2010-Hoang Sang Nguyen v Ruddy Encarnacion
It's fair to say that boxing and Vietnam are not regularly connected, and that if we're being honest it's hard to think about many notable Vietnamese fighters. On this day in 2010 however Hoang Sang Nguyen claimed the European Union Lightweight title, in what is arguably the biggest win for a Vietnamese fighter ever.
The Spanish based Vietnamese born Nguyen would defeat Spain's Ruddy Encarnacion, in what was a second bout between the two men. It was a competitive contest, but Nguyen did just enough to earn the decision, the win and the title.
Sadly Nguyen never built on this win. He failed to defend the title and was inactive for over a year before he was KO'd by Dejan Zlaticanin, and retired, boasting a record of 25-6-1-1 (11). Amazingly Encarcion is still an active fighter, at the age of 39, and last fought in October 2018. His record is 39-27-4 (18).
1982-Rolando Navarrete v Chung Il Choi - WBC 130
Controversy in boxing is nothing new and in early 1982 we saw a lot of controversy in a WBC Super Featherweight title fight between Filipino Rolando Navarrete, the then champion, and Korean fighter Chung Il Choi. The controversy occurred in round 5, when Choi knocked the champion down before an early bell caused a clear protest from the Korean's team.
Sadly for Choi he would come up short, losing by stoppage in the 11th round whilst leading on 2 cards. By the end he was tired and looking ragged, having also been dropped in round 10, as Navarrete's experience proved to be the difference.
Choi would fight just twice more, losing in a second world title fight to Rafael Limon later the same year before retiring with a record of 14-2 (13). Navarrete on the other hand would fight on until 1991, racking up a record of 56-15-3 (33).Unfortunately for the Filipino he would lose the belt to the aforementioned Limon just months after this fight.
1959-Sadao Yaoita upsets Pascual Perez
One of the biggest upsets on Japanese soil, ever, saw 23 year old Sadao Yaoita, then 27-6-2 (1) upset the legendary Pascual Perez of Argentina. Perez, then 51-0-1 (37), was the world Flyweight champion, having held the title since 1954, he was an Olympic gold medal winner, he had won the world title in Japan beating Yoshio Shirai, he had beaten everyone he had faced and was seen as a true world champion, travelling the length of the globe to fight notable contenders.
Despite being the under-dog Yaoita out pointed Perez in a non-title bout over 10 rounds, giving Perez his first professional loss.
Sadly for the Japanese fighter a rematch wouldn't end as well for him, with Perez scoring a 13th round KO over the Japanese fighter less than 10 months later. Perez was dropped early but would rally to stop the Japanese challenger in what was a very competitive match up through the first 12 rounds.
Perez would then lose back to back fights to Pone Kingpetch, with Kingpetch becoming the first Thai world champion as a result. The diminutive Perez would fight on until 1964 and run up a record of 84-7-1 (57). Yaoita on the other hand would rack up a 53-11-2 (7) record before ending his career in 1962, sadly he would never get another world title fight.
2012-Michael Dasmarinas debut
On this day in 2012 Filipino fighter Michael Dasmarinas, now a leading Bantamweight contender, made his professional debut. The bout saw Dasmarinas beating Wilmar Pragata in Lipa City with a close 4 round decision in a bout at Light Flyweight. Since then Dasmarinas has matured into a strong and powerful Bantamweight, winning the IBO title in 2018. At the time of writing he is set for an IBF world title eliminator.
2011-Albert Pagara debut
Interestingly 1 year before Dasmarinas' debut another notable Filipino made his professional debut, this time Albert Pagara. A then 16 year old Pagara stopped Sandy Cajil in 2 rounds in Cebu City as he looked to build on his supposedly amazing amateur record. So far Pagara has shown glimpses of being a very special talent, but did sadly fall short in his big step up, losing to Cesar Juarez in 2016. At the time of writing he seems to be rebuilding well and in 2019 we're hoping to see Pagara take a big step up in class once again.
