August 30th has been one of the busiest and most important days in Asian boxing with numerous world title fights taking place on the day as well a number of important births.
We'll start with those births, the first of which was in 1966 and was that of Orzubek Nazarov, the first ever world champion from Kyrgzstan. "Gussie" was one of the first Soviet boxers to turn professional in 1990 and he rose through the ranks quickly by winning Japanese, OPBF and WBA titles at Lightweight before suffering a loss in 1998 to Jean-Baptiste Mendy and retiring. A former amateur stand out Nazarov was an amazing fighter tough sadly his career came to a sad end after he was shot in the arm and later left blind in his left eye.
Exactly 8 years after Nazarov's birthday saw the birth of Japan's Daisuke Naito. Naito would go on to win Japanese, OPBF and WBC Flyweight titles in a wonderful career that was highlighted by his 4 fight series with Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Although an under-rated fighter in the West hardcore fans will know of Naito for his wins over a number of solid fighters like Wonjongkam, Daiki Kamda, Tomonobu Shimizu and Xiong Zhao Zhong. Naito lost his world title to Koki Kameda in 2009 and retired the following year after scoring a win over Liempetch Sor Veerapol.
Back on this day in 1997 Thailand's Ratanapol Sor Vorapin made the final successful defence of his IBF Minimumweight title taking out Brazilian challenger Wellington Vicente in just 2 rounds. At the time Wellington looked like an interesting challenger though his career fell apart after this fight and he retired with a 16-15 record. As for Ratanapol he would lose his title 4 months later to Zolani Petelo and although he did later challenge for the belt he came up short against Will Grigsby and Ricardo Lopez.
In 2008 we saw two bouts of note with one ending in disappointing fashion and one ending in success. The disappointment came in Mexico where Thai great Chatchai Sasakul was stopped by Cristian Mijares in a bout for the WBC and WBA Super Flyweight titles. It was only the second time Sasakul was stopped in 69 fights with the previous one coming amost a decade earlier to a then relatively unknown Manny Pacquiao. Sadly for Sasakul this loss was effectively the end of his long career and he would fight just once more before retiring in his late 30's.
The other bout was in the Philippines where Donnie Nietes made the first defence of his WBO Minimumweight title. Nietes, one of the longest reigning champions in Filipino history, made very light work od Nicaraguan challenger Eddy Castro who was stopped in 2 rounds.
One year later fans in Mexico got the chance to see Nobuhiro Ishida defeat Marco Antonio Avendano in Mexico to claim the WBA interim Light Middleweight title. This was a second meeting between the two men and saw Ishida score one of his most notable wins, of course it was over-shadowed by his stunning win over James Kirkland less than 2 years later.
One final bout of note came last year as the great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam fought for what we believe will be the final time. The Flyweight great scored his 90th win by taking a decision over Indonesian Falazona Fidal.
(Image, of Naito and Wongjongkam from their 2008 clash, courtesy of boxrec.com)