Since the turn of the millennium we've had 3 notable fights falling on December 15th.
Arguably the biggest of those was also the most recent and came in 2012 when Filipino icon Nonito Donaire managed to retain the WBC Super Bantamweight title with an easy and one sided beat down of all-action Mexican Jorge Arce. Following the bout Arce announced his retirement from the ring though quickly returned to action and has since fought 4 times, including a notable loss to Jhonny Gonzalez earlier this year. For Donaire was his last at Super Bantamweight and since then he has gone 2-2 in bouts with a trio of those contests coming at Featherweight.
Back in 2007 we saw Filipino fighter Bert Batawang come up short in an IBF Light Flyweight title bout against Ulises Solis. This was the first meeting between the two men and was an easy win for Solis who stopped the Filipino in the 9th round following a very one sided bout. The most impressive thing that Batawang did was take punishment and he was never in the fight. A rematch in 2010 saw Solis stopping the Pinoy in just 6 rounds.
In 2001 we saw Thailand's Ratanachai Sor Vorapin come up short against American fighter Tim Austin in what was the Thai's second world title bout. It wasn't until May 2004 that Ratanachai would eventually win a world title, in what was his 64th professional bout and his third world title shot.
The first of the bouts we came across was from 1967 when Japanese fans enjoyed an all Japanese clash for the then unified Super Featherweight crown. The fight saw Yoshiaki Numata entered the bout as the WBA and WBC champion at 130lbs, with both titles having been taken from the great Flash Elorde some 6 months earlier, though they left with Hiroshi Kobayashi who dropped Numata several times to force a 12th round stoppage. Numata, for all his bravery was behind on the scorecards entering round 12 and would have needed a sweep to retain his belts.
A year later Filipino fans had reason to celebrate as Pedro Adigue Jr took a decision over Adolph Pruitt to claim the WBC Light Welterweight title. It was the first time the WBC and WBA titles in the division has been held by different men with the WBA belt then being in the possession of the great Niccolino Locche, who had beaten Takeshi Fuji just 2 days earlier.
It was almost 20 years later, 1986, that we had out third bout of note as legends collided in the Sum-In Gymnasian in Incheon. The bout saw the sensation Jung Koo Chang retain his WBC Light Flyweight title with a 5th round TKO of Japan's Hideyuki Ohashi in what was their first meeting. The two would fight again in 1988 and although Ohashi lasted longer in that contest he was still stopped by the “Korean Hawk” who actually retired after the second bout. Ohashi would later become a 2-time Minimumweight world champion and then set up the Ohashi gym, one of the best in Japan right now. Chang on the other hand would later be inducted into the IBHOF.
Most recently, 2013, we saw Kazakhstan fighter Beibut Shumenov make light work of the horribly over-matched Tamas Kovacs. Shumenov won in 3 rounds dropping Kovacs in every round of what was essentially a show case to help build up a contest between Shumenov and Bernard Hopkins the following year.
The first of the bouts we found for this day was in 1978 when Masashi Kudo made the first defense of the WBA Light Middleweight title. Kudo narrowly over-came Ho Joo with a majority decision. For Joo this was to be his sole world title fight whilst Kudo went on to defend the title a further 2 times.
In 1980 US fans had the chance to see South Korean puncher Tae-Shik Kim in action. Sadly for Kim he would go on to lose the WBA Flyweight title by split decision as he was narrowly out pointed by South African fighter Peter Mthebula. For Kim this was his sole bout out side of the US and although he lost he did put up a stirring fight.
Fans in Japan saw the always popular Jiro Watanabe record his penultimate defence as he successfully defended the WBC Super Flyweight against Suk-Hwan Yun on this day in 1985. Yun was stopped in 5 rounds in what appears to have been his sole world title title fight and his 6th career bout. Sadly Watanabe would lose in his next fight, suffering a close decision loss to the great Gilberto Roman
In 1987 Korean fans got a treat as Jung-Koo Chang successfully defended his WBC Light Flyweight title in a very hard fought and close fight with Isidro Perez. This would be Chang's penultimate defense before he retired, for the first time, in 1988. It was oen of Chang's toughest fight and seemed to indicate that he was struggling, either with the weight or with his insane activity, though he did look impressive 6 months later when he dismantled Hideyuki Ohashi in Japan. Perez would later claim the WBO Flyweight title.
