Having been a professional since 2006 Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) really hadn't done much by the turn of the decade. He was still fighting on the Japanese domestic scene and was only 10-1 (3) as we headed into 2010. Impressively though he made his mark in the decade, went 17-3-2 (9), unified world titles and won a Japanese national title as well as scoring several other wins of note.
Between the decade starting and Taguchi fighting for a Japanese title he had already notched wins over future world title holder Yu Kimura and world title challenger Tetsuya Hisada. In his first Japanese title fight he would then hold future 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda to a draw. He would take the national title in 2013, beating Yuki Chinen, before losing a decision to Naoya Inoue, being the first man to take the "Monster"to the final bell.
Following the loss to Inoue we saw Taguchi go 9-0-1 and score wins over the likes of Kwanthai Sithmorseng, Juan Jose Landaeta, Ryo Miyazaki and Milan Melidno, as well as fighting to a draw with Carlos Canizales. The win over Melindo saw Taguchi unifying the WBA and IBF titles, in a real career defining win for the Watanabe gym fight. Sadly he went 0-2 following that win, with losses to Hekkie Budler and Kosei Tanaka.
Sadly two things go against Taguchi. First his competition, for the most part, was B tier at best. He had some solid wins, such as the one over Melindo, but for the most part he lacked real standout victories and the ones over the likes of Kimura and Hisada came well before they were notable in their own right. Second he has failed to win against his 4 best opponents, Inoue, Canizales, Budler and Tanaka. No harm in coming up short to those 4 men, but those results certainly do show the difference between Taguchi and the best from the era.
With Taguchi now looking like he's heading into retirement, even though he's only 32, it appears that he'll be well remembered for what he did during the decade even if it was only enough to earn him an honourable mention here.
Japan's Takashi Miura (31-4-2, 24) will never go down in the list of "greatest Japanese world champions" but during the last decade he really notable, impressive, exciting and deserves a very honourable mention in the list of the Asian Fighter of the Decade.
The "Bomber Left" went 14-3 (10) during the decade, and fought for the first 7 years of the decade. His first 3 bouts during the decade were defenses of the Japanese Super Featherweight title before he got his first shot at the big time, fighting with Takashi Uchiyama. He came up short against Uchiyama, but did drop the then unbeaten WBA champion. Just over 2 years later he went on to claim the WBC Super Featherweight title.
As the WBC champion Miura recorded 4 defenses, beating Sergio Thompson, Dante Jardon, Edgar Puerta and Billy Dib. They are elite tier wins, but are solid wins, especially the one over Thompson which came in Mexico.
Despite losing his title in his 5th defense Miura actually enhanced his reputation in his loss, coming in a 2015 FOTY contender with Francisco Vargas. The bout, which was Miura's US debut, him saw dropping Vargas, being dropped himself, looking on the verge of a win in round 8 and then being stopped in round 9. Just over a year later he would return to the US and compete in another FOTY, stopping Miguel Roman in January 2017, in a total war.
Sadly Miura's career essentially ended just 6 months after the Roman bout, when he lost a decision to Miguel Berchelt and then decided to hang them.
Although he only fought at world level for 8 bouts, and went 5-3 during those bouts, his impact was clear and the quality of bouts he fought him earns him a very warranted honourable mention.
Indonesian great Chris John (48-1-3, 22) would have been in serious conversation for a top 10 place, had this list been based on what a fighter did from 2000 to 2009. Sadly for John his career had peaked well before start of the decade, though he still managed to do a surprising amount at the very start of the decade. Enough to earn a notable mention.
From the start of the decade John went 5-1-1, with all 7 of his bouts being world title bouts. None of them came against A tier competition, but he did manage to defend his WBA Featherweight title against notable contenders, Fernando David Saucedo, Daud Yordan, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo and Satoshi Hosono, before losing at the end of 2013 to the excellent Simpiwe Vetyeka.
In the previous decade John had beaten the likes of Derrick Gainer, Juan Manuel Marquez, Hiroyuki Enoki and Rocky Juarez, among others. Whilst he got some favours from the judges at times few could argue with his quality and ability. Unlike most champions he also did his stuff on the road, travelling to Japan, Singapore, the US and Australia. Sadly though by the turn of 2010 he was already 30 and he had the clock ticking down on his career.
Often mis-remembered in the west John was a very talented boxer, and it's a shame that Western promoters couldn't lure him over for bouts against the biggest names of era. He showed a willingness to travel, but it wasn't until 2009 that he fought in North America, twice facing Rocky Juarez in the US. By then John was already on the slide and the slide continued until he lost, in his 52nd pro bout, to Vetyeka.
