Internet Arcade Review: Champion Boxing

Champion Boxing

Sega’s Champion Boxing is a one- or two-player boxing game released in 1984, much to the delight of boxing enthusiasts the world over. You have three different types of punches you can throw, and you can block both low for your midsection and high for your face — in popular boxing parlance, your breadbasket and barndoor respectively.

It’s rumored to be modeled after a little-known welterweight boxer who, at the time, was making noise on the Japanese boxing circuit (or the Japanese Boxing Circuit, as it was known colloquially back then), but the precise identity of the boxer in question has been a source of speculation for decades.

Some believe it was supposed to be an homage to the late, good Satori “Michelob” Matsusashi, who himself modeled his style on that of the bare-knuckle brawler, Lord Duke Francisco Watanabe.

Both Matsusashi and Watanabe were known as dirty fighters, with Watanabe almost exclusively focusing on groin punches, which made up about 87% of his punching repertoire. We’d be derelict in our journalistic duties if we failed to mention that this cheapshot tendency is not reflected in the boxing style on display in Champion Boxing, leading many to dispute that the game was in any way influenced by Matsusashi.

Champion Boxing

Some believe it was instead based on the American movie Boxing Champion (The Cannon Group, Inc.), which made its international debut in 1982 and featured two boxers in a ring, along with a referee calling the bout, whereby both boxers would exchange blows in the attempt to either render the other athlete unable to continue, or rack up enough points to win should the match result in a decision-based outcome. This was seen as revolutionary at the time, since boxing up until that point almost exclusively allowed the referee to engage in fisticuffs alongside the boxing opponents.

A dedicated yet still fringe group of boxing historians argue, however, that both character models were designed to mirror the image and style of Kenji ‘Macaroni’ Date, who was known at that time as Kenji ‘Fusilli’ Date before he would later discover the joys of elbow pasta.

Date himself would offer frequent albeit noncommittal denials when pressed over whether Champion Boxing did in fact depict him as both characters. His nonchalance would only fuel further speculation. Date would remain coy about the subject until his untimely demise when he choked on a raisin in 2007.

Champion Boxing

Whatever origins and influences brought Champion Boxing into existence, one thing is universally agreed upon: It is absolute trash.

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