More than a month since we last looked at a major upset we return to our "What a Shock!" series and cover the final upset of 2013, which saw a former world champion lose to a then unheralded Thai youngster.
December 31st 2013
Bodymaker Colosseum, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Ryo Miyazaki (20-0-3, 11) Vs Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (24-2, 16)
Japan's Ryo Miyazaki will never be remembered as one the greats but at one point he was seen as a future multi-weight world champion and a key fighter for the Ioka gym, along side Kazuto Ioka. He had won the OPBF Light Flyweight title before dropping down in weight to win the WBA Minimumweight title. In 2013 Miyazaki made the decision to move back up in weight, allowing his body to fill out as he looked to begin his pursuit of a title at 108lbs. Coming into this bout he had scored 10 straight wins, with 6 coming by stoppage and was expected to fight for a second world title in Spring 2014. He just had to get past Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr first.
The 20 year old Thai was, at the time, an unknown outside of Thailand.At the time Fahlan had had 26 bouts, compiling a good looking record, but there was nothing of any note on it. All 26 of hos bouts, up to this point, were in Thailand, against a mix of limited Thai's and terrible foreign imports. Worryingly for him he had even lost to some of those, including a 2012 defeat to Yodpichai Sithsaithong. The one thing he seemed to have was his name, and his father had been a former world champion back in the early 1990's. Of course this was him in the ring and not his father, and he was expected to be little more than a tune up for Miyazaki. Despite his competition Fahlan was an attractive opponent for Miyazaki and was ranked #6 by the IBF, giving Miyazaki a clear reward for his expected win.
What few had anticipated, given that Miyazaki was moving up in weight, was that he would totally mess up on the scales. What was expected to be an easy move up in weight resulted with him essentially passing out on the scales, with fighter showing symptoms of dehydration. This should have seen the bout cancelled, and he really was unfit to fight.
From the first round it was clear that Miyazaki was a shell of the fighter who had been the WBA Minimumweight champion just months earlier. The intensity wasn't there, he looked unsure of himself, and was slow, sluggish and almost seemed gun shy. The Thai, who was stepping up massively, used his jab, focused on keeping distance and had an easy task through the first round.
Fahlan continued to make things look easy in round 2 as Miyazaki began to struggle even more. He wasn't being hurt, but he wasn't doing anything to make things competitive. It was only the fact Fahlan was being cautious that we weren't seeing Miyazaki put in any trouble. Thant changed in round 3.
Just after the midway point of round 3 Fahlan landed a left hook, then a combination that ended with a push to the back of the head. It sent Miyzaki to the canvas, and whilst correctly ruled a push it seemed to give Fahlan the instant confidence that his man was done. A follow up attack, not long after the bout resumed, sent Miyazaki down. He got to his feet, wobbling around and left the referee with no option but to step in.
Interestingly just 4 months after this win, the biggest of his career, Fahlan would face a then 1-0 Takuma Inoue, and lose. Fahlan's career would continue on until earlier this year, when he announced he was retiring, at the age of 26, due to the economic situation of the sport. When he hung them up he had a record of 39-7-1 (21) and had mixed with the likes of Katsunari Takayama, Milan Melindo and Felix Alvarado. Although he failed to win a title he certainly fought a who's who and got out with his health intact.
As for Miyzaki his career never really rebounded. He scored 4 wins over the following 2 years to get a second world title bout, losing to Ryoichi Taguchi in 2016, before retiring. What had been a promising career before this whimpered out afterwards.
This past weekend we saw Japanese 154lb fight Takeshi Inoue (16-1-1, 10) retain his WBO Asia Pacific title with an early win against the horribly over-matched Cheng Su. The bout was his third win since losing in a WBO world title bout in January 2019 to Jaime Munguia, and it seems clear that he wants to move back towards big bouts by the end of 2020.
With Inoue's recent win it seems an ideal time to look at 5 possible opponents for Inoue for later this year, as we do the latest in our "Five for..." series.
