golden Bantam, in spherical 5, battered Harada to the punch and had him getting ready to knockdown. Together with his unbelievable sturdiness, Masahiko very barely withstood the champ’s retaliation with the bell coming to his rescue.

After a slim escape, Harada wrongly returned to his rival’s nook, pointing Jofre to the opposite nook, gesturing, “That’s your individual nook.” Harada was fallacious and Jofre was proper and. Harada returned to his nook, however it would possibly present his punishment given by Jofre’s tremendously livid assault.

Harada was simply twenty-two years of age, seven years his junior to Jofre, 29. Their distinction of age would possibly account for his or her stamina in later rounds, when Jofre visibly indicated his fatigue and fading in velocity and quantity of punches. Harada remarkably confirmed his final surge and plentiful stamina within the championship rounds after the tenth session.

The official tallies had been as follows: scoring referee Barney Ross (previously three-division world champion; US) 71-69 for Harada, Jay Edson (WBA’s government, US) 72-71 for Jofre and Masao Kato (Japan) 72-70 for Harada. The referee Ross, who finally had a casting vote on the outcome, mentioned, “It is rather stunning. I didn’t count on such a outcome to occur. However Harada admirably gained over the good champion Jofre by his personal energy, and proved he’s additionally a fantastic new champion. Watch Jofre’s left chest that was reddened and swollen by Harada’s assault. Ought to he have been as what he was once, he would have rapidly retaliate to his opponent’s assault, however at this time’s Jofre couldn’t do it. Jofre absorbed good punishment from Harada, so he couldn’t battle again nicely to beat his early deficits on factors.” (From particular situation of “Professional Westling and Boxing” journal celebrating Harada’s coronation, June 1965).


Currently Japanese organizers (Shoei Ishii and Shoji Tsue) organized a beautiful alternative to have Jofre and Harada talk with Zoom reunion after fifty-seven years since their first encounter. That they had a good time chatting one another. We may notice their nice fistic rivalry and lengthy friendship as nicely.


Jofre and Harada fought once more a 12 months later (on Might 31, 1966) with Harada victorious by a hairline however unanimous choice (69-68, 71-68, 71-69) in Tokyo. There’s a nonetheless untold story behind it, however this eloquent observer with reminiscence wish to make it in Might subsequent 12 months.

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