"When making a case for world's toughest fighter, don't forget to include Hiromitsu Kanehara. This MMA veteran has fought for promotions throughout Japan including RINGS, Colosseum 2000, and Free Fight. Though his record is not impressive, Kanehara's list of opponents reads like a who's who of mixed martial arts champions and legends."
—Kanehara's PRIDE website profile
"To kill or to be killed. That's what is fighting for me."Hiromitsu Kanehara (b. 1970) is a Japanese professional wrestler and Mixed Martial Arts fighter. He first became known as a bright neophyte in UWF International, beating future stars left and right, but soon would be known for loving fighting at least as much as pro wrestling. A training lover, he got to be sent to Thailand to learn muay thai, asked to compete in shoots instead of works every time he was allowed, and ended up leaving the offshoot promotion Kingdom to join Fighting Network RINGS where he could show his skills. He became the promotion's workhorse and started taking on literally any opponent they threw at him, often being RINGS's last hope when better fighters like Tsuyoshi Kohsaka and Kiyoshi Tamura were out. Kanehara would give impressive performances against a list of star opponents, and also famously reached the finals of the King of Kings Tournament, a feat few can boast of. When RINGS folded, Kanehara joined PRIDE Fighting Championship, where he once again fought a string of world level opponents before wandering out to the indy MMA scene. After an irregular late career, a consequence of battle wear and age, he focused to sporadic pro wrestling, finally retiring from competition. He currently works as an osteopath and yoga teacher, as well as an occasional wrestler.As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.
"To Trope or To Be Troped"
- 10-Minute Retirement: He originally retired in 2007, but un-retired the same year. And then again, he retired in 2013, but returned in 2015. Seems that Hiromitsu just cannot sit tight.
- Almighty Janitor: Though never remembered among the greatest names of the shoot-style, he has arguably one of the greatest records among them. The sheer quality and quantity of his opponents makes it higher than the foe galleries of practically everybody in Pancrase or RINGS, just like his comparative accomplishments.
- The Apprentice: First to Nobuhiko Takada and later to Akira Maeda.
- Arch-Enemy: None in special, but in a sense Ricardo Arona and Yuki Kondo, two adversaries he faced twice each and couldn't defeat. In Pro Wrestling ZERO1, Shito Ueda.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: He submitted ADCC star Alexandre Ferreira and knocked out feared striker Valentijn Overeem.
- Blood Knight: He loved to fight, and as he liked to put it, went to the ring to kill or to be killed.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He looked just like an energetic, slightly eccentric pro wrestling midcarder, but he was one of the toughest guys around and one of the best allaround fighters come from the UWF.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: His matches in PRIDE were quite one-sided against him.
- David vs. Goliath: Faced the 300 pound Brazilian Ricardo Morais in RINGS, though unlike most examples, the Goliath won the fight.
- Defeating the Undefeatable:
- He beat Valentijn Overeem, a fighter who had trashed Kiyoshi Tamura months before, and made it look as easy as Overeem had made it look with Tamura. Kanehara was doing it for himself as well, as he had been defeated by Valentijn in an earlier match.
- He not only defeated, but also submitted Alexandre Cacareco Ferreira, a grappler who went to trample his way in ADCC and would get victories over John Olav Einemo, Xande Ribeiro and Fabrício Werdum.
- Dented Iron: When he left PRIDE in 2005, he was a shell of himself after pushing his body to his limits and taking beatdowns for most of his career.
- Determinator: His ability to withstand punishment and keep coming was illogical. During his PRIDE run, he was often still fighting when the match was stopped after receiving hit after hit from people like Mirko Cro Cop and Alistair Overeem.
- Does Not Like Shoes: After his training in Thailand, he returned to UWF-i with a Thai boxer gimmick, ditching his boots for traditional footwraps.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Kanehara originally applied for New Japan Pro Wrestling, and actually got to train for a time with Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Osamu Nishimura, but he left for UWF-i shortly after.
- Enemy Mine: When he teamed up with fellow UWF men Minoru Suzuki and Takuma Sano in Pro Wrestling NOAH in 2012 against Special Assault Team.
- Escape Artist: He repeteadly escaped from dangerous position against Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Mario Sperry and ended going the distance, with the judges actually giving Mario the majority decision instead of the unanimous everybody was thinking they would give.
- Establishing Character Moment: His KO of Valentijn Overeem.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: One of his most dangerous weapons was his basic but spirited boxing.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Kanehara was always acknowledged to lack talent and skill to become a MMA star, but it was well known that he trained like a freaking machine and had guts to match, two traits that had their reward in the form of victories which no wrestler of his level could dream to accomplish.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Though he was always behind Kiyoshi Tamura in RINGS, his accomplishments in MMA are actually higher in many cases. He finished opponents Tamura only could scratch decisions of and gave consistently better performances against the opponents who defeated them both.
- I Know Karate: Everybody in the UWF trained in Muay Thai, but Kanehara was sent to Thailand to train the purest form of the art. He also knew amateur wrestling.
- Instant Expert: In his very first kickboxing match, he took world champion Changpuek Kiatsongrit to the judges. Reportedly, K-1 chairman Kazuyoshi Ishii was so impressed that he offered Kanehara a contract.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: A fighter with good wrestling, dangerous hands and gutsy grappling.
- The Power of Rock: He is a long time fan of Eikichi Yazawa.
- Real Men Love Jesus: A devout Shinto believer, he used to do the anjali mudra before stepping on the ring.
- Red Baron: "Biju" ("The Beautiful Beast"), "UWF no Chisho" ("UWF's Field General"), "RINGS Saigo no Ace" ("RINGS's Last Ace").
- Spin Attack: Often used the spinning backfist, both in shoots and works.
- Technician vs. Performer: A technician.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Was the only native fighter who managed to reach to the finals of a King of Kings tournament, something which neither Tamura nor Kohsaka could. The first three opponents in the league were each considered impossible or very difficult to defeat by Kanehara, specially in the way he did.
- Unknown Rival: To Ricardo Arona.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Upon his retirement."Every morning, I get up and pray in the kamidana. But this morning, there were tears in my eyes when I left it. I have to be honest with myself. There are many geniuses in the world, but I could never call myself one of them - I was just a plain man whose only talent was working hard. However, I would have not been able to do it without you, without all the people who were with me at the end of all things. I am very grateful. To everybody, really, thank you all very much".