1-Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10)
Our number 1 pick here is probably the most likely and the easiest fight to make, by far. Inoue has dominated the Japanese and Oriental scene at the weight, beating the likes of Akinori Watanabe, Koshinmaru Saito, Riku Nagahama and Yuki Nonaka. The only domestic fighter of note he's yet to face is current Japanese champion Hironobu Matsunaga, who will defend his national title in March then be available to face who he wants. Matsunaga, like Inoue, is an aggressive fighter and physically strong fighter at 154lbs who has the style to make for some excellent fights. Both of these men are lacking a bit of size at the weight but both are physical fighters and a fight between the two should be thrilling!
2-Tony Harrison (28-3, 21)
There's not many world class fighters that Inoue would be given much a chance against, however a man who has been stopped in 3 losses would give Inoue an outside chance. Former world champion Tony Harrison would be the perfect match up for Inoue to try and prove that he belongs on the world level. Harrison lost his world title in December, when he was stopped by Jermell Charlo, and facing off with him now would be a smart move if Inoue and his team can secure the bout. Inoue would clearly have to travel for the fight but his style would give Harrison, a boxer-mover, real problems. The aggression and pressure from Inoue against the skills and movement of Harrison, for 12 rounds would be great to see and a really interesting mix of styles.
3-Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4)
Unbeaten Uzbek Israil Madrimov is known to be struggling in terms of getting opponents, and getting rounds. His first 4 bouts have gone a total of 19 rounds and he could do with an opponent to test his stamina and his ability to fight over a longer distance. Inoue would answer those questions, and also ask question questions of Madrimov's in ring mentality against someone who is bull strong and physical. A clash between the two would see Madrimov enter as the big favourite, but it would still be an excellent test for the Uzbek, and the type of fight he needs to prove himself, before a world title fight. On paper this isn't a big name fight, but it would be a match up we would be very interested in seeing.
4-Julian Williams (27-2-1, 16)
Hours after Inoue defeated Cheng Su we saw Julian Williams being upset against Jeison Rosario, and losing the WBA "super" and IBF titles to the hard hitting Dominican fighter. Williams had made it clear that he will be making the most of a rematch clause in their contract, and that will likely be next for him, though we do like Inoue Vs Williams, and it's a bout with a back story. Originally the two were ordered to have an IBF eliminator in 2018, the saga went on and on and in the end the two men went in different directions. We can't help but feel this would be a great fight to watch and would love to see the two men facing off.
5-Carlos Adames (18-1, 14)
Dominican fighter had his flaws shown up last year, when he lost to Patrick Teixeira, but showed and aggressive and exciting style against the more skilled Brazilian. We can't help but feel that Adames' style and Inoue's style would gel for an excellent stylistic clash. Both men are physically strong, come to fight, let their hands go and don't know how to back up. Adames would be the favourite, and would be looking to bounce back from the loss to Teixeira in what was an instant classic, whilst Inoue has the momentum of his last 3 wins. This would be brutal, entertaining and something that both men could benefit from.
Former Japanese Middleweight Yuichiro Watanabe isn't a name we expect many readers to be familiar with. He was active as a fighter in the 1970's, and despite fighting the likes of Masashi Kudo, twice, and Jae Doo Yuh his career never really saw him achieve much of note. He ran up an 11-7 (6) record and in terms of boxing his real win of note was in February 1975, when he was crowned All Japan Middleweight Rookie of the year.
Whilst Watanabe's boxing career failed to reach the heady heights of Yuh and Kudo, who both won world titles he did become a major new story more than 30 years after his final professional bout. Sadly it wasn't a positive story. Instead it was a criminal one, and will result in Watanabe spending the rest of his life behind bars.
On November 11th 2008, more than 30 years after his final bout, Watanabe had entered a house and robbed an 84 year old man of around ¥124,000. Watanabe had beaten the man, injuring the gentleman's face and abdomen, and used the money to gamble.
Just 2 days later Watanabe forced his way into another home. This time it was of an elderly couple, the 82 year old Eichi Sawada and his 79 year old wife.