1977-Saensak Munagsurin retains against Monroe Brooks
Thai legend Saensak Muangsurin only had a short boxing career, with 20 career bouts. That career was however a remarkable one. In just his third bout Muangsurin claimed the WBC Light Welterweight title, and in his 7th bout he became a 2-time champion.
Muangsurin's 1st defense of his second reign came on this day in 1977, when he took on American challenger Monroe Brooks. The bout saw Muangsurin being dropped in round 3, before battling back to stop the American in the 15th round, with just over a minute of the bout remaining.
Sadly for Muangsurin his career would end in 1981, when he retired with a record of 14-6 (11). By the time of his retirement Muangsurin was suffering with various health issues that effected him though to the end of his life, in 2009.
1966-Pichit Sithbanprachan's birthday
We'd also like to wish former IBF Flyweight champion Pichit Sithbanprachan a happy birthday! The often forgotten Thai hld the IBF Flyweight title from 1992, when he stopped Rodolfo Blanco, through to 1994, when he announced his retirement with 5 defenses under his belt. He would later go on to make two comebacks before walking away from the sport for good with a record of 24-0 (18).
Born Supap Hanwichachai, Pichit was a very strong fighter who scored notable wins over Blanco, Dan Nietes, Kyung Yung Lee, Arthur Johnson and Jose Luis Zepeda. His style wasn't suited to a long career however and his prime was over before his 28 birthday, explaining why he originally retired so young.
2017-Kyotaro Fujimoto claims OPBF Heavyweight title!
Even now it's hard to think of Japanese fighters having success at Heavyweight, though Kyotaro Fujimoto has been an exception to all logic. On this day in 2017 he defeated Willie Nasio to claim the OPBF title, becoming the first Japanese fighter to unify the Japanese and OPBF Heavyweight titles, before later adding the WBO Asia Pacific title to his collection.
Since winning the OPBF title Fujimoto has recorded 4 defenses of the title, become a triple champion and edged towards a potential world title fight. Nasio on the other hand has gone 2-1 since this loss and claimed an Australian state title.
Interestingly on the same show Takeshi Inoue began his rapid rise through the ranks with a then career best win over Akinori Watanabe, and by the end of the year he had unified the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight titles.
2012 -Wandee Singwancha score final career win
Thailand's Wandee Singwancha, also known as On Doowiset, fought between 1994 and 2013, facing a who's who of the Asian during his long career. Sadly his career ended with 3 losses, and his last win was over a year removed from his final bout, and was a low key one against fellow Thai Truperjames Sithdajin.
Followinf the win over Truperjames on this day in 2012 Wandee would suffer losses to YushinTanaka, Shinichiro Morikawa and Rex Tso, retiring after the Tso loss with a record of 67-17-1 (18).
During his 85 fight career Wandee would travel the world, fighting in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, England, Philippines and Hong Kong before retiring at the age of 33.
1968-Leo Espinosa fights for the final time
Although Filipino fighter Leo Espinosa failed to win a world title, coming up short in 3 world title bouts, his career was a genuinely notable one. He scored wins over Yoshio Shirai and Pone Kingpetch, was a 3 time OPBF Bantamweight champion and compiled an excellent 64-28-3 (8) record.
Espinosa's career began in 1948 and ended around 20 years later. During his 95 fight career he faced a who's who, battling the likes of Pascual Perez , Raul Macias, Pone Kingpetch, Sadao Yaoita and Eder Jofre.
Whilst Leo failed at world level his nephew Luisito Espinosa did become a 2-weight champion.
2003-Sirmongkol Singwancha defeats Yong Soo Choi to retain WBC crown!
The career of both Sirimongkol Singwancha and Yong Soo Choi have been, strange to say the least, and it should really be no surprise that the two crossed over at some point, as they did on January 13th 2003.
Sirimongkol turned professional in 1994, and last fought in September 2018, yes he had a 24 year career, during which he moved from Flyweight to Light Heavyweight, winning the WBC Bantamweight and Super Bantamweight titles. Choi on the other hand debuted in 1990 and last fought in Februar 2017, a 27 year career! Like Sirimongkol the Korean was a top Super Featherweight, holding the WBA title for almost 4 years back in the 1990's.