Most recently, in 1993, Japanese fans saw their adopted Russian fighter Yuri Arbachakov successfully defend the WBC Flyweight title wuth a clear 12 round decision win over Nam-Hoon Cha. The bout was Cha's only world title fight and saw a 24 fight unbeaten run come to an end. As for Arbachakov this was his 4th defense in a little under 18 months , he would continue to defend the belt until he lost the title in 1997.
We've got to admit we've really struggled to find much of note that has happened on December 12th, though we have managed to come across 2 bouts of note and an active fighter who is celebrating his birthday.
In 1968 fans in Japan saw the Japanese based Hawaiian born fighter Takeshi Fuji lose the WBA Light Welterweight to the amazingly elusive Nicolino Locche. Fuji was one of the students of the great Eddie Townsend and in 1967 he claimed the unified Light Welterweight titles with a stoppage against Sandro Lopopolo. Sadly he was stripped of the WBC title after a single defense and then lost the WBA title, via 10th round retirement, to Locche who made him look second rate in comparison.
In 2000 Masamori Tokuyama became the first "North Korean" to successfully defend a world title as he clearly out pointed Akihiko Nago. Tokuyama, who was born in Japan though associated himself with North Korea at that point in his career, successfully retained the WBC Super Flyweight title for the first time. For Nago this was his second shot at a world title after he had previously lost in a WBA world title bout some 13 months earlier, for Tokuyama however it continued a very memorable career that saw him becoming a 2-time world champion.
In terms of birthday's we'd like to to say happy birthday to Filipino fan favourite Denver Cuello who was born on this date in 1986.
In 1988 South Korean fighter Soon-Jung Kang attempted to claim the WBC Light Flyweight title, unfortunately he came up short against German Torres. Torres had lost a trio of bouts for the same title to Jung-Koo Chang though when "Korean Hawk" retired Torres managed to finally win the belt with a win over Kang, it was Torres's 5th world title bout. Sadly for Kang he retired after this fight though Korean fans got the last laugh with Yul Woo Lee stopping Torres for the title in 1989, in what was to be Torres final world title bout.
In 1992 Katsuya Onizuka recorded the second defense of the WBA Super Featherweight title as he clearly beat Mexican challenger Armando Castro with a 12 round decision. Onizuka would defent the belt until September 1994 when he finally came up short losing his title, and unbeaten record, to Hyung-Chul Lee in what was a genuine upset. Following the loss Onizuka retired though Lee's reign was a short one with the South Korean losing the belt in his second defense, albeit controversially, to Venezuelan fighter Alimi Goitia.
In 1995 former WBA Bantamweight champion Luisito Espinosa claimed the WBC Featherweight title as he defeated Manuel Medina to become a 2-weight world champion. The bout was a very close one with neither man really managing to dominate the contest, though a rematch in 1997 did see Espinosa take a clear win, albeit by technical ecision.
December 10th has been a busy day through history with a host of notable fights coming on this day. Of course we can't go through all of them but we will take a look at a number of them.
The first two we'd like to make a note of came on the same show in 1983 as we saw the first ever IBF world title fights to be fought in Japan.
One of those bouts saw South Korean fighter Ju-Do Chun claim the inaugural IBF Super Flyweight title with a 5th round TKO against Ken Kasugai. Chun would hold this title until May 1985 when he lost to fellow puncher Elly Pical, the first Indonesian to win a world title. Kasugai never fought again afterwards.
The other bout saw Dodie Boy Penalosa claim the inaugural IBF Light Flyweight with a 13th round TKO against Satoshi Shingaki. Penalosa would defend this title until 1986 when he chose to vacate and make the move to Flyweight where he also won the IBF title. As for Shingaki he went on to become the first ever Japanese fighter to win IBF world title, though he did do it as a renegade of the JBC.
