August 29th has been quite an interesting day in Asian boxing with some great fights some, an historic event and a notable debut.
Possibly the most historic bout to happen on this day was in 1981 when Thomas Americo took on Saoul Mamby in Jakarta, Indonesia for the WBC Light Welterweight title. It was the first ever world title fight in Indonesia and saw the first Indonesian challenging for a world title. Sadly for Americo he wasn't to be the first world champion from Indonesia, unfortunately losing a split decision to the talented Mamby. Although Americo lost he did open the door for fighters like Ellyas Pical and Nico Thomas who both won world titles in the following decade.
On the same day as Americo's loss Filipino fans got the chance to celebrate as the "Bad Boy from Dadiangas" Rolando Navarrete stopped Cornelius Boza-Edwards in Italy to claim the WBC Super Featherweight title. The bout came 16 months after Navarrete had lost in a world title challenge against Alexis Arguello. Unfortunately for Navarrete his reign was to be a short one and he would lose the belt 9 months later to Rafael Limon.
The same date also pops up in the late 1990's when we had several notable bouts. The first of which was in 1998 when the then WBC Super Flyweight champion Gerry Penalosa lost his title in Seoul to In Joo Cho. The bout, which ended in a split decision was certainly not a thriller though it was competitive with both men fighting as counter punchers and effectively neutralising each other for swathes of the bout. Cho would successfully defend the title 5 times, including a rematch with Penalosa, before losing the belt in 2000 to Masamori Tokuyama. A second loss in 2001 to Tokuyama brought the end to Cho's career with a stellar record of 18-2 (7).
Just a year after the first Penalosa/Cho bout we saw notable action in Japan as Veeraphol Sahaprom stopped Joichiro Tatsuyoshi in their second meeting. Sadly for "Joe" this would be his final world title bout and after the contest many had hoped he would retire, unfortunately he would continue on and off until 2009 and is now showing signs of pugilistica dementia. As for Veeraphol his career would be an excellent one prior to his retirement in 2010 when he was 41. As a champion Sahaprom was sensational prior to running into Hozumi Hasegawa in 2005, Hasegawa would avenge Joichiro's losses to Sahaprom and beat the Thai twice in less than a year.
As for a notable debut, it was on August 29th 2003 that Akio Shibata made his pro debut stopping Hideki Kobayashi in just 39 seconds. Since then he has had a great career on the continental and domestic scenes becoming a unified champion at both 154lbs and 160lbs, though to many he is little more than the man beaten by a debuting Ryota Murata in 2013.
*At the time Timor Leste was part of Indonesia, it has since claimed independence
(Image courtesy of Navarrete courtesy of boxrec.com)