At the time Watanabe was unemployed, and had no fixed address, and he was there for one reason. To rob the Sawada's of money.The 56 year old former fighter, had targeted the house due to it being big, and presumably expecting to find significant amounts of cash there, as he had at the previous house.
The robbery went on, but not without the occupants being in property, leading to Watanabe again attacking the occupants, Eichi and his wife, before getting away with around ¥40,000. Not a huge sum by any stretch of the imagination.
Whilst the wife only suffered some minor facial injuries Eichi would die just 4 days on from the robbery from a brain injury suffered at the hands of Watanabe.
Watanabe was arrested on January 5th 2009 and charged with homicide and robbery. He went on to admit what he'd done, explained he needed money, why he'd targeted the Sawada's house...then explained he'd spent the money gambling, at a Pachinko parlour.
Watanabe would be tried for both robberies, as well as the injuries and death of Eichi Sawada in 2009. The case began on April 21st and there was little the defense could have done for Watanabe, who had contracted an infection and attended the court case in a wheel chair.
Although Watanabe accepted guilt for what he'd done the defense pushed for leniency on the sentencing. They request he only get 20 years, or less, and stated that the assault was only light. As opposed to a brutal beating by a former professional fighter. The court didn't buy it. Judge Kazunori Yamada summer it up as "a ruthless and cruel crime that involves relentless assault with the skills he acquired as a professional boxer. There is no room for excuses." [Translated] He then added that the motivation was "You have committed a crime for money to feed your desire to gamble" [Translated].
The judgement, on June 16th 2009, saw Judge Yamada sentence Watanabe to life imprisonment.
We continue our Did You Know... series by moving through the weights and looking at the OPBF Super Middleweight title. Given the the fact the title has been around for over 30 years we would expect some interesting facts, and there are some...some which genuinely shocked us.
-There have only been 42 OPBF Super Middleweight title bouts, including interim title bouts, since the title was inaugurated in 1988 with 18 reigns of the regular title, and 2 interim title reigns. Australian Rod Carr was in the first 4 bouts for the title, Yuzo Kiyota has been in 12 of those and Yoshinori Nishizawa has been in 9.
-Most of the title reigns have been by Australians. In fact 9 Australian's have held the title, for a combined 10 reigns of the belt.
-Only 1 OPBF Super Middleweight champion has won a world title, with that being Danny Green. Several have however fought for world titles
-Yoshiaki Tajima was the first Japanese fighter to challenge for a Super Middleweight world title title, losing in 7 rounds to In Chul Baek. He's the only Japanese world title challenger at the weight to have never won the OPBF Super Middleweight title, though he did win the OPBF Middleweight title. Both Yoshinori Nishizawa and Yuzo Kiyota have both won the OPBF title, multiple times, and challenged at world level. None of the three men managed to win their world title bouts though.
-The OPBF Super Middleweight title has been held by two Korean fighters. The first was Byung-In Kang, who won the title in 1993 and defended it twice before losing to Australian Darren Obah and retiring with a 12-1 (7) record. The second was Yong Suk Choi, who actually took the belt from Obah in 1996, in just his third bout and also retired with 1 loss, ending his career in 2009 with an 11-1 (5) record.
-Yoshinori Nishizawa is the only 3-time champion. Rod Carr and Yuzo Kiyota both had 2 reigns. Interestingly Carr and Kiyota ended their first reigns by vacating, and won the title they themselves had vacated before anyone else had won it. This gives Carr the first and second reigns and Kiyota the 15th and 16th reigns.
-At the time of writing, the last bout for the belt was way back in September 2018, as Jayde Mitchell made his second defense of the belt
-Although not related to the OPBF title directly Korean fighters are the only Asian fighters to win world titles at Super Middleweight, with Chong Pal Park and In Chul Baek both holding world titles. Park was the first, holding the IBF title from 1984 to 1987 and the the WBA title from 1987 to 1988, and then Baek followed holding the WBA title from 1989 to 1990.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect Filipino prospect Jade Bornea...and former Japanese amateur standout Eiji Morioka
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-The talented Jade Bornea was a former amateur standout, and in March 2013 he claimed the gold medal at the Asian Youth Championships in Subic Bay, Philippines. In the final Bornea took a razor thin decision over Japan's Kosei Tanaka.