We also had two bouts in 1986 with both of these coming in Thailand.
At Flyweight fans saw the highly regarded Sot Chitalada retain his WBC Flyweight title with his 4th defence. Chitlada over-came Mexican nemesis Gabriel Bernal with a clear decision in what was their 3rd and final contest together and by far the most 1-sided of their bouts. The other one was at Super Bantamweight where former Muay Thai great Samart Payakaroon defended the WBC belt with a very memorable victory over Juan Meza. The ending was one of the most amazing in boxing history as Samart dropped his hands, weaved through a Meza attack and then took out the Mexican with a single shot to claim his first world title.
Staying in the 1980's we go to 1989. That was when Fujio Ozaki fought in his second world title bout, battling against WBA Welterweight champion Mark Breland. Unfortunately for Ozaki he was beaten by the former amateur great who stopped him in the 4th round due to a very nasty cut over his right eye. Ozaki would never fight again after this loss.
More recently fans saw Orzubek Nazarov retain the WBA Lightweight title with an excellent win over Joey Gamache. This was Nazarov's 2nd defense of the title and the Kyrgyzstan fighter really did look great great, cutting Gamache in the opening round before stopping him in round 2.
Over the last 25 years we have had some of the best names in Asian boxing in action with 3 top fighters all fighting in world title bouts across a spectrum of weights. All 3 of those men are in consideration for their respective nation's greatest ever fighter and few would argue if you described 2 of them as all time greats whilst the other has the potential to be a modern great.
The first of the bouts of interest came back in 1989 when a post-prime Jung-Koo Chang attempted to reclaim the WBC Light Flyweight title. Chang, in his pomp, had held the title for more than 5 years before retiring in 1988. Sadly financial issues forced him back in to the ring the following year and in just the second fight of his comeback he battled against the great Humberto Gonzalez, sadly Gonzalez was too goo for that version of Chang and took a clear decision over the gutsy Korean, who would later come within a whisker of claiming the WBC Flyweight title. The comeback essentially proved to be a mark on his legacy as a fighter with Chang losing 3 of the 5 bouts he had in his short comeback, with this being the first of those 3 losses.
The following year the sensationally heavy handed Khaosai Galaxy successfully defended the WBA Super Flyweight title as he stopped Ernesto Ford in the 6th round. This was Galaxy's 44th win in 45 bouts and amazingly his 39th stoppage* in a weight where stoppages are relatively uncommon. Ford would later challenge Sung-Kil Moon with the Korean stopping him in 5 rounds to retain the WBC Super Flyweight title. Unfortunately after this fight Galaxy would fight just 3 more times before retiring in in early 1992 with his place in history set as the most destructive Super Flyweight ever.
Talking about destruction we saw Kazakhstan's heavy handed Gennady Golovkin retain his WBA Middleweight title with a stunning knockout on this day in 2011. Golovkin, fighting against Lajuan Simon, almost beheaded his American challenger inside a round. For many this was their first chance to see Golovkin live and he certainly left a stunning impression on those fans.
*Galaxy's record is dispute with some accounts giving him more fights than others
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)
The most notable bout on this day was a very recent one, coming in 2012 when Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao met his Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez for the 4th time. Sadly for Pacquiao the bout isn't remembered for what he did but rather how the bout ended with him lying face first after one of the most tremendous knockouts in recent years. The bout was supposed to the final chapter in their story together though there has been talk of a 5th fight between the two men. Prior to the knockout both men had been down and the fight been really good with high paced action and it seemed that Marquez had been hurt, the knockout however rendered all of that as moot.
A little further back, in 1990, fans saw Mexican great Julio Cesar Chavez destroy Korean Kyung Duk Ahn. Ahn was trying to claim the WBC and IBF Light Welterweight titles but was given a serious beat down by the Mexican great in a bout that left many wondering why Ahn had been given the shot or what Ahn had done to deserve a #1 ranking with the WBC.
