TOKYO, JAPAN-Japan's first world champion Yoshio Shirai, 80, passed away of pneumonia this Friday (December 26) in Tokyo, Japan. Shirai, a stylish and smart boxer, was cultivated by his manager and US biologist Dr. Alvin R. Cahn staying here under the US occupation over Japan after the World War II. Shirai defeated the then world flyweight champ Dado Marino, Hawaii, to capture the unified 112-pound throne on May 19, 1952. He defended it four times by outscoring Marino (in a rematch), Tanny Campo, Terry Allen and Leo Espinosa, but lost it to unbeaten ex-Olympic gold medalist Pascual Perez, Argentina, in 1954. Shirai attempted to win back the belt only to lose to Perez again in the next year to decide to hang up gloves for good afterward. His overall record was 46-8-4, 18 KOs. Shirai became a popular commentator as well as coached such young boxers as Kenji Yonekura, Katsuo Saito, etc. Also, the late Mr. Shirai established the Shirai Gushiken Gym in 1995, eight years ago. He lately established a Shira-Gushiken Gym along with ex-WBA 108-pound champ Yoko Gushiken to become the honorably president of the club year ago. Shirai was a gentleman inside and outside of the ring to be loved by great many people to have become the pronoun of the professional boxer in Japan.
| World Flyweight Champion
19 May 1952 – 26 Nov 1954