2-Japan's 3-weight world Japan Kosei Tanaka has been a real star Chubu, where he has become the local face of boxing, and helped to re-establish a scene had really been lead in the early 1990's by his promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka.
3-Although not amazingly well remembered now Kiyoshi Hatanaka was a really key figure in boxing in Chubu, despite only fighting 24 times in a career that lasted about 7 years. His career was highlighted by 3 fights in particular, his loss to Gilberto Roman in 1988, his 1991 win over Pedro Decima and his 1991 loss to Daniel Zaragoza. The win over Decima was the win the defines his career, and saw him claim the WBC Super Bantamweight title.
4-Another Japanese fighter to win the WBC Super Bantamweight title was the legendary Kazuo "Royal" Kobayashi.
5-"Royal" Kobayashi may only have had a short reign, holding the belt for 46 days, but he had already made a name for himself before even turning professional. He had made a mark on the amateurs ranks, reaching the quarter-finals of the 1972 Olympics at 57KG's. Another fighter who fought at 57KG's in the 1972 Olympics was Philip Waruinge, who won the Silver medal.
6-Philip Waruinge, who fought in Japan as Waruinge Nakayama, Didn't just fight at the 1972 Olympics , in fact that was actually Waruinge's second Olympics, after also competing at, and winning a medal at, the 1968 games in Mexico City. Another man who claimed a medal at the 1968 Olympics was Eiji Morioka! In fact Morioka and Waruinge both claimed bronze medals at the 1968 Olympic games! Morioka's career in the ring wasn't the best, with the Japanese fighter going 6-4 (3) though his impact has been felt, and still, thanks to the Morioka Gym that he set up in 1978.
Japanese boxing is currently going through a real golden generation with a lot of amazingly talented fighters making their mark on the sport. The generation of fighters we have now will likely go down as being the best, so far, in terms of talent, potential and achievement. It is however worth noting that in the 1990's there was another generation of Japanese fighters who were headed by some incredibly popular fighters. There is, of course, Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, who was the nation's biggest boxing enigma, and the massively well liked Katsuya Onizuka.
Onizuka, known as "Spanky K" was the WBA Super Flyweight champion from April 1992 to September 1994, and piled up an excellent 24-1 (17) record as a professional. Whilst he was well liked in Japan, Western fans likely don't know much about him, so here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Katsuya Onizuka.
1-As a child Onizuka suffered from asthma and reportedly began boxing to build up his physical strength. He has publicly stated that he "wanted to be strong" during that time of his life.
2-As an amateur Onizuka went 38-5 (20), with 1 of his 5 losses coming to future WBC Super Flyweight champion Hiroshi Kawashima. His amateur credentials included being crowned the 1986 High School champion at Light Flyweight.
3- In his 13th professional bout Onizuka faced OPBF Super Flyweight champion Tatsuya Sugi, and stopped Sugi in the 7th round. This however wasn't a title fight, despite both men making the 115lbs limit.
4-In 1992 Khaosai Galaxy announced his retirement, Onizuka was the WBA #1 contender and would have been the mandatory for the Thai great.
5-As a teenager Onizuka went to Thailand to train, and watched a bout of future foe Thanomsak Sithbaobay, a man who Onizuka twice scraped close decision wins against. Onizuka seemingly regarded Thanomsak very highly after watching him in the flesh, years before they met in the ring.
6-Despite only losing once as a professional Onizuka retired following his sole defeat. The reason for the retirement wasn't solely the loss though, and instead it was down to suffering a retinal detachment which forced him to hang up the gloves as an active fighter. He did however remain involved in the sport and set up the Spanky K sacred Boxing hall in Fukuoka
7-Onizuka's name and likeness was used in a Super Famicom boxing game, "Onizuka Katsuya Super Virtual Boxing", which was played from a 1st person perspective.
