Antonio Inoki, the Japanese legend who kicked me in a historical farce, has died

Antonio Inoki has passed away at the age of 79The Japanese wrestling legend and founder of the successful New Japan Pro-Wrestling, due to heart failure, derived from amyloidosis, a disease he suffered. Inoki shone in the greatest sports crossover of the last century with Muhammad AliWhich made him known all over the world. The professional wrestler, a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, used his prestige to found the political party “Sports and Peace” and win a seat in the Japanese Senate in 1989. He even traveled in 1990 to Iraq to participate in negotiations for several kidnapped citizens.

The story of Inoki vs. On

(published in MARCA on January 31, 2014)

Months after the sublime ‘Thrilla in Manila’ against Frazier, for which Muhammad Ali took home the largest purse of his career to date – $6 million -, the Louisville boxer received an answer to The arrogant challenge he gave to the president of the Bororiso (jujitsu), which will eventually be picked up by the entire Japanese press: “Isn’t there an Oriental who can challenge me? I’ll give him a million dollars if he defeats me.”He was judged “the greatest”.

Antonio Enochthe most famous fighter in Japan, will be his opponent in a now-forgotten match in which it will take place Tokyo on June 26, 1976and why It will take me 6 million dollars. In his usual ostentatious manner, the boxer got off the plane that took him to the Japanese capital, saying: “There will never be another Pearl Harbor.”. The fight, of course, has already been signed, but The rules are not agreedAnd this is the fight for it The title of “the toughest man on the planet” It begins to turn into a farce.

Ali, who in September of that year faced Ken Norton for the third time, the man who broke his jaw in his first fight, in the Check in training how Inoki spent them with springsTogether with his team, he demanded to adhere to certain rules so as not to get hurt. He could not risk injury.

Inoki vs. Ali / AP

Inoki vs. Ali / AP

Finally, the day of the competition came that would finish which system and which fighter was better. The 14,000 spectators gathered in Nippon Budokan They paid between $17 and $1,000 per ticket and the audience was handed over. With the bell ringing and the fight started, the quarrel also began. The rules established for combat limited the natural development of combat to the point that nothing was designed and everything was on the verge of improvisation.. In 1977, the show was tried again, but with Chuck Wepner, after which he was not bound by the same rules.

From the first moment Anoki crouched on the ground and seconds later he was on the ground slithering like a snake, trying to kick Ali in her legs. in a humorous way. This was how he had to form a very limited battle. In fact, This parody lasted 15 rounds During which the Japanese were almost always on the ground while the American boxer, wearing boxing gloves, did not stop moving.

Until the seventh round, Muhammed did not throw his fist, angry that in the sixth the kicks of the local fighter sent him to the board.. When Inoki humiliated himself on the ground, Ali told him: “You coward, get up and fight like a man.”. Later, Ali himself said that he no longer hit the Japanese because it was impossible to “always drop someone to the ground”, but the fact is that he tried very hard.

Inoki in 2018 during a trip I took

Inoki in 2018 during a trip that took him to North Korea / AP

Already in the eighth round, Angelo Dundee, the boxer’s coach, complained that the kicks were too loud and that The “Plicant” shoe, as Ali Inoki called it because of the shape of its chin, caused numerous cuts to his student’s legs.. Without knowing it, the injuries from these kicks (over 100 kicks were counted) inflicted heavy damage to Ali who He spent two weeks in hospital upon returning to the United States due to an injury of the same thing.

Finally, the mummering concluded with a tie, when referee Gene Label—the old glory of American judo who in his day mocked Bruce Lee and Steven Seagal and even fought a bear—subtracted three points from Inoki for fouls. The crowd, angry at the lack of a show, ended up throwing trash in the ring. Criticism was so harsh with the contestants that Ali, who admitted he was there for the succulent bag, I decided to donate the entire 6 million to charity. The work was a disaster for The Great.

Inoki vs. Chuck Wepner / AP

Inoki vs. Chuck Wepner / AP

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