Sunday, March 2, 2008
New Middle-Aged Hero:
Bernard Hopkins, move over: Reuters reports that a 44-year-old Japanese mother of two has gotten a boxing license.
Kazumi Izaki, mother of 21- and 14-year-old daughters, is also the oldest boxer in Japan. She turns 45 next week.
She looks pretty fit from the photograph!
It's extremely rare for boxers to be successful at ages much beyond 35 or so. Bernard Hopkins, 43 now, is the current amazing exception. He's currently the light heavyweight champ of the world, and he's beaten some incredibly good boxers, including Winky Wright. He apparently keeps himself constantly in top shape--Ricky Hatton, in contrast, is referred to as "Ricky Fatton" when he's not training--and he is also arguably the smartest boxer out there in terms of tactics and strategy in his bouts. He always fights the right fight for each opponent, and it changes with each opponent.
Hopkins is supposed to fight super middleweight champ Joe Calzaghe--like Hopkins, considered one of the very top pound-for-pound boxers in the world--this year, I believe. Hopkins is said to be pushing the boundary of age himself--at 36 years old.
In the world of mixed martial arts, there's the amazing Randy Couture, 44, who beat a much-younger Tim Sylvia in a UFC title match.
These folks are exceptions.
Evander Holyfield, a former heavyweight champion, is 45 and still fighting--not nearly as well as he used to. People are worried he'll be hurt in the ring. (He's most famous outside boxing circles as the fighter who got part of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson.)
Most boxers and mixed martial artists in their 40s--and any, if they exist, in their 50s--are around to pad younger fighters' records.
I've heard variously that men's potential for muscle mass peaks in the 20s, at 30 and 35 years old (I don't know the equivalent age for women); moreover as an orthopedic doctor once told me, at 35 the body "starts falling apart." It takes longer to repair injuries, and more of them occur.
I'll try to find out how Super Mom fares in her Japanese bouts.