8-After retiring from boxing Onizuka looked for a second career and, began working at a Kindergarten, did commentary for TBS and was involved in fashion design, continuing the reputation he had crafted as a boxer with style from his in ring career.
9-In 1998 Onizuka featured in a full length Japanese movie, "The Revenge of the Wolves". This was seemingly his acting debut, and was a violent movie that (sadly whilst this was on youtube when we first scheduled the article to be posted it has since been removed from the site)
10-Also following his retirement from the ring Onizuka has had success as a artist, and has held exhibitions with his paintings on show. His artwork has been genuinely successful, and it's has been shown across Japan. He's a particularly accomplished painter.
Last weekend we saw Mongolian fighter Tuguldur Byambatsogt (2-0) score an impressive win over Japanese based Dominican puncher Vladimir Baez, in the Knock Out Dynamite tournament final at 65KG. The win was a very solid performance for such a novice professional and proved that Byambatsogt's debut win over Shusaku Fujinaka was no fluke, or win of circumstance.
With a couple of solid wins behind him, it seems an ideal time to give Byambatsogt the "Five For" treatment, and look at 5 opponents that he could be matched up with next. Unlike most fighters mentioned in this series we're certainly not discussing a big name, or big potential fights, but we do have some interesting bouts that could help the Mongolian really make a name for himself by the end of the year.
1-Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18)
The biggest bout that we could see Byambatsogt in some time soon would be a bout with former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo. On paper this would be a mismatch, but Byambatsogt has shown the type of style that could see him really torment the older, slower, Kondo. Over a 6, or even 8 round, distance we could see Byambatsogt taking a decision over Kondo in a similar fashion to Andy Hiraoka's win over the Japanese fighter last year. This would be a tough ask, and it would take some brave match making, but we genuinely see this as being a possibility for Byambatsogt.
2-Alvin Lagumbay (11-5-1, 10)
We've seen Byambatsogt taking on heavy handed fighters already, and making them pay for their crudeness. With that in mind we don't think his team are afraid of punchers, and that could be a good reason for him to take on Filipino slugger Alvin Lagumbay. Whilst it's unclear whether Byambatsogt will be looking to card out his career in Japan or not, it is worth noting that Lagumbay is known in Japan. In fact Lagumbay is known further afield for his double knockdown against Keita Obara, and that could help Byambatsogt's profile growing. Beating the guy involved in that memorable incident.
3-Terry Tzouramanis (23-4-3, 3)
Stepping away from punchers we'd like to see Byambatsogt face off with different styles of fighters and Australian Terry Tzouramanis would certainly ask a lot of different questions of the Mongolian. At 34 years old Tzouramanis is certainly on the slide, but a win over him still means something, especially after his recent win over Brandon Ogilvie. This could potentially see Byambatsogt getting some experience "down under" or continue his development in Japan and would let us see him up against something who thinks about what he does, and goes to work without looking for a knockout. Over 8 rounds, again, this would be a genuinely good test for the Mongolian.
4-Marlon Paniamogan (10-2-1, 5)
Filipino fighter fighter Marlon Paniamogan might have lost 2 of his last 3, coming up short against Kuntae Lee and Lei Wang, but asked questions of both men and could also ask questions of Byambatsogt. This is one where we feel 8 rounds would be perfect for Byambatsogt to answer any possible questions regarding his stamina. Paniamogan is a decent enough fighter to asked questions, but a safe enough one for Byambatsogt to beat without too many problems.
5-Roberto Ortiz (35-5-2, 26)
Whilst we've assumed that Byambatsogt would remain in Asia going forward it wouldn't be a surprise to see him actually turning up in the West at some point, especially due to the TMT link up that Knock Out Dynamite Tournament had. If he's to hit the West then we not look at facing a Mexican veteran to help announce himself to a new audience? On paper a bout with Mexican veteran Roberto Ortiz looks seriously tough, but the 34 year old Ortiz has lost his last 4, is win-less in his last 5, and has been stopped in 3 of his last 4. It would still be a really tough test, but would see Byambatsogt taking on someone of some name value, who has faced other notables fighters and fought on US TV.
