Today we post our first "Did You Know" article, where we look at the IBF Minimumweight title, which has seen more than 20 champions during it's history, which began in 1987. It's certainly not one of the most well respected titles but is certainly a belt with an interesting history and quite a lot of obscure facts!
1-The first bout for the title took place in June 1987 and saw Kyung Yung Lee stopping Masaharu Kawakami. Officially this was Kawakami's debut, though sources have stated that he did fight under the IBF Japan organisation, and on the on-screen graphic for the bout it is implied Kawakami had had previous bouts and had an 88% KO record
2-The third ever bout for the title saw Samuth Sithnaruepol defeat In Kyu Hwang with a 15 round decision in August 1988. This was the last ever world title bout fought over 15 rounds, and came almost 7 years after the tragic bout between Ray Mancini and Deuk Koo Kim, which had lead to the WBC cutting the length of titles bouts to 12 rounds.
3-Former IBF Minimumweight champions Manny Melchor (38-35-6, 6) and Nico Thomas (29-23-6, 18) both failed to win more than 50% of their professional bouts. Thomas, who held the title for just over 3 months in 1989, won exactly 50% of his career bouts whilst Melchor, who held the title for just over 3 months, won just over 48% of his career bouts. As a result they have two of the worst win rates of any world champions in history!
4-The first decade of the title saw the title exclusively being fought for in Asia, with title bouts in Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. Those 3 countries hosted the first 36 IBF Minimumweight title bouts, and it wasn't until 1998 that the bout was taken outside of Asia. Amazingly after it left Asia, with Zolani Petelo, it would take until 2004 for it to return to the continent.
5-It is the only world title to be held by 2 separate Indonesian fighters, with Nico Thomas and Muhammad Rachman both holding the belt!
6-In 2013 Katsunari Takayama became the first Japanese fighter to hold the title, winning the belt in Guasave against Mario Rodriguez. This was third time lucky for Takayama, who had seen his first challenge for the belt end with a No Contest, and his second was a decision loss, both against Nkosinathi Joyi.
7-Having just mentioned Takayama it's worth noting he is one of two men to have held the title more than once. The other Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, who lost the belt on the scales in May 1996 before reclaiming it less than 2 months later.
8-Ratanapol Sor Vorapin is the only man to have defended the belt more than 10 times! He managed 12 defenses in his first reign alone, and then added 6 more during his second reign for a total of 18, which is more than double of the second most, 7 defenses by Fahlan Sakkreerin Sr.
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 Kyotaro Fujimoto and...Pone Kingpetch.
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!
Also we're very open to suggestions for fighters to link if you'd like to leave a comment!
1-Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto will be fighting Daniel Dubois on December 21st at the Copper Box in London.
2-The Copper Box in London was also the venue that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games where Ryota Murata won an Olympic Gold medal.
3-After winning the Olympic gold medal at the London games Ryota Murata signed a promotional deal with Bob Arum and Top Rank, who co-promoted Murata with Japanese promoter Teiken.
4-Another Asian fighter who has been promoted by Top Rank and Bob Arum, is Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, who spent years guided by Arum who helped to make "Pacman" a global boxing icon.
5-During his legendary career Manny Pacquiao has held a number of titles. His first international title was the OPBF Flyweight title, which he won in 1997 when he stopped Chokchai Chockvivat in 5 rounds back in 1997.
6-The OPBF Flyweight title, which has been around since the 1950's, was once held by Thai icon Pone Kingpetch, who was the first ever Thai world champion, winning the World Flyweight title in 1960 when he beat Argentina's Pascaul Perez.
When we talk about great Japanese fighters it's hard to ignore Hozumi Hasegawa, a 3-weight world champion, a key figure in the Bantamweight division for 5 years and one of the faces of Japanese boxing for over a decade. The "Japanese Ace" was a sharp punching sensation and a force to be reckoned with, as shown by the fact he was a 4 time Japanese boxing MVP.
Although it's easy to wax lyrical about Hasegawa's skills we don't want to do that here, instead we want to bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Hozumi Hasegawa.
