Recently Reddit user negative5 created a threat asking about the "Best Fights No One Talks About?" and that made us realise that we really don't talk about closet classics very often. We share a lot of videos, but rarely single any of them out as being anything massively special, or drawing longer term attention to a fight from the past. With that in mind we've decided to answer negative5's question, with a regular feature looking at the great bouts that no one talks about.
Like our "Introducing..." features we're wanting to make this a weekly feature, talking about a fight, putting things into perspective, and then sharing the video of the bout.
To begin this series we're going to look at a Japanese Middleweight bout. On paper that might seem like a strange place to start, though the reality is that Japanese bouts at Middleweight are regularly amazing bouts. In just the last few years we've seen a handful of amazing Japanese title bouts at 160lbs and this is among the best of them.
Koji Sato (20-1, 18) Vs Makoto Fuchigami (17-6, 8)
This bout took place on December 12th 2011, coming in this bout Sato was a seen as the biggest hope in Japanese Middleweight boxing since Shinji Takehara took the WBA title from Jorge Castro in 1995. Sato had been a Japanese amateur standout, a huge puncher who had won an OPBF title in his 9th fight, and would later challenge Felix Sturm in 2009. Despite losing to Sturm there was still real hope that he could go on to win a world title before his career would end. He had rebuilt from the loss to Sturm with 6 wins, including 5 by stoppage.
Whilst Sato was the OPBF champion and the man expected to go on to big things Fuchigami was the Japanese champion, a slippery fighter who had lost 3 of his first 5 bouts and 5 of his first 12. Despite those setbacks the southpaw was developing his skills, and in his 20th bout he would take the Japanese title, stopping Tetsuya Suzuki in 6 rounds. Coming in to this bout he had won 7 in a row, 6 by stoppage, recorded 3 defenses of the title but was still regarded as a major under-dog against Sato, in fact he was there to play the next victim to the huge punching Teiken promoted fighter.
What we got was one of the best fights of 2011, and one of the best Japanese and OPBF unification bouts of all time. This is our first Closet Classic, and this is a fight that really does answer negative5's question, of "Best fights no one talks about?".
Enjoy and just as a heads up, this won't be the only Fuchigami fight in this section!
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