Going forward we're going to really look forward to seeing where Byambatsogt goes, and really hope the Mongolian builds on his really impressive start to professional boxing. We'd ideally love to see him continue fight on Dangan shows, but in reality the 140lb fighter probably has limited options, long term, if he does remain in Japan. We suspect it won't be long until he begins to fight outside of Asia.
One of the most unique things about Japanese boxing is the sheer number of tournaments the country holds. They aren't always the most amazing of tournaments, but tournament boxing is well and truly alive in Japan. Be it the Rookie of the Year, the B Class Dangan tournaments, tournaments to crown Youth Champions and more recently the God's Left, Knock Out Dynamite and Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournaments the Japanese scene has been packed with them.
Today we take a look at a rarely remembered 4 man tournament from 1997, called the "Rising Sun Cup" which was a 4 man Heavyweight tournament held in Tokyo featuring 4 international Heavyweights. Not one of the fighters was a particularly big name, and the tournament is hard to get concrete detail on.
Despite how hard it is to find details about the thought process behind the tournament all 3 bouts were aired on Japan TV.
The tournament kicked off on July 14th with the semi-finals.
One of those semi-final bouts saw 6'7" American giant Anthony Green (6-1) take on inexperienced American foe Derrick Johnson (1-0). If the aim was to shore the Japanese fans about how skilled Heavyweights could be, this wasn't the bout to do that job. Although Green looked an odd site with his dyed hair, his skill level, poor to say the least. Johnson however was even worse rarely throwing a punch before being stopped in the dying seconds of the opening round. This win saw Green progress to the final.
The other semi final saw the tragic Calvin Lampkin (8-2, 6) take on South African foe Anton Nel (6-3-2, 3), in a more even looking bout on paper. Lampkin, known as "Cowboy" was seen as genuine talent and his record coming into this bout had only seen him losing the talented Ike Ibeabuchi. Nel on the other hand wasn't regarded very well, and when he retired in 2016 his career record stood at 20-13-3. Although limited Nel could could punch, and 80% of his career wins were by stoppage. Sadly for Nell Lampkin could could also punch, and the South African was stopped after being dropped twice in just over a minute.
Less than two months after their semi final bouts the winners clashed, with Anthony Green (7-1, 1) taking on Calvin Lampkin (9-2, 7) in the final of the tournament on September 8th. With both men blowing out their semi-final opponents the expectations wouldn't have been for the final to be a slow, trudging affair, with Lampkin looking slower than he had in his first bout, and Green effectively using his size. Sadly this final ended up being a bit of a stinker, as fans got a very slow bout from two men who really didn't manage to put their foot on the gas for more than a few seconds at a time.
Although the final was a dull bout it was still notable for ending what was a very peculiar tournament, even for Japanese boxing.
After the tournament none of the 4 men really had great success.
Johnson ended his career in 2003 with a 2-6-1 record and as mentioned Nel ended his career 20-13-3 (16), though did notch a win over Danie Venter, and shared the ring with Henry Akinwande, Sebastiaan Rothmann and Danny Williams.
Green fought on until 1999, compiling a 10-6 (2) record, and scored notable wins over Bert cooper and Carl Williams, before suffering 4 straight stoppages to end his career, including a defeat to Joe Mesi in what was Green's final bout
As for Lampkin, the most talented of the 4 fighters by some distance, his career was interesting to say the least. He was forced to retire in 2000 due to hepatitis, with a record of 19-3 (11), losing his final bout in 1999 to Olympic silver medal winner Paea Wolfgramm. Sadly Lampkin died of complications from cancer in 2001.
This odd tournament from Japanese boxing wasn't a great success, sadly, and it was seemingly never replicated. It was an interesting idea, but with the final being as enjoyable as a colonoscopy we can understand why these 4 man Heavyweight tournaments never really caught on with the Japanese audiences.
The JBC Minimumweight title has been in existence since the mid 1980's and has been an interesting title. It's been held by 29 fighters since it's inception, and has been held by a number of world champions. It may not be the most prestigious of titles, but it's certainly an interesting one with a solid list of former champions.