For a guy to only have 7 fights and earn an honourable mention is impressive, and it's a shame Indonesian boxing still hasn't been able to replace "The Dragon", though there is hope that Indonesia's 5th world champion is out there.
Starting his career in 2012 at the age of 32 Amnat Ruenroeng (20-3, 6) was always up against it in regards to Fight of the Decade honours, and in fact a general chance to shine. He was too old, and turned pro way too late in the decade to really achieve much. At least that's what we'd have assumed. In fact he only just missed out on the top 10, and did more in 8 years as a professional than most do in significantly longer careers. During his title run he had made a mark on the sport with 2 huge upsets on foreign soil, and notched a couple of other notable wins. Though he he didn't exactly shine, or look great in some of those wins.
Amnat won the IBF Flyweight title in January 2014, in his 12th professional bout. He had only debuted in May 2012 and had raced through the IBF rankings to become the mandatory challenger for Muroti Mthalane. Sadly Mthalane and Amnat wouldn't clash, with Mthalane vacating the belt, rather than travelling to Thailand for a poor payday. That lead to Amnat beating Filipino veteran Rocky Fuentes for the title and begin his messy yet remarkable reign.
Less than 4 months after winning the title Amnat travelled to Osaka and beat Kazuto Ioka in his first defense. The bout was a close one, but given he had travelled to Japan and still got the decision it was an impressive result, even if the performance wasn't amazing. Amnat's second defense was a foul filled, ugly affair against McWilliam's Arroyo. This was controversial and messy, but another big name on his record. Amnat's third defense saw him to Macao and upset local star Zou Shiming, to get a second huge road win. Another messy win followed as he defeat John Riel Casimer in another messy and foul filled wrestling contest.
After an easy defense against Myung Ho Lee we would see Amnat lose in a rematch to Casimero, ending his remarkably messy reign. From there he never really bounced back, going 3-2 (1) in the professional ranks, whilst dipping his toes in kick boxing and Olympic boxing.
Amnat will be remembered for his foul filled bouts, his use of the dark arts, judge throws, headlocks, bear hugs and bending the rules as often as possible. His big wins tended to come with an asterisk due to how badly officiated the bouts were, but few fighters can claim a run like he had over Ioka, Arroyo, Shiming and Casimero. For a guy who turned pro in his 30's his achievements are brilliant, but not quite enough to get his way into our top 10 fighters for the decade.
With the current decade running down, we've decided to begin looking for who is the Asian Fighter of the Decade. As part of that we have come up with a list of honourable mentions, and will be posting these before we begin our count down to the top 10 later in the year, and very early next year (due to needing to wait for some fights at the very end of the decade to fully come to our ordering of the top 10).
For our Fighter of the Decade, we have tried to weigh up quality of wins, longevity at the top during the decade, and what they've achieved during the decade. Whilst we might refer to their work before January 1st 2010, we won't be considering that in their standing for the Fighter of the Decade.
With that in mind let us bring you the first of our honourable mentions, with more being posted in the coming weeks.
The "Hawaiian Punch" Brian Viloria (38-6-0-2, 23) was rarely known for his consistency. He blew hot and cold through much of his career, and when he was hot he was red hot, as he was for a small, but notable, run during decade. Sadly his overall body of work from the decade was under-whelming, but at one point over a 16 month span, he was one of the most under-rated fighters in the sport.
During the decade Viloria, an American-Filipino, went 12-4 (8). That's not an amazing record, by any stretch, but in terms of opposition few could compete with the fighters he faced. In fact on competition alone he would have been the clear #1...had he beaten them all. Sadly though in his biggest bouts he tended to come up short, and he went 4-4 in world title bouts during the decade.
The decade got off on the wrong foot for Viloria, as he lost just days into the decade to Carlos Tamara, suffering a final round TKO in a bout he was leading. It saw him losing the IBF Light Flyweight title. The following year however he became a world champion once again, out pointing the dangerous Julio Cesar Miranda for the WBO Flyweight title.
The win over Miranda was followed by successive stoppage wins over Giovani Segura, Omar Nino Romero and Hernan Marquez, to unify the WBO and WBA titles. Those 4 wins, coming in the space of just over 16 months, were brilliant. Sadly though they were about it for notable wins for Viloria.
The talented Viloria would lose in his next bout, to Juan Francisco Estrada. A short winning run over lesser competition followed before he was stopped by Roman Gonzalez in 2015 and he would later lose to Artem Dalakian.
Not many fighters in recent years can say they fought fighters on the level of Tamara, Miranda, Segura, Romero, Marquez, Estrada, Gonzalez and Dalakian. Had Viloria gone 8-0 against those, and done nothing else, he would have likely been #1, but going 4-4, whilst understandable, does drop him out of the top 10 and earns him only an honourable mention.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features