September 5th 2014 promises to be a huge day for Japanese boxing fans however it's not the first notable "September 5th" in boxing and we've seen various notable fights falling on this date through out history.
In 1972 Filipino puncher Ben Villaflor fought to a 15 round draw with Victor Federico Echegaray to retain his WBA Super Featherweight title. The bout, fought in Hawaii, saw Villaflor floor Argentinian challenger Echegaray in round 8 though it wasn't enough to secure a win. What it did do however was help Villaflor to his first defence.
Exactly 15 years after the Villaflor/Echegaray bout we saw another Filipino defending his world title, though with less success than Villaflor. That was Dodie Boy Penalosa who was defending the IBF Flyweight title against South Korean puncher Chang-Ho Choi. For Penalosa it was the first defence of the belt he had taken from Hi-Sup Shin though it turned out to be an ill fated defence. Penalosa was in charge for 10 rounds and well up on the score cards though Choi let loose in round 11 and managed to stop Penalosa, turning the bout around in a remarkable finish to claim the belt.
On the very same day Thai fans had reason to celebrate as their WBC Flyweight champion Sot Chitalada battered South Korean Rae-Ki Ahn to a 4th round KO. For Chitalada this was his 5th defence whilst Ahn was fighting in his only world title bout.
Whilst many fighters fought on this day few will really hate the day as much as Keiji Yamaguchi who fought title bouts on this day in 1995 and 1999. In 1995 Yamaguchi lost his first world title bout, dropping a split decision to South Korean fighter Hi-Yong Choi, the then WBA Light Flyweight champion. Exactly 4 years later in a WBC Super Flyweight title challenger against In-Joo Cho. The bout saw Yamaguchi being dropped twice late in the bout and suffering a point deduction early on to seal his fate in a clear loss. Thankfully for Yamaguchi he manage to have a short world title reign between those losses.
Between Yamaguchi's losses we saw another Japanese fighter having success and on this day in 1998 fans saw Takanori Hatakeyama claimed the WBA Super Featherweight title with a narrow decision victory over Korean visitor Yong-Soo Choi. The bout twisted and turned like a great story and although now a forgotten contest it really was one of the truly engaging contests that show that boxing really can write the best stories in sport.
(Image, of Sot Chitalada, courtesy of boxrec.com)