In 2003 they clashed, at the Korakuen Hall with Sirimongkol taking a clear decision win over the Korean, in what would be Choi's last bout for 13 years, before start a strange comeback in 2016. Interestingly this would be Sirimongkol's last successful defense of the title, as he lost it just 7 months later to Jesus Chavez, before moving through the weights and fighting in weight classes he should never have been in.
Choi's record, at the time of writing, is 31-4-1 (21) whilst Sirimongkol has notched up 100 fights, with a record of 96-4 (61).
1996-Hi Yong Choi loses WBA title to Carlos Murillo
On this day in 1996 Korean fighter Hi Yong Choi lost the WBA Light Flyweight title to Panama's Carlos Murrillo. At the time was having his second reign as a world champion, having taken the belt from Hiroki Ioka in February 1995, but it would end with a clear decision loss to Murillo, and it seemed clear that Choi wasn't the fighter he had once been.
Murrillo's reign was a short one. He successfully defended the belt once before losing it to former Choi foe Keiji Yamaguchi in May 1996. Murrillo would lose again to Yamaguchi in a rematch and round in the mid 00's with a record of 38-11-1 (29), going 5-9-1 (2) following his win over Choi.
The loss sent Choi into retirement at the age of 32, which in fairness is pretty old for a smaller fighter. Upon retirement Choi had a record of 19-2 (8), had held the WBA titles at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight and gone 7-2 (2) in world title fights.
1990-In Chul Baek defeats Yoshiaki Tajima to retain
When we think of the great Korean punchers few challenge In Chul Baek, who had an 86% KO rate when he retired. His final win, and final successful defense of the WBA Super Middleweight title, came on this day in 1990, when he stopped Japanese challenger Yoshiaki Tajima.
Tajima was a pretty unfit challenger to take on Baek, with a record of 9-4-1 (5). Much of Tajima's career had come at Middleweight, where he had won the Japanese and OPBF titles, but was taking a huge step up in class to take on the 46-2 (42) Baek. To his credit Tajima proved to be tough, but end up retiring after round 7 to give Baek his second defense of the title.
For Tajima this would be the end of his career and he would retire 9-5-1 (5), and it would also be his sole stoppage loss. Baek on the other hand would fight once more, losing the title to French fighter Christophe Tiozzo less than 3 months after his bout with Tajima. After losing he too would retire, with a record of 47-3 (43)
1993-Morris East's reign ends
One of the forgotten names of Filipino boxing is Morris East, who was a real prodigy in the late 1980's and early 1990's. That is despite the fact that East is the youngest ever Filipino world champion, having won the WBC Light Welterweight title in 1992, whilst still a teenager. He won the title with an 11th round TKO win over Akinobu Hiranaka, in what was the Ring Magazine KO of the Year. Sadly though his reign came to an end on this day in 1993, when he was stopped by Jean Martin Coggi in Argentina.
Sadly after his title loss East would never have the same success, going 4-2, being suspended by the GAB and then retiring in his early 20's with a record of 20-4 (12). He would later go on to be a trainer, and work with several notable fighters.
Whilst East retired young Coggi would make numerous defenses, before losing the title to Frankie Randall in 1994. He would reclaim it from Randall in 1996, lose it in a rubber match to Randall and retire in 1999, in his late 30's, with a record of 75-5-2 (44).
1991- Naoto Takahashi's last bout
A huge personal favourite of ours is Naoto Takahashi, a man we will look to talk about as much as possible. Sadly his career ended on this day in 1991 after a bout with Korean foe Jong Pil Park. The bout ended with Takahashi suffering a 9th round KO loss, and suffering a brain bleed as a result. He went down in the 9th round in awful way, was stretchered from the ring and in the end he was lucky to receive the medical treatment needed to save his life.
Takahashi is still alive, but is a long way removed from what he was as a sighter. The injury still has major negative effects on his life and sadly he was only 23 when the injury occurred.
