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Okinawan pro-boxer falls in coma after Tokyo bout

Date Posted: 2002-03-29

Okinawan fly-weight professional boxer Yoshihiro Irei, 22, fell into coma after a six-round bout at a pro-boxing tournament Hachioji Civil Hall in Tokyo recently. According to Hirotaka Nakaya, the chairman of the boxing gym where Irei trained, the match between Irei, the reigning Japan champion of his weight class and challenger Yoshinori Naito was fierce with both boxers pummeling each other without much attention to defense.

"Both fighters were determined to win when they entered the last round as they were even at that point, and Irei collapsed at the very end of the round. He still does not know that he lost a match for the first time as he also lost his title," Nakaya said. Irei was immediately taken to a hospital where he went through an emergency operation, but he still remains in a coma.

Irei was born in Ginowan City and moved to Tokyo to attend an university where he is still a student. He got his professional boxing license in 2000 and won the all Japan fly-weight championship belt a year later. He has won all his previous eight matches, two of them by a knockout.

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