There is no doubt that Asia has produced many exceptionally talented championship boxers but unfortunately, many Asian icons have gone virtually unnoticed by boxing fans in Europe and America. No other Asian boxer has enjoyed the international fame and status like that of Manny Pacquaio, yet it cannot detract from their undeniable talent. During 2002, Ring Magazine included Khaosai Galaxy from Thailand, Fighting Harada from Japan and both Pancho Villa and Flash Elorde from the Philippines in their list of the 80 Greatest Fighters of the Last 80 Years - a great achievement for these often unrecognized boxers.
Here are the three top boxers that deserve worldwide fame.
Emmanuel Dapidran "Manny" Pacquiao was born on 17 December 1978 and is a Filipino professional boxer and politician. He is the first and only 8-division World Champion having won an astonishing 11 world titles and is commonly considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all times. Pacquiao was the first boxer to win the lineal title in 5 different weight classes and also only the third boxer in the world (and the first from Asia)to win major titles in a total of 3 of the original 8 weight divisions in boxing also known as the "glamour divisions" of flyweight, featherweight, and welterweight.
Pacquiao was named the Fighter of the Decade for the 2000’s and was also awarded the Ring Magazine and BWAA Fighter of the Year award 3 times in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He has generated an excess of 19 million pay-per-view purchases and $1.2 billion in revenue. During 2015 he was also the 2nd highest paid athlete in the world according to Forbes Magazine. Many a boxing enthusiast is of the opinion that one of the best boxing matches in the history of the sport would have been between one of Africa’s boxing greats, legend Azumah ‘The Professor’ Nelson and Manny the Asian hero.
Sohla Saenghom (Khaosai Galaxy) was born 15 May 1959 and is a former professional flyweight boxer and Muaythai kickboxer. He practiced Thai fighting in the early 1980’s but on the advice of his trainer and manager he began training as a Western style boxer. Khaosai defended his WBA world title a remarkable 19 times in seven years spanning from 1984 to 1991 winning 16 of his title fights by way of knockouts. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and is widely considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all times being ranked as #19 on the list of '100 Greatest Punchers of All Time' in Ring Magazine.
Yuh Myung-Woo was born in Seoul, South Korea on 10 January, 1964. He is a two-time WBA light flyweight champion and considered to be one of the best boxers ever to have come out of South Korea. Yuh successfully defended his title 17 times during his first reign, the record for the light flyweight division surpassing the previous record of 15 defenses set by former WBC light flyweight champion, Jung Koo Chang. Yuh is one of only a handful of fighters to have successfully defended their light flyweight title at least 10 times in a single reign.
There is a long list of of Asian boxers that could be considered some of the best ever to have engaged in the sport regardless of whether they have received the recognition or not. As the popularity in boxing increases on the continent, one can only hope that the likes of Manny Pacquaio has paved the way for the next generation of Asian boxers.
Contribution from freelance writer Jackie
If you're interested in reading more from freelance writer Jackie, their article on the 10 greatest African boxers of all time can be read here: http://www.africaranking.com/top-10-greatest-african-boxers-of-all-time/ .
The world keeps shifting under my feet and it is all just too much for my aging mind to deal with. We have a guy who has never been in a professional boxing match getting paid millions to fight a former pound-for-pound champion. We have a new boxing series which offers prizes huge enough to convince some of the best in the world to stop avoiding each other and fight. It has actually allowed the “seeded” fighters to hand pick their opponents-but from a very tough list- and in doing so leaves the four main sanctioning bodies sitting on the sidelines helpless whilst their titles are rendered superfluous and they suffer the loss of sanctioning fees. There are also changes I relish and despite the egos we can look forward to one of the most anticipated fights for years in Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul Alvarez and if Anthony Joshua and Wlad Klitschko can make their minds up whether they are going to agree the date of the last Saturday in November in Las Vegas we will also be getting the most eagerly anticipated return fight in the heavyweight division since….hell it’s been so long since there was one I can’t remember when.
The drums have been beating for Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr and the stories have been trotted out about McGregor being floored in sparring and that the odds against a McGregor win have shortened dramatically etc. but in the end it will signify nothing. Whoever wins on 26 August it will mean nothing. It won’t change a single thing in the boxing world or prove anything. It is a manufactured spectacle of no long term significance to boxing but it will be a huge spectacle and by fight time I am going to be sick of people asking who I think will win. I will give them an honest answer-I don’t care.
