The WBC joins the celebration of the great news received from Japan, as the life sentence of Iwao Hakamada has been revoked and he has been freed from the Tokyo penitentiary system after 47 years.
Hakamada is free and justice has prevailed after this nightmare has labeled him as the “Japanese Rubin Carter.”
The WBC wishes to congratulate The Japan Pro Boxing Association for the many years of constant and determined support of this dramatic case. Former WBC champion and Chairman of JPBA , Hideyuki Ohashi, led the team seeking worldwide support of this case, and Shosei Nitta (JPBA Secretary General) and Tomoyuki Kataoka (attorney at law) were fundamental to this tremendous accomplishment.
The WBC joined with great passion the “Free Hakamada Now!” movement, and during the WBC’s annual convention in October, 2013, in Thailand, hundreds of signatures of support were gathered, followed by thousands of signatures from all over the world from the boxing community and WBC family.
WBC Heavyweight Champion Emeritus Vitali Klitschko joined the “Free Hakamada Now!” movement, along with many other champions, and stressed: “It was high time that justice reached Hakamada and he regained his freedom!”
Jeff Fenech, former WBC super bantamweight and featherweight champion: “All boxers must join us to reverse the injustice suffered by Hakamada.”
Humberto “Chiquita” Gonzalez, former three-time WBC light flyweight champion: “I send all my support from Mexico, and we are 100 percent with Hakamada.”
Saman Sorjaturong, former WBC light flyweight champion: “I believe in the innocence of Hakamada. I hope his suffering is now over, and he lives the rest of his life in freedom.”
Jelena Mrdjenovich, WBC female feather champion: “It’s a terrible shame that these things happen. I wish him well following his release”
Bermane Stiverne, challenger to the WBC heavyweight crown: “I’m glad for his freedom. The case of Hakamada, like Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, shouldn’t have happened.”
The WBC Board of Governors voted unanimously to present Iwao Hakamada with the WBC green and gold belt, naming him “Honorary Champion” the very day of his release from prison, which was tirelessly worked for.
On behalf of our great and memorable president, Jose Sulaiman – RIP, and all the members of the organization representing 165 countries in the world, Mauricio Sulaiman will present the WBC championship belt during the activities surrounding the great boxing event to be held in Tokyo on April 6.