May 26, 2024

Antonio Inoki, the man who brought pro wrestling to North Korea, dies at 79

Japanese parliamentarian and renowned martial artist visited Pyongyang over 30 times in efforts to push sports diplomacy

Antonio Inoki, the Japanese professional wrestler-turned-politician who built close ties to North Korea, died of heart disease over the weekend, according to the company he founded

Inoki helped organize the first pay-per-view wrestling event in Pyongyang, Collision in Korea, which he headlined along with Ric Flair. The two-day event reportedly attracted 340,000 spectators to May Day Stadium — a record that still stands to this day.

Become a member for less than $4 per week.

  • Unlimited access to all of NK News: reporting, investigations, analysis
  • The NK News Daily Update, an email newsletter to keep you in the loop
  • Searchable archive of all content, photo galleries, special columns
  • Contact NK News reporters with tips or requests for reporting
Get unlimited access to all NK News content, including original reporting, investigations, and analyses by our team of DPRK experts.
Subscribe now

All major cards accepted. No commitments – you can cancel any time.