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Japanese wrestler Anotonio Inoki (centre) with Pakistan's Ambassador to Japan Noor Muhammad Jadmani and Pakistan-born Japanese national Khawar Khokhar. – Photo courtesy author
Japanese wrestler Anotonio Inoki (centre) with Pakistan's Ambassador to Japan Noor Muhammad Jadmani and Pakistan-born Japanese national Khawar Khokhar. – Photo courtesy author

Nearly four decades after his bouts with Pakistani hulks, renowned Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki is set to return to the country.

Preparations are underway for the arrival of the wrestler as part of goodwill celebrations of 60 years of Pak-Japanese diplomatic relations and he also met with Pakistan’s ambassador to Japan Noor Muhammad Jadmani recently.

In 1976, Inoki was challenged by Pakistani wrestler Akram aka “Akki” and when he came to Pakistan for the encounter, he was surprised to see nearly 50,000 spectators turn up for the spectacle at the National Stadium Karachi.

“The fight took place despite a difference in the styles and rules of wrestling between the two sides,” Inoki said, adding that the match became so intense that it turned into a battle for survival.

A Dawn file image shows an advertisement promoting Inoki's fight in Pakistan. – Dawn file
A Dawn file image shows an advertisement promoting Inoki's fight in Pakistan. – Dawn file

Reminiscing about the fight, Inoki said, “I still have marks on my wrist that Akki gave me when he wrenched at it with his teeth. I had to poke my fingers in his eyes to get him away.” The Japanese maestro said he was never happy about defeating Akki.

Later on, Inoki also went on to meet Akki’s nephew, Zubair aka Jhara, in the ring. The fight ended in a draw but Inoki said he held up Jhara’s hand to declare him the winner.

Speaking about his upcoming trip to Pakistan, Inoki said he had been wanting to visit Akki’s grave for a long time but never got the opportunity to do it earlier.

Inoki, who converted to Islam in 1990, said that he decided to become a Muslim upon his visit to Karbala (the site of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) grandson’s shrine) and the holy mosque.

“When I converted, people suggested that I change my name to Muhammad Ali but I turned down the idea as I had already fought against the great boxer Ali.”

He then decided to go with Hussain, which was derived from the then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Comments (21) Closed

Abdullah Hussain Nov 27, 2012 07:55pm
Things are still fresh in my mind about Antonio Inoki fight in Pakistan. What a talented wrestler Inoki was in his hay days. Peoples loved him. You are most welcomed to visit Pakistan.
asim Dec 01, 2012 10:42am
Muhammad Hussain Anoki is a great Wrestler.... but very small coverage from Pakistani media ... it was no big news for Pakistani media???
khan Nov 29, 2012 09:00pm
Azam Nov 27, 2012 10:47am
The whole world knows that Inoki was a great wrestler.To visit the grave of his one time great opponent reflects a very rich Japanese culture and tradition.Such gestures of good will are rare to be heard in todays world.He should be welcomed with full protocols and awarded Sitara e Pakistan.Thanks
Shubs Nov 29, 2012 11:55am
I wonder how much of the adulation for Mr Inoki in Pakistan is because of his wrestling prowess, how much of it is for his show of respect to a Pakistani wrestler, and how much of it is purely because he converted to Islam. As a neutral observer of Pakistani society, dare I say that if it was not for the third, this news would have just been a small footnote at the bottom of the sports page of the newspaper.
Dilawer Nov 27, 2012 05:04am
Welcome back to Pakistan. We love you, Inoki
abid raza Nov 28, 2012 08:22am
It is Mr. Innoki's respect for his vulture and values.He is making the history and embarking respect, tollerance and Japenese culture. We all welcome him and we already have greart regards and respect for every Japnese nationa for being so nice to us. I specially tribute him for this act ofkindless.
Nadeem Nov 27, 2012 11:43am
Great to know about Anoki's acceptance of truth and embracing Islam. may Allah provide more power to Islam with such outstanding conversions. Weicome, Weicome
Najma Rafique Ansari Nov 27, 2012 01:02pm
Great job Mr Inoki. You are welcome to Pakistan.
Azhar Nov 27, 2012 03:16am
It would be great to see a wrestler Hussain (Antonio Inoki) in Pakistan. It is a great news. Welcome! Welcome!
Arshad Nov 27, 2012 11:17pm
A great man. Allah further gifted him with the wealth of Imaan. MashaAllah.
Anwar Nov 28, 2012 12:43pm
Yes, he is a great man, not only great wrestler. But only these qualities are not enough for Sitara-e Imtiaz. Let's see the reslults & achivements of his current trip to Pakistan.
Awais Nov 27, 2012 02:11pm
sitara e imtiaz to inoki
Fahad Nov 28, 2012 10:36am
I'm son of Khawar Khokhar and Inoki's Islamic name is M.Hussain
Abbas Nov 26, 2012 11:19pm
Great man, this Japanese inoki is the man. Champ the real true champ.
zain khan Nov 28, 2012 10:56am
Navaid, Wah Nov 28, 2012 09:08am
His name now is Hussain, even Mohsin Abbas has written just Anotonio Inoki below the picture. I think Inoki becoming Hussain is big / good news.
skeptic Nov 26, 2012 05:49pm
a great wrestler but a greater human being . he has a heart of gold and magnanimous in his approach. God bless you Sir for your support to Pakistan,we shall never forget our friends.
Syed Ahmed Nov 27, 2012 03:25pm
I remember some one asked Anoki what does he eat to maintain his physique, he replied just normal food. The interviewer said our wrestlers consume five sears of milk, half a goat and many other items daily to maintain their built. It goes to say that Japanese wrestlers use technique and physiques to the contrary our wrestlers use more of physiques and less of technique in wrestling.
Khan Nov 27, 2012 05:26am
As a kid I watched his match with Akram in which anoki dislocated the shoulder of Akki with few minutes it was fun watching the match. Welcome back Anoki.
theonlyadmin Dec 01, 2012 11:15am
nothing special :)