1-Hasegawa's father was also a professional boxer, who fought 3 times before health issues ended his career.
2-Surprisingly Hasegawa failed in his first pro-test bout, due to poor physical condition.
3-Hasegawa began his career at the Senrima Kobe gym where he was trained by Masato Yamashita, who had no previous background as a trainer. Interestingly Yamashita would later set up the Shinsei Gym, and Hasegawa would transfer to the gym with Mr Yamashita in 2007.
4-Despite being managed by Mr Yamashita for much of his career his world title bouts were all promoted by Teiken, who worked alongside the Shinsei gym to further Hasegawa's career.
5-Hasegawa got married in the year 2002
6-In the later stages of Hasegawa's career his walk out song was "Fighting Man" by Shinsuke Kiyokiba, who wrote it specifically for Hasegawa. Notably Hasegawa features in the video for this song, as can be seen at the end of this article, and he is good friends with Kiyokiba. Prior to having "Fighting Man" he used "Once you had gold" by Enya.
7-Hasegawa worked in a watch shop, and did so even when he won his first world title.
8-Although well liked through out the Japanese boxing scene Hasegawa has had a particularly close relationship with Takahiro Ao, and has been described as being like an elder brother to Ao. Incidentally Ao won his first world title, the WBC Featherweight title, on the same day that Hasegawa knocked out Vusi Malinga in a WBC Bantamweight title defense, though the bouts took place on different shows.
9-Hasegawa had long hoped to fight in the US, though sadly it never happened. The closest we got was in 2009 when an agreement had been made, in principle, for Hasegawa to travel to the US to face Vic Darchinyan, if Darchinyan beat Joseph Agbeko. Sadly Darchinyan lost to Agbeko scuppering those plans.
10-Hasegawa's first world title defenses, against Gerardo Martinez, was part of the first "World premium boxing" which ran on NTV from 2005 to 2018 to showing world title fights live, and featured the likes of Hasegawa, Shinsuke Yamanaka and Takahiro Ao.
Bonus Fact - Hasegawa's first world title defenses, as mentioned above, came against Gerardo Martinez. It was however originally planned to come against Deigo Morales, a Mexican southpaw, in a mandatory defenses. Sadly Morales was injured in training and was replaced by Martinez on short notice.
Bonus Fact 2 - Although often regarded as non-puncher, Hasegawa went 13-3 (8) in world title bouts, and had a run of 4 world title bouts ending in the first 2 rounds. In none world title fights he was 23-3 (8).
Just over a week ago we saw Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) put in one of the best performances of his career, despite suffering a loss to Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue. The Filipino icon, even in his mid 30's, proved that he could hang with the very, very best in the sport and showed that he was still a sensational fighter, who is durable, has an incredible will to win, and can bang with the best of them with both the right hand and the left hook.
Given Donaire's performance it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him continue his career, even at age when most Bantamweights would be hanging them up and enjoying retirement. With that in mind it seems a perfect time to look at Five For...Nonito Donaire
1-Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3)
Having just lost to Takuma Inoue's older brother, Naoya Inoue, in the WBSS final what better bout than to take on Takuma Inoue, and try to get revenge over the Inoue family. Interestingly these two are next to each other in the recent WBC rankings, with Donaire being #4 and Inoue being #5, and both men will be looking to rebound from a loss with a big win to remain in the title mix. This would obviously be a massive ask for Inoue, though after the damage Donaire took against the "Monster" it may be the perfect time to take him on.
2-Aston Palicte (25-3-1, 21)
Whilst Donaire might be wanting to secure a win against a big name on his return to the ring a bout with Aston Palicte would have more than enough intrigue, and would also be a very winnable all-Filipino clash for Donaire. The "Filipino Flash" would have the edge in almost every area, though Palicte is a big, solid Super Flyweight and could well end up suiting the Bantamweight division better than the 115lbs weight class. For "Mighty" the need to get a major bout is certainly there, and a fight with Donaire ticks that box.