Takahashi's record after this bout was 19-4 (14), during his career he had been one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, but the excitement and wars he had been involved in certainly helped lead to the injury he suffered here. As for Park he would go 3-1-1 (1) before retiring in 1993 with a record of 21-3-1 (8)
1963-Pone Kingpetch gets revenge over Japanese legend
In 1963 we saw Asian legends clash, for the second time in just over 3 months. In October 1962 Japan's Fighting Harada, one of the most significant Japanese fighters ever, stopped Pone Kingpetch in 11 rounds to become the World Flyweight champion. On January 12th 1963 the two men would rematch with Kingpetch taking a majority decision to reclaim the title, and begin his second reign.
Interestingly Kingpetch's reign was a short one, losing in his first defense to Hiroyuki Ebihara before reclaiming the title in a rematch against Ebihara. He would retire in 1966, with a record of 28-7 (9) and sadly passed away at the age of 47. He is still remembered as Thai boxing icon, and their first ever world champion.
Harada would go on to secure his legacy over the years that followed, retiring in 1970 after a second failed attempt at claiming the WBC Featherweight title. During his career he would win no only the Flyweight title but also the Bantamweight crown, twice beating the legendary Eder Jofre. He would retire with a record of 55-7 (22), and is still a key figure in Japanese boxing at the age of 76.
2010-Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym retains
Thailand's Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym had held the "interim" WBA Super Bantamweight title back in 2005-2006 and then again 2009. Eventually he claimed the full version of the title in 2009, stopping Bernard Dunne in Dublin. His first defense saw him travel to Tokyo to face hard hitting Japanese challenger Satoshi Hosono, who was unbeaten at 16-0.
Poonsawat, a real world class fighter, was given problems by the hard nosed challenger, who marched forward through out, but did enough to retain the title with a majority decision. Sadly for the Thai he would only actually record one more successful defense, over-coming Shoji Kimura, before losing in October to Ryol Li Lee, in what was a real upset.
Sadly for the Thai his career would never these loft peaks again, retiring in 2012 with a record of 48-2 (33) following the chance discovery of a serious blood disorder ahead of a bout with Guillermo Rigondeaux. The bout was cancelled with the Cuban and Poonsawat retired. For Hosono things were disappointing, he would lose in another world title fight to Celestino Caballero, suffer a technical draw with Chris John and then suffer late career losses to Jonathan Victor Barros and Reiya Abe, to fall to 33-4-1 (22).
2010-Takashi Uchiyama becomes king!
On the same card as the Poonsawat Vs Hosono bout we saw Takashi Uchiyama announce himself on the world stage, with a 12th round KO win against Juan Carlos Salgado for the WBA Super Featherweight title.
Salgado was looking to make his first defense following a shock win over Jorge Linares in October 2009. He was however unable to over-come "KO Dynamite", who was in the lead before closing the show in the final round. The win began a reign of terror from Uchiyama which lasted until he was upset by Jezreel Corrales in 2016. A second loss to Corrales sent Uchiyama into retirement with a record of 24-2-1 (20).
During his reign Uchiyama managed an impressive 11 title defenses, with 9 TKO's, including wins over Takashi Miura, Jorge Solis, Daiki Kaneko and Jomthong Chuwatana. He has now opened up his own boxing gym, the KOD Lab Boxing Gym.
2002-Veeraphol Sahaprom retains
When we talk about Thai greats it's impossible not to talk about Veeraphol Sahaprom, who in his prime was truly feared. He was a sensation fighter with spiteful power, a solid jab and very under-rated skills.He would win the WBC Super Flyweight title in just his 4th bout and despite having a short reign was still regarded as a major player. He moved up to Bantamweight soon after losing the Super Flyweight title and began his real reign of terror, at Bantamweight.
Sahaprom took the WBC Bantamweight title from Japanese star Joichiro Tatsuyoshi in December 1998 and made 14 defenses of the belt. The 8th of those came on this day in 2002, when he faced off with Mexican tough guy Sergio Perez. Perez was an undeserving challenger, with a 23-9 (16) record but has never been stopped and showed his toughness in going 12 rounds with Sahaprom, in what was a wide decision loss. Notably Perez wouldn't be stopped until 2012, when Abner Cotto stopped him in 7 rounds and he then suffered stoppages in his final 2 bouts.
