Yesterday we posted the first of our 2 part feature comparing the world title reigns of Shinsuke Yamanaka [山中慎介] and Yoko Gushiken [具志堅用高], as Yamanaka looks to record his 12th defense of the WBC Bantamweight title. Now we have a look at the second part, which compares the latter half of the reigns by both men,, as well as our take on the overall reigns of both men.
On March 8th 1981 Gushiken's great run as champion came to an end as he took on Flores in a rematch and was stopped in the 12th round. The exciting champion had been figured out by Flores who countered him with ease, forcing a standing count and later forcing Gushiken's corner to save their spent man, who was dropped just before the stoppage. Gushiken would retire soon afterwards without fighting again, despite only being 25 years old at the time of the loss. His all action style and accumulated damage seemed to slowing down and the fighter chose to walk away rather the risk harming his excellent legacy. Sadly Flores's streaky results showed and he would lose his following two bouts before retiring himself with a record of 17-9 (5), failing to defend the title that he had taken from Gushiken
Whilst Gushiken's record does stand alone for now there are plenty of criticism that can be levelled at his reign. Firstly the fact the division was really new and lacked talent, had he been around a decade later he'd have been in a boom period for Light Flyweights along with Jung Koo Chang and Myung Woo Yuh, he faced rather poor competition. He beat the first two WBA champions during his reign but the only other men who went on the really achieve anything above regional level were Yong Hyun Kim and Pedro Flores, who beat Gushiken then lost the belt in hid first defense.
Another major criticism is the relative fortune that Gushiken had at times. His first two defenses were both split decision wins that could have gone the other way and the first Flores fight was also razor thin. He was also pushed all the way by Kim. There was a run of 7 straight stoppage defenses, but there was also those close and controversial wins, that resulted in rematches with Rios, Marcano and Flores. Although there was 13 successful defenses, he did only defend the belt against 10 fighters.
Arguably the most impressive part of Gushikens's reign wasn't actually the number of defenses but the time span in which he did it. It took just 4 years and 2 days for Gushiken to rack up 13 defenses, something that is almost unheard of nowadays. And back then the fights were 15 rounders!
Side by side it's fair to say that Yamanaka's opponents have been better than those Gushiken's. The likes of Jaime Rios and Rafael Pedroza and Yong-Hyun Kim were solid fighters but they hardly compare to the likes of Anselmo Moreno, Liborio Solis or Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. It's worth noting that no one Yamanaka beat went on to win world titles, at least so far, but with wins against 6 former champions and the need for only one rematch it's hard to argue with Yamanaka have a better reign.
Yes Yamanaka has faced some terrible opponents, such as Santillan and Nieves, but they were certainly no worse than Aniceto Vargas or Tito Abella, both of whom retired with more losses than
One of the big talking points ahead of the March 2nd bout between WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18) [山中慎介] and Mexican challenger Carlos Carlson (22-1, 13) is the fact that Yamanaka is closing in on the Japanese record number of world title defense. If, as many suspect, he gets passed Carlson he will just a fight away from tying the long standing record of Yoko Gushiken [具志堅用高], who recorded 13 world title defenses between 1976, when he won the WBA Light Flyweight title, and 1981, when he lost the title to Pedro Flores.
Ahead of the bout with Carlson we've decided to compare the title reigns of Yamanaka and Gushiken looking at the opponents both men faced during their title runs.
This is the first part of our 2-part feature and looks at the first 7 defenses by the two fighters, including videos of some select fights, and allowing fight fans a chance to see the two men in some of their most notable match ups.
In part 2 of this feature, which will go up tomorrow, we will look the rest of the defenses of the two men, and look forward to the upcoming Yamanaka Vs Carlson bout.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces