#AndNEW: NOAH’s Daisuke Harada Crowned IPW Junior Heavyweight Champion

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Photo: IPW

On Tuesday, January 15, International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom (IPW:UK) crowned their inaugural IPW Junior Heavyweight Champion in a tournament in alliance with Pro Wrestling NOAH from Japan. Eight men entered the tournament – UK’s Chris Ridgeway, Kid Lykos, James Castle, and Ben Basden and NOAH’s Daisuke Harada, YO-HEY, HAYATA, and TADASUKE. In the finals, Harada defeated James Castle to become the first IPW Junior Heavyweight Champion.

The IPW Junior Heavyweight Championship replaces two previous junior heavyweight titles – the original IPW British Cruiserweight Championship (that ran from 2008 through 2012, with Marty Scurll as the last champion), followed by the IPW Z-Force Champion (which was active from 2017 through October of 2018, when it was deactivated and this tournament was announced). With a fresh name and start, the IPW Junior Heavyweight title begins a new legacy in IPW, who has reclaimed its spot in the upper tier of the UK indie scene under its new management team under Billy Wood, who took over in mid-2017.

IPW has a fitting champion to start the new title’s legacy, around the waist of Japan veteran Daisuke Harada. The 32-year old is a 12-year veteran of Japanese puroresu, starting out with Osaka Pro Wrestling (OPW) in 2006, where he was a 3x OPW Tag Team Champion with Atsushi Kotoge, before becoming a 2x OSW Champion. Throughout his early years, he would also work exhibition matches for various other promotions, including New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Big Japan Wrestling (BJW), Michinoku Pro Wrestling (MPW), and All Japan. After working sporadically with NOAH starting in 2010, he made the full jump in 2013, where he captured three GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles (again with Kotoge in Momo No Seishun Tag), en route to becoming a 3x GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion as well. His third reign was started this past December, and now he’s the reigning Junior Heavyweight Champion in both IPW and NOAH.

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