Sahaprom's reign would continue until April 2005, when he lost a close decision to Hozumi Hasegawa in Japan. A rematch with Hasegawa saw Sahaprom being stopped. He would never reclaim a world title but he would continue on until 2010 when he retired with a record of 66-4-2 (46).
1966-Yoshinori Nishizawa's birthday
We're also saying happy birthday to Japanese veteran Yoshinori Nishizawa, who had a very interesting career as a fighter before linking up with the Ohashi gym recently as a trainer. Nishizawa made his debut back in 1986 and would fight for the last time as a professional in 2011, he career spanned more than 25 years and saw him fighting well into his 40's.
In his pomp Nishizawa won the Japanese Middleweight title, in 1997, and then won the OPBF Super Middleweight title, in 1999, and again in 2001. Although a relative unknown in the West Nishizawa would challenge the WBA Super Middleweight champion Anthony Mundine and WBC champion Markus Beyer, both in 2004, before moving up in weight to claim the OPBF Light Heavyweight title at the age of 40! From there his career meandered for a few years before he retired with a record of 31-21-6 (19)
Last year he joined the training team at the Ohashi Gym and is now a key figure there bringing on the next general of talent through one of the top gyms in Japan. With his experience, know how and proven ability to perform in older age he is an ideal mentor to the fighters at the Ohashi gym, along with Hideyuki Ohashi himself, and Koji Matsumoto.
2012-Takao Sakurai passes
On this day former Japanese fighter Takao Sakurai, who had the Olympic gold medal at Bantamweight in the 1964 Olympics, passed away at the age of 70. He was the first Japanese fighter to win an Olympic gold medal, and even now he is one of just two fighters to achieve that feat with Ryota Murata being the other.
Following his Olympic success in 1964 Sakurai turned professional, making his debut in 1965, and would win his first 22 fights before challenging the then WBC and WBA Bantamweight champion Lionel Rose. Rose would defeat Sakurai by majority decision, giving the Japanese hero his first loss. He would rebuild from that set back and earn a shot at Ruben Olivares in 1969 and would be stopped in 6 rounds by the Mexican great. He would end his career by winning the OPBF Bantamweight title, before hanging up the gloves with a record of 30-2 (4).
Sakurai's death was from esophageal cancer. Incidentally he was trained by Hitoshi Misako, who celebrated his 78th birthday the same day that Sakurai passed.
1988-Bong Jun Kim comes up short in historical bout
In 1988 Venezuelan fighter Leo Gamez travelled to Korea to battle against Bong Jun Kim, for the newly created WBA Minimumweight title. At the time Gamez was 16-0 (11) whilst Kim was 14-4-3 (5), with a notable win over Hideyuki Ohashi. Sadly for Kim he would lose a razor thin decision, losing on all 3 scorecards by a single point, as Gamez became the first ever WBA Minimumweight champion.
Gamez would later go on to win titles at Light Flyweight, Flyweight and Super Flyweight to become the first man to claim world titles in the lowest 4 divisions. Kim however would become the second man to win the WBA Minimumweight title, beating Agustin Garcia for the belt after Games vacated it.
Kim would go on to make 5 defenses of the belt before losing it to Hi Yong Choi in 1991 then fail in an attempt to win the WBA Light Flyweight title, coming up short to Hiroki Ioka. He would retire in the mid 1990's with a record of 24-10-3 (10).
1964-Myung Woo Yuh's birthday
Although the aforementioned Bong Jun Kim failed to win the WBA Light Flyweight title the same cannot be said of Korean legend Myung Woo Yuh, who turns 55 today! "Sonagi" was one of two Korean icons at Light Flyweight, along with Jung Koo Chang, and held the WBA title from 1985, when he defeated Joey Olivo, to 1991 when he lost to Hiroki Ioka. He would reclaim the title from Ioka the following year and scored 1 more defense in 1993.