With that in mind we thought it was a great idea to cover the belt in our latest "Did you know..."
-Kenji Ono was the first champion but not only fought in the first ever Japanese Minimumweight title fight, beating Missile Kudo for the belt, but less than 3 months later he was also involved in the first ever OPBF Minimumweigjht title bout, losing to Samuth Sithnaruepol.
-Missile Kudo, who lost to Kenji Ono in the inaugural bout for the title, would win the belt at the third time of asking but lost in his first defense. Incidentally his career record was 10-12-2 (3), meaning he had more losses than wins
-A staggering 4 men held the title in 1988! These were Kenji Yokozawa, who began the year as the champion before vacating early in the year, Yasuo Yogi, who held the title from February 25th to June 27th, Missile Kudo, who held the belt from June 27th to November 13th, and Hisashi Tokushima, who was the last champion of the year. This is even more peculiar when you consider there wasn't a single bout for the title in 1989!
-Kusuo Eguchi and Katsuaki Eguchi, who fought for the vacant title in June 1993, were brothers! This is the only time a Japanese title has been fought for by brothers!
-The most defenses of the title is a record jointly held by Rocky Lin and Satoshi Kogumazaka, who both defended the title 7 times
-Makoto Suzuki is the only fighter to have had multiple reigns, holding the belt twice. His first reign ran from June 1999 to January 2001, when he lost to future world champion Yutaka Niida, whilst his second reign ran from September 2001 to September 2002, when it was ended by previous interim champion Hiroyuki Abe
-Hiroyuki Abe's interim title reign is the only time the title has been held as an interim belt, and that only lasted from June to September 2002.
-World champions who have held this title are Hiroki Ioka, Keitaro Hoshino, Yutaka Niida, Katsunari Takayama, Akira Yaegashi and Tatsuya Fukuhara
-Having just mentioned Katsunari Takayama it's interesting to note that he won a world title, then the Japanese title, then went back to world level, claiming more world titles as he completed his "Grandslam" of world belts.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect Kazakhstan's first world champion Vasily Jirov....and Filipino great Manny Pacquiao.
1-As the IBF Cruiserweight champion Vasily Jirov was the first Kazakh to win a world title, but he isn't the only world champion from Kazakhstan, another is Middleweight great Gennady Golovkin.
2-On April 25th 2009 Gennady Golovkin recorded his 16th professional win, stopping Anthony Greenidge in 5 rounds. The main event of that card saw Felix Sturm retain the WBA Middleweight title as he stopped Japanese challenger Koji Sato, who had entered the bout 14-0 (13)
3-Not many Japanese fighters fighters make their debut in the US, though Koji Sato did actually did begin on US soil when he made his debut in 2005, stopping Francisco Valdez in Las Vegas on his debut. Another Japanese fighter who debuted on US soil was Yasutsune Uehara, who debuted in Honolulu in 1972, in fact his first 5 professional bouts were all fought at the Honolulu International Center.
4-In 1980 Yasutsune Uehara claimed the WBA Super Featherweight title for Japan by defeating Samuel Serrano with a 6th round KO win in Detroit. The win was the Ring Magazine Upset of the Year for 1980
5-Another Ring Magazine Upset of the Year saw a then unbeaten Vic Darchinyan being stopped in 5 rounds by a then unknown Nonito Donaire, who put himself on the map with this win, in a big way, and claimed the 2007 Upset of the Year.
6-Nonito's Donaire's win over Darchinyan wasn't just the Upset of the Year, in the eyes of Ring Magazine, but also KO of the year. With that KO Donaire become the second Filipino to win the KO of the Year award, following on from Morris East who win it in 1992 when he stopped Akinobu Hiranaka. The only other Filipino to hold the award is the legendary Manny Pacquiao taking us all the way through to the iconic Pacman.
As an aside Pacquiao has been on both sides of the of KO of the Year. His KO over Ricky Hatton saw Pacquiao win the KO of the Year award, whilst his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth bout saw him on the receiving end of the KO of the Year.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).