3-Rau'shee Warren (16-3-0-1, 4)
After going in with one of the hard hitters in the sport, pound for pound, Donaire doesn't need to face another killer, and instead could look at facing a known name who is also looking for a big win. There's few better choices for that than 3-time Olympian Rau'shee Warren. Stylistically this could be a very tough one for Donaire, but it's not one where he's going to end up being banged up. Warren, now 32 years old, hasn't fought since losing to Nordine Oubaali in January and perhaps now, as he heads to his 33rd birthday, would be the perfect time for Donaire to strike.
4-Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) II
Hey we loved it the first time so why not do it again, on US soil! A rematch between Nonito Donaire and Naoya Inoue might not be great for either man's health, but Inoue Vs Donaire II would do great business, no matter where it was held. On the back of a 2019 Fight of the Year contender the two men both have things to prove against each other. With Donaire knowing he can hurt Inoue the Filipino would likely love to test himself against the "Monster" again whilst Inoue will look to stop the man he regards to highly. From a fan perspective this his as high profile a bout as either man will get, but is one that is perhaps seen as being unneeded punishment for both men.
5-Prince Patel (21-1-1, 16)
As one of the true good guys of boxing we doubt anyone would ever complain about Nonito Donaire riding into the sunset of retirement on the back of a rare easy fight. If anyone deserves one it's Donaire? So a bout between the sport's classiest act an one of boxing's most unlikeable fighters would make for a compelling dynamic, and there are few people in the sport who rub up people in the same was as Englishman Prince Patel. Patel is a read loud mouth, a man who's mouth writes cheque's that everyone know he lacks the skills to back up, and seeing him go up against the Filipino Flash would just give us an another sub-story to what could be Donaire's final bout.
One of the great things about Japanese boxing right now is the excellent Boxing Raise service which is quickly becoming a necessity for those wanting to watch the best action in Japan every month. The service is certainly not flawless, and the way they share their schedules is nothing short of infuriating at the moment, but it keeps showing some of the best action in Japanese rings on a month by month basis.
With that in mind we've decided to begin a new monthly feature looking at the Best of Boxing Raise. In these articles we will look at the best moments Boxing Raise gave us in the previous month. With this being posted in November we'll be looking over the moments from October, and better yet we'll also include the video reference for those who already subscribe, and briefly explain why the bout is worth watching. We won't, however, share the videos as they are Boxing Raise exclusives, though if you have Boxing Raise and add the "movie/####" to "https://boxingraise.com/" you should be able to go straight to the fight after logging in.
Rematch war-Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4-1, 10) vs Koki Tyson (14-3-2, 12) II [movie/6862/]
Earlier in 2019 we had seen Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa and Koki Tyson fight to a draw in a bout for the OPBF Middleweight title. That was a good bout, but not spectacular. In October they had a rematch and boy was this one good! The two men fought to a standstill, with both landing some huge shots. Tyson was looking to fight at range and Hosokawa refused to let him, and as a result both men were forced to trade on the inside. A truly fantastic battle
Boom goes the Dynamite-Shingo Wake (26-5-2, 18) Vs Jhunriel Ramonal (15-8-6, 8) [movie/6860/]
The rematch between the world ranked Shingo Wake and Filipino journeyman Jhunriel Ramonal had very few people raving about it before hand, but saw a lit of attention afterwards thanks to a KO of the year Contender. This wasn't the most exciting of bouts to begin with, but was full of drama by the end. A must watch for fans of massive knock outs.
Knock Out Dynamite excitement-Marvin Esquierdo (14-2-1, 8) Vs Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) [movie/6892/]
The first bout from the Knock Out Dynamite tournament saw Filipino fighter Marvin Esquierdo go to war with Koichi Ito and although it was a short lived bout on OCtober 19, it was all action in a full on intense shoot out. For us this was the type of bout that the Knock Out Dynamite tournament was designed for, and man was this fun. Sadly though none of the other bouts lived up to this one. A very fun, if short, shoot out!