Yuh's career would see him go 38-1 (14) in a career that began in 1982 and ended after his final bout in 1993. During that time he fought in 21 world title bouts, going 20-1 in them, beating not only Olivo and Ioka but also Rodolfo Blanco and Leo Gamez, among others.
Yuh would later be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and work in promoting boxing in Korea.
1934-Hitoshi Misako's birthday
Having previously mentioned Hitoshi Misako it seems right to talk a little bit more about Mr Misako, who was a notable fighter in the 1950's and runs one of the oldest and most well established gyms in Japan, the Misako gym.
As a fighter Mr Misako fought between 1950 and 1958, running up a 31-14-5 (6) record. Although not amazing on paper he did win the Japanese and OPBF titles and shared the ring with the likes of Leo Espinosa, Tanny Campo and Pone Kingpetch.
The Misako gym was set up in 1960 and is still running today, albeit having moved location.
2006-Eagle Den Junlaphan retains
The most recent bout of note on this day, at least in Asia, saw Eagle Den Junlaphan retain the WBC Minimumweight title with a decision win over Japan's Ken Nakajima. The bout was the first for Eagle Den since he regained the WBC title from Katsunari Takayama in August 2005.
The bout showed that Eagle Den, who has been out of the ring prior to beating Takayama due to a shoulder injury, still had it and he actually went on to stop Nakajima in the 7th round, in what was Eagle Den's only stoppage win at world level.
The Japanes based Thai would continue his reign on until late 2007, notching notable defenses against Rodel Mayol, Lorenzo Trejo and Akira Yaegashi, before losing to Oleydong Sithsamerchai. After the loss to Sithsamerchai we saw Eagle Den retire from the ring with a record of 18-2 (6).
1984- Isao Kimura passes
Japan's Isao Kimura is certainly not a name that we expect many readers to be familiar with, but he was a fighter who debuted in 1979 and sadly lost his life in 1984, following injuries suffered in a bout with Rikuo Watanabe, who he had previously lost to twice previously. He was just 28.
His career had seen him cram 25 bouts into less than 5 years as a fighter, during which time he suffered 7 stoppage losses, including one to Watanabe. His career ended in worrying fashion with 5 stoppage losses in just over 18 months before his death. The rules in Japan now have prevented thins like this happening, it's clear that his death was one that was avoidable
1983-Katsuo Tokashiki retains
Japanese fighter Katsuo Tokashiki had a short yet packed career. He debuted in December 1978 less than 3 years later he would upset Hwan-Jin Kim and claim the WBA Light Flyweight title, in his 16th bout. From then on all but 1 of his career bouts was a world title bout, until his retirement in 1984. In less than 6 years he had debuted, fought in 9 world title fights and left a notable mark.
On this day in 1983 Tokashika scored his last win a world title bout, and his second career win, as he defeated former champion Hwan-Jin Kim, in a rematch over 15 rounds to retain the WBA title. The bout came 13 months after their first clash and again saw Tokashiki take the win. This was 4 Tokashiki's 4 defense of the title.
Tokashiki's reign came to an end just 6 month later, losing the second of 3 bouts with Lupe Madera who he had previously drawn with. His career would then end in 1984 following a TKO loss to the rampant Jung Koo Chang. His record was 19-4-2 (4).
Incidentally Kim never fought again after losing to Tokashiki the second time, retiring with a record of 22-2-2 (8).
1988-Tae Shik Jun's debut
The Korean boxing scene isn't what it once was, however it's certainly not as dead as it was just a couple of years ago. Sadly we are a long way removed from the Gold age though it will only take 1 fighter to kick start the country's significance at world level. Amazingly it's 31 years ago that Tae Shik Jun made his professional debut.
Jun's career what a short one, but a notable one. Just 16 months after his debut he had claimed the South Korean Featherweight title and he continued his rise through the ranks, before challenging countryman Young Kyun Park in 1993 for the WBA Featherweight title. Sadly Jun lost to his compatriot, with Park losing the title just months later to Eloy Rojas.
Jun would only fight once more after losing to Park, retiring with a career record of 17-1 (10), winning his final bout against Ronnie Boy Pena in November 1993.