The World Super Series Boxing (WSSB) Is a different matter altogether as it will provide lots of fights in a relatively short time that would either not have happened at all or taken years to put together. There is no obvious down side to it although kicking the series off by clashing with the Golovkin vs. Alvarez fight is not a good start but it will certainly provide us with some top class matches and that has to be good.
There was a lot of criticism in Germany over Arthur Abraham’s performance against Chris Eubank Jr. or the lack of it His long time trainer Ulli Wegner said that Abraham no longer had the heart for boxing. This performance and Abraham’s effort in April last year against Gilberto Ramirez where he lost every round have convinced many that at 37 he should retire. The title winning efforts of the Armenian born Abraham made him a millionaire at 37 and he has invested wisely in car dealerships and real estate so he does not need the money but he may not want to go out on such a humiliating loss.
There has been a war of words going on between the WBC and the AIBA. It really is a waste of time. The AIBA will not stop dabbling in professional boxing and as long as they have the stranglehold on Olympic boxing they have a strong position. Setting up alternative amateur competitions or threatening sanctions against boxers if they fight in any AIBA events is futile. If the AIBA really think they can shove their way into professional booxng and become a player then let them. They will be no match for the big pro promoters and will just become a sanctioning body that crosses the red line on conflict of interest by also being a promoter line and they will find things different when they try to play with the big boys. The remark in the AIBA’s letter that struck me as hypocritical was where the President of the AIBA said that the word “amateur” is outdated. This from the President of the AIBA the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur!! As far as the Olympics go he is right in that in most Olympic sport it is a competition for professionals. The original ideal is dead and commercialism rules.
An indication of how things are changing is that just recently a Russian Boxing Federation has been formed from what were previously two separate bodies and they will control both amateur and professional boxing. The world keeps on changing.
Despite his June 3 fight against Fres Oquendo for the vacant secondary WBA title being cancelled after he tested positive for high testosterone levels Shannon Briggs is talking about resuming his quest for a shot the heavyweight title in October. Only in boxing could someone with two positive tests be talking about taking part in such a high profile event just four months after he gave a positive test. Hopefully it is only Briggs blowing wind but if he does fight Oquendo in October for the vacant secondary WBA title it will be a 45-year-old Briggs having his first fight for 17 months against a 44-year-old Oquendo who has not fought for 40 months. This should cause even the WBA to cringe with embarrassment.
Money matters in boxing so for those interested these were the reported purses for the fights at the weekend: Miguel Berchelt $250,000 Takashi Miura $195,000 Jezreel Corrales $75,000 Robinson Castellanos $50,000 Sullivan Barrera $120,000 Joe Smith Jr $160,000. So for a non-title ten round fight Smith took home more than Corrales and Castellanos earned between them for a title fight. It was also interesting that more money was paid out for the non-title show in Uniondale New York than in the title show in Inglewood. In Uniondale the purses were $250,000 each for both Omar Figueroa and Roberto Guerrero, $250,000 for Sean Monaghan $100,000 for Marcus Browne, $150,000 for Artur Szpilka and $100,000 for Adam Kownacki. So some big numbers but at the other end of the spectrum Top Rank won the bidding for the IBF welter eliminator between Konstantin Ponomarev and Carlos Ocampo reportedly with a bid of $30,000 which seems low. The winner of the eliminator will be the mandatory challenger to Errol Spence.
There must have been a time when Robinson Castellanos thought that appearing on a big show or being paid $50,000 for a fight or fighting for a world title were all impossible dreams. After turning pro in 2002 he went 10-10 in his first 20 fights including five losses by KO/TKO. From there he went 14-2 in his next 16 fights and ended up fighting Corrales for the WBA title-quite a turn around.
Sullivan Barrera’s win over Joe Smith Jr on Saturday has seen the two fighters now heading down very different paths. Barrera is being mentioned as a prospective opponent for both Sergey Kovalev and Nathan Cleverly and Smith is facing surgery for a fractured jaw he suffered in the second round of their fight. Boxing can be cruel and kind and this is a prime example of the way the pendulum can swing.
Whilst Barrera seems to be making progress Artur Beterbiev is finding banana skins. His proposed IBF eliminator with German Enrico Koelling was to be the main support to Mikey Garcia vs. Adrien Broner on 29 July but has had to be cancelled. It has been suggested that with Beterbiev being a Muslim from Dagestan the tighter visa restrictions introduced by the USA have caused both an application and an appeal to be refused but to complicate matters further there is a dispute between Yvon Michel and Beterbiev over the status of their contract and he still has a past manager going to the courts. The IBF have asked for purse bids for the fight by 25 July but even then nothing is certain. Will Andre Ward want to fight the winner or will he move up to cruiser, will Beterbiev fight if Michel wins the purse bidding, will Beterbiev solve his visa problems-too much uncertainty.
