February 17th has been a notable day for Asian Boxing, with 2001 in particular holding a special place in boxing it hosted the amazing bout between Takanori Hatakeyama, the then WBA Lightweight champion, and Japanese based American born fighter Rick Yoshimura, born Frederick Roberts.
Hatakeyama had taken the title from Gilberto Serrano and was making his first defense against. Yoshimura on the other hand had made 22 defenses of the Japanese title before getting this shot at the WBA belt. The contest ended up being a 12 round slog, with Yoshimura trying to box, using his footwork to fight at range whilst Hatakeyama was relentlessly coming forward , making for a great fight.
The bout would be one of the hidden classics of the early 00's with Hatakeyama narrowly retaining his title, thanks to a draw.
Sadly neither man would ever quite be the same following this war, and neither would win a bout afterwards. Yoshimura would losing his following 2 bouts, before retiring and eventually setting up a gym. Hatakeyama on the other hand would lose the title just 5 months later, losing a decision to Julien Lorcy, before retiring and also setting up a gym of his own with Shinji Takehara.
Also on the date:
1980-Tae Shik Kim Vs Luis Ibarra
1976-Koichi Wajima Vs Jae Doo Yuh