1975-Oguma loses to Canto
In 1975 Japan's Shoji Oguma attempted to defend the WBC Flyweight title against Mexican Miguel Canta. Oguma has won the title 3 months earlier, defeating Betulio Gonzalez, but was narrowly beaten by Canto, with both men feeling they had deserved the win. It was razor thin, with Canto taking the majority decision.
Despite the loss the Oguma wanted a rematch, and would actually get 2 of them in 1978. Sadly for Oguma he would lose both, the first rematch was a split decision win for Canto whilst the second rematch was unanimous decision for Canto. Despite Canto going 3-0 all 3 bouts were razor close, and Oguma is often a forgotten man in the division.
Interestingly Oguma would reclaim the title in 1980, defeating Chan Hee Park, the man who had ended Canto's reign. Not only did he win the title back in 1980 but was also named the Ring Magazine Comeback of the Year fight for the year.
1959-Deuk Koo Kim's birthday
Tragic Korean fighter Deuk Koo Kim was born on this day in 1959. The courageous Korean ran up a 17-1-1 (8) record before making his US debut and challenging Ray Mancini for the WBA Lightweight title in 1982. Kim would be stopped early in round 14, and sadly passed away a few days.
The bout with Mancini forced boxing to change, with changes to the medical checks of the sport and the length of bouts, with various bodies cutting length of fights from 15 to 12 rounds. The WBC was the first to act, though all other followed suit in the years that followed.
Prior to fighting Mancini Kim was a real unknown outside of Asia, where he had held and defended the OPBF title and had been unbeaten in 16 fights. Whilst he had good form on paper the bout was a huge step up in class. He was competitive, but in the end his desire to win and insane toughness came at the highest price.
When looking for major events from the Asian boxing calendar to have taken place on January 7th we struggled to find many, though have come across 3 different ones, all form Japan.
2006- Shinsuke Yamanaka's debut
It was on this day in 2006 that "God's Left" Shinsuke Yamanaka made his professional debut. He would take a wide 6 round decision win over Hitoshi Takahashi and begin his rise through the Bantamweight division. His rise saw him win the Japanese title in 2010, stopping Mikio Yasuda, defending it just once, stopping Ryosuke Iwasa, before moving on to win the WBC title.
As the WBC Bantamweight champion Yamanaka's was a very impressive one, starting in November 2011 and running through to August 2017, when he was beaten for the first time by the controversial Luis Nery.
Yamanaka would retire in 2018 with a career record of 27-2-2 (19) and victories over the likes of Iwasa, Vic Darchinyan, Tomas Rojas, Malcolm Tunacao, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, Liborio Solis and Anselmo Moreno, and became one of the key figures at the Teiken Gym.
1979- Yoko Gushiken Retains title
We are exactly 40 years removed from Yoko Gushiken's 7th defense of the WBA Light Flyweight title, which he notched by stopping Rigoberto Macano in their second bout. The two had fought in 1977, with Gushiken taking a 15 round split decision win over the Venezuelan.
Marcano again put up a good fight, but was knocked out in the 7th round as Gushiken's reign continued into 1981, and he ended up setting a Japanese record 13 world title defenses, a record that still stands to this very day.
Gushiken would go on to run a gym, which has Daigo Higa among it's fighters, and is still a popular figure among Japanese fight fans.
1976 - Kayoko Ebata's birthday
Former Japanese world champion Kayoko Ebata was born on this day in 1976.
Although a much lesser name in boxing than Yamanaka and Gushiken, Ebata has been a key figure in female boxing in Japan. She made her debut in 2007 and unfortunately for her she got a reputation as an almost lady, losing her bigger fights by close decision. In 2017 however she upset Erika Hanawa and became the WBO Female Minimumweight champion. She would hold the title until December 2018, when she was 42.
With the fighter turning 43 today it's unclear what her future holds, though we suspect she will have some sort of a role as a trainer, or gym ambassador, in the future, highlighting just how much she has meant to female boxing in Japan, despite only holding a record of 12-8 (6).