With their No 1 Callum Smith opting for the WSSB tournament the WBC have given a date of 28 July for purse offers for the match between Anthony Dirrell vs. David Benavidez for their vacant super middle title. On 18 August in Mendoza Argentinian Juan Carlos Reveco faces Thai Komgrich in a final eliminator to find a challenger for WBO fly champion Donnie Nietes
Good to see Billy Joe Saunders getting back into action. For a variety of reasons the WBO middleweight champion has made only one defence of his title in the 19 months since he won it. His challenger Willie Monroe was crushed in six rounds by Gennady Golovkin in 2015 but rehabilitated himself with a victory over tough Gabriel Rosado in September. In the division eliminators are already set with the WBC mandatory challenger coming from the winner of the fight between Jorge Sebastian Heiland and Jermall Charlo and the IBF from Tureano Johnson and Sergey Derevyanchenko. Neither Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam or Ryota Murata are likely opponents so if Saunders beats Monroe his list of top quality opposition is limited but things can change quickly in boxing.
The Firat Arslan vs. Goran Delic fight was not a classic. Arslan was much too good for the carefully protected Delic. The promoters missed out on a great ticket selling line-both fighters work as lawyers and I am sure there a lot of people who would gladly pay to see two lawyers beat each other up.
The “Super Series” tournaments are proving popular. Rodney Berman has already run a couple and now he is launching two more in October at super middle and super bantam which will feature both high profile fighters such as Simphiwe Vetyeka and also give some promising fighters their chance.
Two South African fighters will face Filipino fighters in world title bouts. Gideon Buthelezi will put his IBO super fly title on the line against Filipino Ryan Rey Ponteras in East London and Hekkie Budler heads out to Cebu City to challenge Milan Melindo for the IBF light fly title. It will a toughie for Budler as Melindo will be making the first defence of the title he won with a shock first round stoppage of Akira Yaegashi in Tokyo in May. Budler will be aiming to become a three division champion so won’t be fazed by travelling into the lion’s den.
One title fight per show is never enough in Japan and there will be two titles on the line in Osaka on 13 September. IBF super bantam champion Yukinori Oguni puts his title up against Ryosuke Iwasa and WBO light fly champion Kosei Tanaka defends his title against Thai Palangpol.
I can’t believe there is an outfit aiming to re-introduce bare knuckle fighting. The sport has enough of an image problem without someone taking us back to the bare knuckle days. They claim to already have acceptance from some Sates for this but I know that some countries will never legalise it. If someone suffered a serious injury it is difficult to see how a judge could view it any differently to a street fight and if someone if badly injured in a street fight the law offers no protection to any participant.
Unbeaten Isaac Dogboe continues to be a big draw in Ghana. He fights this weekend against Argentinian Javier Chacon in the first defence of his WBO International title. Chacon is his toughest test yet as the Argentinian went the distance in a challenge against Anselmo Moreno for the WBA bantam title in 2014 and challenged Jamie McDonnell for the secondary WBA title in 2014 when a dislocated shoulder forced him out of the fight. As for the eliminator status of the fight with Chacon not currently in the WBO top 15 that is not a final eliminator but another step along the path for the former Olympian.
Another important fight for a Ghanaian boxer will see Emmanuel Tagoe defending his IBO title against former IBF super feather champion Argenis Mendez. The Dominican was looking a bit like damaged goods after back to back losses to Robert Easter and Luke Campbell but last time out he scored a good win over Ivan Redkach and he is the highest profile fight the 30-year-old Tagoe has faced in his 13 year career.
So sad to read of the death of Paul Ferreri. The Australian was a truly talented boxer and a genuinely nice person. He was Australian champion at bantam, feather and super feather and Commonwealth champion at bantam and super bantam. His one world title shot came in 1976 against the great Carlos Zarate and he was stopped in twelve rounds. He was 17-2 in Australian title fights and 11-3 in Commonwealth title fights in a 78-13-5 record and was one of the greatest little men produced by Australia.
