Jiro Watanabe Accused of Hiding that He’s With Yakuza

by David P. Greisman

Former 115-pound champion Jiro Watanabe was arrested last week in Osaka, Japan, for allegedly being part of a trio of yakuza who were accused of hiding that fact while playing golf on a course that bans yakuza members, according to English-language newspaper The Japan Times.

Watanabe, the newspaper said, “is a senior member of a group affiliated” with “major underworld syndicate Yamaguchi-gumi.” Also charged were a “senior gangster” with the syndicate and “another yakuza figure who was not identified,” the article said. They were on the golf course in March 2011, according to the article.

“Police have recently been cracking down on mobsters who play at golf courses that ban yakuza,” the article said. “There have been cases in which prosecutors have been unable to establish criminal cases against mobsters who were unaware of local ordinances banning them, and others in which at the district court level gangsters were found not guilty.”

Watanabe, 57, fought as a pro between 1979 and 1986. He won a World Boxing Association title at 115 pounds in 1982, defending it six times before vying for the World Boxing Council’s belt in 1984, according to

Watanabe is listed on Cyber Boxing Zone as having been the division’s lineal champion from 1984 to 1986. He lost that distinction with his fifth defense of the WBC belt, a unanimous decision loss to Gilberto Roman in 1986.

That was his last fight. He retired with a record of 26-2 with 17 knockouts.

David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by warp1432 on 12-03-2012

[QUOTE=bigcursedawg;12765878]Keeping gangsters off the golf courses is a really great idea. They never fix their divots.[/QUOTE] lmao! :lol1: :lol1:

Comment by El_Purepecha on 12-03-2012

This guy was retired by one of Nacho Beristain's fighters. You can here him shouting at around 41:48 "tira, tira, tira, tira" ... "vete pa vajo!" "veinte segundos!" all scandalous about it. If he tried to shout like that these…

Comment by BOLLOCKS on 12-03-2012

What a wannabe.

Comment by paulf on 12-03-2012

That is incredibly bad ass, man. [SIZE="1"][I]Posted from App for Android[/I][/SIZE]

Comment by calamaro on 12-03-2012

I think you can understand this if you're Japanese. Yakuza's ban on a golf course? Really, accused of hiding?

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