Former two time world champion of the late 1960's, Fighting Harada is recovering steadily after brain surgery January 24th. Harada suffered a brain hemorrhage the day before the surgery. Doctors removed a blood clot and Harada may remain hospitalized for at least another month. Harada won the world flyweight title by stopping Pone Kingpetch of Thailand. Kingpetch outscored Harada in a rematch to regain the crown. Harada then moved up to bantamweight and challenged the champion Eder Jofre of Brazil. In an upset, Harada outscored the previously undefeated Jofre to win his second world title. Harada again decisioned Jofre in a return bout. They were the only two losses of Jofre's storied career. Harada would keep the title until he was upset by Australian Lionel Rose.
Harada then moved into the 126-pound class and challenged the reigning king Johnny Famechon who was also from Australia. Famechon had gained recognition as featherweight titleholder by defeating Jose Legra of Spain. The Famechon-Harada match was razor close, with Famechon pulling out a very unpopular decision. The great Willie Pep was the guest referee. In their return bout, Famechon dominated and Harada began to show his age. Famechon battered Harada until the bout was halted in the fourteenth round. Harada had come very close to winning titles in three major weight classes. He never fought again after being stopped by Famechon. He may very well be the most popular boxer in Japan's history. I wish him a speedy recovery.
Jim Amato can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org