August 11th was the day in which 3 world champions were born, some 17 years apart. The first of those was South Korea's Chong Pal Park who was born in 1960 in Seoul. Park was one of the numerous South Koreans who came to prominence in the 1970's and 1980's. He won his first title in 1978, stopping fellow Korean Chang-Baek Choi for the South Korean Middleweight title, a year later he stopped Cassius Naito, the father of Rikki Naito, for the OPBF Middleweight belt. He would later claim the OPBF Light Heavyweight title before reigning supreme as one of the truly elite Super Middleweights. Firstly he would win the IBF title in 1974 and then the WBA belt in 1987 before retiring after back-to-back losses in the late 1980's.
Exactly 9 years after Park's birthday we welcomed Japan's Satoshi Iida into the world. Born in 1969 in Nagoya we saw Iida make his name in the 1990's when he became a world leader in the Super Flyweight division. Iida's first title was the Japanese Super Flyweight title that he claimed in 1994. Although he came up short in his first 2 world title attempts Iida won a the WBA Super Flyweight title in his third shot at the belt and made 2 defences before losing the belt, in 1998 to Jesus Rojas.
The third birthday was in 1977 when Thai great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam was born in Nakhon Ratchasima. The Thai great was one of the best Flyweights of recent memory and was a 2-time WBC champion who reigned for the better part of a decade between 2001 and 2012 with his 2 reigns. Although he lost the title in 2007, losing to nemesis Daisuke Naito in their 3rd meeting, he would regain the belt in 2010 by beating Koki Kameda. With more than 90 fights under his belt Wonjongkam was a throw back in many ways as he kept his career active by staying busy and fighting regularly. Although often criticised for his opposition he did tend to fight notable fighters every few fights and beat the likes of Malcolm Tunacao, Luis Alberto Lazarte, Daisuke Naito, Hidenobu Honda, Hussein Hussein, Gilbero Keb Baas, Tomonobu Shimizu, Julio Cesar Miranda, Koki Kameda, Suriyan Sor Rungvisaim Takuya Kogawa and Edgar Sosa in a career that is almost certainly Hall of Fame worthy.
As well as the birthdays the date has been a relevant one in recent years for 2 separate cards. In 2007 we saw Filipino great Gerry Penalosa defeat Mexican power puncher Jhonny Gonzalez, to claim the WBO Bantamweight title and become a 2-weight world champion. Sadly on the same card Rey Bautista was wiped out by former Penalosa foe Daniel Ponce De Leon.
The following year Momo Koseki began her reign of terror at Atomweight as she claimed the WBC title, a title she still holds 6 years later! On this very same show we also saw the debut of the always fun to watch Koki Eto. Eto has, of course, become one of the sports must exciting fighters despite his limitations whilst Koseki has set a Japanese national record of 14 world title defences!
(Image, of Satoshi Iida, courtesy of boxrec.com)