A better result for Korean fans came back in 1985 when the great Myung Woo Yuh claimed the WBA Light Flyweight title with a split decision over Joey Olivo. This win began Yuh's great reign which saw him defending the belt frequently until being upset in 1991 by Hiroki Ioka. A rematch with Ioka saw Yuh reclaiming the title which he would defend one final time in 1993
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)
In 1986 fans saw an all-Korean fight for the then lightly regarded IBF Light Flyweight title as Jum Hwan Choi battled compatriot Cho Woon Park. The title had been vacated earlier by Dodie Boy Penalosa and the two Koreans threw down in a bout for the vacant title was narrowly won by Choi in what was a very well contested bout. Choi's reign lasted a little less than 2 years before he lost to nemesis Tacy Macalos, though he would later claim the WBC title. For Park this was one of just 2 world title bouts that he was involved in with his second coming in the middle of 1988 when he was out pointed by the IBF Flyweight champion Rolando Bohol.
In 1996 we saw the heavy handed Myung Sup Park suffer a devastating loss to the fantastic Ricardo Lopez. Park, challenging for the WBC Minimumweight title, was dropped hard in the opening round and although he beat the count he didn't last much longer as Lopez went for the finish. The bout was Park's sole world title bout and his sole bout in the US.
In 2011 Japanese fans had a Kameda card that featured all 3 brothers in action. In a non-title bout Tomoki Kameda over-came Eduardo Garcia with a 7th round KO. In the first title bout Daiki Kameda found himself coming up short to Thailand's Tepparith Kokietgym, with the talented Thai taking a clear decision over Daiki, despite some misleading cards. The main event was a success for the Kameda's as Koki Kameda made a very easy defense of his WBA Bantamweight title stopping the hapless Mario Macias in the 4th round. Prior to being stopped Macias had made several trips to the canvas in a terrible effort to over-come Koki.
In 2000 Keitaro Hoshino battled against the then WBA Minimumweight champion Joma Gamboa in their first meeting. Hoshino, a Japanese fighter from Kanagawa, managed to take a narrow decision victory over Gamboa who was attempting to defend the belt for the first time. Gamboa, a talented Filipino, would unfortunately come up short in a rematch with Hoshino in January 2002, again for the WBA Minimumweight title. Sadly by the time of his retirement Gamboa's record read 33-10-2 (22), giving the hint he wasn't particularly good when in all honesty he was much better than his record indicated and was matched incredibly hard. Hoshino's reign was short lived with the Japanese fighter losing the belt in his first defense, against Thailand's Chana Porpaoin. Sadly Hoshino would also end up with a misleading record losing his last 3 contests before retiring with a ledger of 23-10 (6).
A year later Thai great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam made light work of controversial Argentinian Luis Alberto Lazarte who was stopped when his corner threw in the towel in the second round of their bout. This was Wonjongkam's 3rd defense of the title that he had won just 9 months earlier and he would continue to defend the belt until until 2007 when he lost his third bout with Daisuke Naito. Whilst Wonjongkam is regarded as a modern great it's fair to say Lazarte is known as a controversial figure and his bout with Johnriel Casimero is one of the most disgraceful bouts in recent memory.
In 2008 we saw Manny Pacquiao go from talented lower weight star to boxing superstar as he put on a masterclass against a weight drained and shot Oscar De La Hoya. Going into the bout Pacquiao was the under-dog and was viewed as being too small for De La Hoya, weight problems however saw a sluggish De La Hoya taking a pounding for 8 rounds before being retired in his stool and announcing his retirement from fighting after the bout. The bout helped make Pacquiao a cross over star and seemed to begin the talks of the super fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr, sadly however that bout still hasn't been made and is looking very unlikely as time goes on.
Most recently, just last year in fact, we saw a number of notable bouts with the headliner being a WBC Flyweight title fight. The bout saw Akira Yaegashi successfully defending the title against mandatory challenger Edgar Sosa with a clear decision win. Yaegashi used his speed and movement excellently to take the win however the bout was was probably one of the least exciting of Yaegashi's bouts, then again it was hardly dull. The same show also saw Takuma Inoue make his professional debut and Naoya Inoue claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title with a dominant win over Jerson Mancio.
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)