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SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS - 田辺清、エディの教えを胸に

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格闘技 : 田辺清、エディの教えを胸に
投稿日時: 2011-04-27 15:55:08

“悲運のボクサー”と呼ばれた男がいる。元日本フライ級チャンピオンの田辺清だ。ローマ五輪で銅メダルを獲得し、プロでは破竹の21連勝(1引き分け挟む)。しかし、不運にも網膜剥離を患い、ボクサー生命を絶たれた。その田辺が指導を受けたのが名トレーナー、エディ・タウンゼントである。田辺が引退して44年、エディが亡くなって23年――。名伯楽が遺した教えを古希を迎えた田辺にじっくりと訊いた。

二宮: エディさんと最初に会ったのは?
田辺: 私がノンタイトルマッチでWBA世界フライ級チャンピオンのオラシオ・アカバリョと対戦したのが1967年2月20日。そのちょうど20日前です。それまでは2年間、ボビー・リチャードってトレーナーの指導を受けていました。でも、彼は韓国で初の世界チャンピオンになる金基洙を育てるため、僕の下を離れてしまった。代わりのトレーナーにバトンタッチしてもらったんだけど、どうも合わない。腐りかけていたところへ、現れたのがエディさんだったんです。今でも覚えていますよ。ジムで着替えをしていると、窓から中を覗いている男がいる。目が合った瞬間、パチッとウインクしたんですよ。まだ何も教えてもらっていないのに、胸が高鳴ったのを覚えています。

二宮: エディさんのことは事前に知ってたんですか?
田辺: もちろん。藤猛さん(67年4月に世界スーパーライト級王者を獲得)を育てたトレーナーですからね。エディさんは、僕の姿を確認するなり、ズカズカと靴のまま上がってきた。そして、僕の肩をポーンと叩いて、「ゴミ、付いてるよ」と言いました。でも、それらしきものは何もない。ふと見ると、エディさん、ニヤッと笑っていたんだ。そのときハッと思ったね。それだけ僕のことを見ていると言いたいんだなと。続けて「ボク、君のお父さん、お母さん、お兄さんでもある。ドクターでもあるよ」と言ってくれました。極めつけは、「今日からベストフレンドよ」。この一言にはしびれたね。

二宮: エディさんから具体駅にはどんな指導を受けたのですか?
田辺: もう試合まで時間がないから、技術的にはワンポイントレッスン。アカバリョは左右にスイッチするタイプで左のパンチが強い。だから「タナベ、右のガードね。(アカバリョが)サウスポーになったら右のグローブ、アゴの下に」と。

二宮: 要するに左のストレートを警戒しようと?
田辺: でも、守りだけではなかった。前トレーナーのリチャードは攻撃が30%で、守備が70%という教え方をしていました。そのことをエディに告げると、「前のトレーナー、いいこと教えてくれたね。チェンジしよう」と。つまり攻撃を70%、守備を30%で考えようというわけです。右のガードをアゴの下に置いたのも、ディフェンスだけでなく、右のストレートを出しやすくするため。技術的に教えてもらったのはそれだけなんですよ。

二宮: その甲斐あってアカバリョ戦は6RTKO勝利。3Rではその右ストレートからダウンを奪っています。会心の勝利だったでしょう?
田辺: 22戦の中ではベストバウトだったね。精神的にも肉体的にも。ボクシングってこういうものなのかと分かった試合でした。こうすれば全部倒せる、全部勝てると思った。最低でも世界チャンピオンは5回くらいは防衛できると思ったよ。パッと目の前が明るくなって、並々ならぬ自信がみなぎってきたね。まぁ、そんな矢先、網膜剥離で突然、右目が見えなくなってしまった……。

二宮: 残念ながら田辺さんがエディさんから教わったのはアカバリョ戦前の実質20日間だったわけですね。
田辺: でも濃密な20日間でしたよ。エディさんは「タナベ、グッド、クレバー」と気持ちを乗せるのがうまかった。
 そういえばエディさん、自分のことを“ラット・トラップ”と言っていたね。「今、なんて言ったの?」って尋ねたら紙に書いてくれた。「Rat trap」。つまりネズミ捕りってわけさ。エディさんは自分がトレーナーというネズミ捕りに捕まってしまったと言いたかったんだ。「タナベ、僕、ラットトラップ。また生まれてきたら、ボクシングやりますよ」と。今の日本で、こんな気持ちで自分の職業に命かけている人間が何人いるかな。政治家なんて、ラット・トラップなんて思っていないだろうね(苦笑)。

二宮: 「勝った時は会長がリングで抱くの。負けた時は僕が抱くの」とか、「ハートのラブ(で教える)」とかエディさんは本当にさまざまな名言を残していますね。
田辺: しかも、その話をしたのが、タクシーの移動中で踏切待ちをしている時。まさに“ラット・トラップ”にはまったような状況だった。そういう意味も含めて言っていたんだよ。深いことを考えている人だなって感心したね。

二宮: エディさんと出会って人生は変わりましたか?
田辺: 一番の邂逅ですよ。難攻不落と言われたアカバリョに、海老原(博幸)、高山(勝義)でも勝てなかったアカバリョに勝たせてくれた。この感謝の気持ちは言葉では言い尽くせないね。エディさんの教えは、今でも心の中に深くしみこんでいますよ。

※5月1日(日)のNHKアーカイブスでは、1988年2月に放送された「エディ・最後の戦い 〜老トレーナーと19歳の世界チャンピオン〜」を改めて紹介。エディトレーナーとWBC世界ミニマム級王者(当時)・井岡弘樹選手が初防衛戦に臨むまでに密着したドキュメンタリーが23年の時を経て再放送されます。この番組を見ながら、井岡さんとともに二宮清純がエディトレーナーについて語り合う予定です。放送は13時50分〜。どうぞお楽しみに。

 また、現在発売中の『Number PLUS』は「拳の記憶」と題してボクシングを完全特集。こちらでも二宮がエディトレーナーについてのノンフィクションを寄稿しています。こちらもあわせてご覧ください。


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