October 18th has been an interesting day in the world of Asian boxing with several very interesting bouts coming on this day through out history. Some of those bouts have been great, others memorable and we've also got a birthday that came on this date.
The first bout of note came in 1974 when when the excellent Susumu Hanagata successfully won the WBA Flyweight title with a 6th round stoppage over Thailand's Chartchai Chionoi. The bout was the second between the two men and saw Hanagata avenging a defeat from the previous year though the notable feature of this contest was that it was the beginning of the end for both men. Hanagata would lose the belt in his first defense, to Erbito Salavarria, before going out on a trio of successive losses whilst Chionoi would go 1-1 in his subsequent bouts before retiring.
Just 5 years after the Hanagata/Chinoi bout we saw a true legend of the ring make his US debut though was sadly only a shadow of the fighter he once was. That was Saensak Muangsurin, the Thai who had won a world title in just his 3rd professional bout. Sadly Muangsurin's US debut came against the fast emerging Tommy Hearns and at the time Muangsurin looked like an old and badly damaged fighter. It was easy for Hearns to take the win and over the following years Hearns would become on of the true stars of global boxing whilst Muangsurin would become a very ill man and die an untimely death that was likely hastened by his long fighting career.
In 1989 we saw another Thai suffer an ugly defeat as the great Khaokor Galaxy, the twin brother of Khaosai Galaxy, suffered the one and only stoppage defeat of his career. The teak tough Thai was stopped in a round by Filipino fighter Luisito Espinosa in a shocking contest that saw Galaxy losing his WBA Bantamweight title and announce his retirement with some suggesting he had suffered a major neurological injury whilst others accused the bout to be a case of match fixing. Whatever the reason for the ending it was certainly bizarre and shocking.
The final bout of note was in 2003 when South Korean tough-guy In Jin Chi traveled to Britain to partake in his first, of two, bouts with the UK's Michael Brodie for the WBC Featherweight title. The bout, an hellacious battle between to two and proud warriors, was fantastic from the start to the end with the only disappointing part of the bout being it's ending, a controversial and confusing draw. A rematch less than 6 months later saw Chi stopping the British fighter to win the title for the first time whilst Brodie's dreams were shattered. Sadly Chi was the last great South Korean fighter and the last to prove his ability against other, world class, fighters and the country really needs someone to follow in his footsteps.
As well as the bouts we have also got the birthday of the brilliant Payao Poontarat to celebrate and a chance to remember the Thai who sadly died in August 2006. Poontarat first made his name in 1976 when, as a teenager, he won an Olympic bronze medal in Montreal. He would later go on to claim the WBC Super Flyweight title and, in later life become a Thai politician. Unfortunately his life was taken at the age of 48 due to Lou Gehrig's disease.
(Image, of Espinsosa, courtesy of boxrec.com)