Shozo Saijo is a WBA Featherweight boxing champion who hailed from Saitama, Japan. He was born on January 28, 1947.
He became a professional boxer when he was around 17, and had his professional fight in August of 1964. The road to fame was hard on him, though. His earlier records were not impressive. Though he had 14 wins, he also had 4 losses and 2 draws. It also didn’t help that he was boxing against fighters who hardly had name for themselves.
By 1968, he battled against Jose Luis Pimentel, who was a huge name in the boxing arena. He eventually lost. Nevertheless, he was able to regain his pride and perhaps the recognition of the world when he won during the rematch.
It was also the said fight that allowed him to go against Raul Rojas, who previously defeated Enrique Higgins and copped the WBA featherweight title. Saijo won in their first non-title bout as well as in their rematch on September 27, 1968. He also grabbed the WBA belt from Rojas.
Later on, he went head to head against fellow Japanese boxer Hiroshi Kobayashi. Though a split decision, Kobayashi reigned over Saijo.
He was able to defend his title more than five times until he was forced to give it up to Antonio Gomez, who became his opponent in 1971. After that, he stopped boxing altogether and went on to another contact sport known as muay thai, which didn’t do him well either.
After disappointing a lot of fans and not returning in boxing, he decided to not pursue other types of sports. Nevertheless, he was able to leave a mark in boxing as the first Japanese fighter to have fought and won outside of his country. When he retired, he also had a record of 29 wins, 7 losses, and 2 draws. Eight of these wins were caused by knockouts.