We also lost Eddie “The Animal” Lopez. The Californian heavyweight never reached the heights with a draw against Leon Spinks his highest profile achievement. His four losses in his 25-4-2 record were to John Tate, Gerry Cooney, Marty Monroe and Tony Tucker. Unfortunately Eddie was one guy boxing could not save as he was a member of one of the biggest gangs in East Los Angeles and was no stranger to jail or drugs.
Once again from my soapbox. The weekend saw more flapping glove tapes. Why can’t they tape the gloves up as normal and then just wind a band of good quality Velcro on top of the tape-or is that too simple? Historically the usual reason for a no contest was when the referee decided that one or both boxers were not giving their best and threw them both out. That was the stigma associated with a No Contest. That’s a sensible and valid use of No Contest. However If a fight ends inside four rounds due to a cut it and is not a win a loss or a draw then no decision is rendered so why do we not call it a No Contest when there was a valid contest but an unfinished one and no decision was rendered. Whoever came up with No Contest did not think it through. Here endeth the lesson!
After months of fierce competition the final of the World Series of Boxing took place at the Sport Palace in Astana as the Cuba Domadores took on the Astana Arlans with both sides looking to claim the WSB trophy for a 3rd time.
Kicking off proceedings were the Light flyweights (49kg) as Temirtas Zhussupov faced Johanys Argilagos. It was a real game of cat and mouse between them with neither man wanting to overcommit and make mistakes over the first 2 rounds. Argilagos landed more to take round 3 and Zhussupov’s slightly higher work rate saw him win the 4th. The Cuban needed a big last round but that never looked likely and Zhussupov won the unanimous decision to give his team the ideal start.
Next up at bantamweight (56kg) Ilyas Suleimenov was up against Javier Ibanez. Suleimenov made an aggressive start landing some clubbing blows to the body in an action packed opening round. Both had their successes in round 2 but the Kazak’s punches had more of an effect. Ibanez enjoyed a good round 3 and managed to keep Suleimenov at bay but he couldn’t really sustain the momentum and Suleimenov’s right hands were having far more of an impact. Despite the Kazak showing signs of fatigue in the final round he did more than enough to claim the unanimous decision to send the Arlans 2 nil up.
In a switch to the scheduled order the Heavyweights (91kg) were next in the ring as Anton Pinchuk had the dubious task of facing Erislandy Savon. Savon controlled the opening stanza with the jab and opened up more offensively in round 2 leaving Pinchuk with a mountain to climb. Pinchuk ploughed on gamely but simply wasn’t in the same league as Savon who strolled to a unanimous points victory giving the Domadores their first point of the final.
The 4th contest saw Dilmurat Mizhitov squaring off against the supremely gifted Andy Cruz at Light welterweight (64kg). Cruz easily swept the opening round and although Mizhitov showed more intent in the second he was simply unable to cope with the outstanding ability and class of the Cuban. Mizhitov managed to sustain a decent tempo in round 3 to make it competitive and the Kazak continued to pour on the pressure in round 4 however, Cruz was just too good and he got the deserved split decision leaving the match all square.
In what looked a fascinating bout at Middleweight (75kg) exciting Arlans youngster Abilkhan Amankul tangled with reigning Olympic and world champion Arlen Lopez. Lopez, whose form has been patchy in this season’s WSB shaded a tight first 3 minutes and the Cuban landed some nice body shots in round 2 but there was little to separate the pair. Lopez loaded up a lot in the 3rd and Amankul scored with a nice combination towards the end of the round. With it all to play for the penultimate round was desperately close before Lopez just did enough in the last to gain the narrow unanimous decision leaving the Cuban’s 3-2 up going in to the break.
The action then resumed with the Light heavyweights (81kg) as Arman Rysbek went up against the formidable Julio La Cruz. Rysbek was on the front foot in round 1 with La Cruz countering his Kazak opponent. Rysbek landed a nice right hand at the start of round 2 before La Cruz began to find his timing. Rysbek was made to miss on multiple occasions in round 3 and by now La Cruz was in full control of the contest. The pattern of the fight never altered and La Cruz sauntered to a wide unanimous decision and the Domadores were now 4-2 up.
It was now rather important for Olzhas Sattibayev to pull off the win against Yosbany Veitia at flyweight (52kg). Veitia landed the cleaner shots in a tight opening round and again the Cuban edged round 2 but neither man was scoring with many punches of significance. Sattibayev threw more punches in the 3rd but simply wasn’t hitting the target often enough. Sattibayev managed to close the distance more effectively in round 4 but Veitia won the final round to take the unanimous decision the leave the Arlans staring down the barrel at 5-2 down.
It was a case of must win for Super heavyweight (91+kg) Olzhas Bukayev against Yoandry Toirac. Toirac made a fast start and landed a number of solid shots in the opening round. Bukayev enjoyed far more success in the 2nd but Toirac was still scoring with some excellent combinations of his own. Toirac was deducted a point in round 3 for holding and was now up against it. The crowd really got behind Bukayev who responded accordingly and Toirac was fading in round 4. There was no doubt of the winner and Bukayev had given the Arlans a much needed life line.
Next to take to the ring at lightweight (60kg) Zakir Safiullin simply had to beat Lazaro Alvarez. Both had their moments in the first round with Alvarez scoring with the left hand and Safiullin landing with the right hand and to the body. Alvarez was the busier in round 2 and at times Safiullin was waiting too long to throw his punches and was struggling a bit to deal with the volume from the Cuban. After a close 4th, Safiullin rocked Alvarez at the start of the 5th and the pair engaged in a highly entertaining last 3 minutes. We went to the cards and despite 2 point deductions Safiullin got the split decision to leave things beautifully poised at 5-4 to the Domadores.
In a high pressure clash at welterweight (69kg) Aslambek Shymbergenov took on Roniel Iglesias. Shymbergenov flew out of the traps early on in the opening stanza before Iglesias came back in to things as the round progressed. After an absorbing 2nd round which could have gone either way Shymbergenov won the 3rd with the right hand to the body proving to be a fruitful punch for the Kazak. Shymbergenov continued to pepper the body of Iglesias and was now taking full command of the contest. Going in to the last Iglesias needed a huge turn around but it never looked like materialising and the unanimous point’s victory for Shymbergenov completed a stunning comeback from the Arlans to send us in to a tie-breaker at flyweight (52kg).
The decider was contested between debutant Olzhas Bainiyazov and Frank Zaldivar. Zaldivar got off to a positive start and it seemed he may be a bit too much for Bainiyazov after the opening round. To his credit Bainiyazov responded well and outworked Zaldivar in round 2. The bout was now being fought mostly on the inside with both leaving it all in the ring. Bainiyazov had a terrific 4th round once again doing far more than his Cuban opponent and the Kazak remain composed to seal the victory via split decision and not only complete a phenomenal turn around but also giving the Astana Arlans their 3rd WSB trophy.
Over the last week the Asian Youth Championships have been taking place in Bangkok and today saw the 10 finals take place.
First up at light flyweight (49kg) Sachin Siwach was looking to add to his world Youth gold but the Indian had to be content with Silver as Uzbekistan’s Samanda Kholmurodov took gold via a unanimous decision.
At flyweight (52kg) Japan’s Ryutaro Makagaki won a split decision over Uzbek Abdunalik Khalokov.
It was then on to the bantamweights (56kg) and Hayato Tsutsumi gave Japan their second gold with a split victory over Thailand’s Pluem Wannglaklang. Tsutsumi won world Youth gold at flyweight and looks to be the next young phenom from the land of the rising sun.
At lightweight (60kg) Kazak Samatali Toltayev overcame home boxer Sakda Ruantham on a split decision.
In the light welterweight division at (64kg) Sanatali Toltayev, twin brother of Samatali also captured gold with a split verdict over Uzbek Bilolbek Mirzarakhimov.
The host’s last chance of a gold medal came in the welterweight (69kg) division but it wasn’t to be as Farrukh Ilkhomov from Uzbekistan defeated Phiraphat Yiasungnoen via split decision.
It was then time for the middleweights (75kg) and Uzbekistan’s Rajabboy Atanazarov prevailed over China’s Zhu Chao by split decision.
At light heavyweight (81kg) Iran’s Reza Hassan Nia pulled off a sensational win as he beat Timur Ergashev from Uzbekistan on a split point’s decision.
In the heavyweight (91kg) weight category it was a Kazak Uzbek showdown and it was Profsor Rorinsha from Uzbekistan who was victorious over Danila Semenov by split verdict.
The final bout of proceedings saw the super heavyweights (+91kg) take to the ring and in another Kazak Uzbek battle Lazizbek Mullojonov claimed the unanimous decision win over his Kazak opponent Nurdaulet Ulanuly.
Ed's note - Tsutsumi was later awarded the MVP award as the boxer of the tournament, and once again a huge thanks to Marcus for doing this for us!
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.