Prospect Debut-Tuguldur Byambatsogt (0-0) Vs Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11) [movie/6899/]
The Knockout Dynamite Tournament was designed to encourage fighters to go for early wins. We didn't actually see that happened when Mongolian fighter Tuguldur Byambatsogt made his debut against Japan's Shusaku Fujinaka. Despite not going for the knock out, the Mongolian genuinely impressed, and for a debut this was the sort of performance that allowed fans a glimpse of what he can do.
Japanese Youth Title action-Tetsuro Ohashi (7-0-1, 2) vs Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2) [movie/6919/]
One of the real hidden gems of the the month was the Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout between Tetsuro Ohashi and Suzumi Takayama. This was fantastic, saw both men being dropped and show cased excellent skills and technique from two very talented youngsters. Although there was a winner and a loser we suspect both men will have improved thanks to this truly fantastic bout from October 19th
Domestic title bout- Seigo Yuri Akui (13-2-1, 9) vs Shun Kosaka (16-5, 4) [movie/6951/]
We've known for a while that Seigo Yuri Akui is a fast starter, though we were interested to see how he'd cope with the usually durable Shun Kosaka in a bout for the Japanese Flyweight title. This looked good on paper, and whilst it didn't live up to expectations it's still well worth a watch for a short and rather explosive performance
Prospect Debut- Yudai Shigeoka (0-0) vs Manop Audomphanawari (3-2, 3) [movie/6969/]
One of the most anticipated debuts in Japan this year was that of prospect Yudai Shigeoka, who's debut came against Thai foe Manop Audomphanawari on the Watanabe promoted "Fight The Power", on October 30th. This wasn't so much a great bout but a showcase for one of Japan's future stars.
(Images courtesy of boxingraise and Boxmob)
Last November we ran what we thought would be a one off article, entitled "1 and 0 so good! The 1-0 fighters to make a note of!", now, almost a year one, we've decided to revisit that idea and look at some fighters who are currently 1-0.
Before we go any further we've decided to briefly look at the 5 men we mentioned in last year's article:
Tsendbaatar Erdenebat - was (1-0) and is now 2-0 (1) - The Mongolian has been switching between amateur and professional codes, so hasn't really built his record from a year ago, scoring only a single win in the professional ranks since his debut.
Makhmud Gaipov - was (1-0, 1) and is now 2-1 (1) - The touted Uzbek youngster notched a win just days after our article, but was beaten in March 2019, by Vazir Tamoyan, and hasn't been seen in the professional ranks since. At 23 years old there is time, but it does seem like maybe he's not the star in the making that he seemed following his debut.
Israil Madrimov - was (1-0, 1) and is now 4-0 (4) - Whilst Gaipov has failed to build on his debut win the same can't be said of Israil Madrimov, who has quickly become one of the sports must watch fighters. The confident switch hitting 154lb boxer-puncher has taken on progressively better fighters and has managed to impress every time. He has gone from prospect to contender incredibly quickly and we are expecting him to fight for a world title sooner rather than later.
Apichet Petchmanee - was (1-0, 1) and is now 5-0 (2) - The most active fighter featured on last year's list is Thai fight Apichet Petchmanee, who has fought 4 times since we put the list together. He's a weird one in many ways, as he's now scored 2 wins over former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo but hasn't looked great in those wins and there are now more questions over the 30 year old than we have liked. He's a talent, but maybe not the face of Thai boxing as hoped a year ago.
Ginjiro Shigeoka - was (1-0, 1) and is now 4-0 (3) - Japanese youngster Ginjiro Shigeoka had only fought 3 rounds when we covered this subject a year ago. Since then he has added 10 more rounds, scored a couple of blow out wins and claimed the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. Like Madrimov he looks like he could be in the world title mix very soon, and and he looks like one of the best young prospects in world boxing.
With that update on the 5 men we covered last November out the way, lets have a look at 5 men who are currently 1-0 and are already being tipped for big, big things going forward.
Yudai Shigeoka (1-0, 1)
Having included Ginjiro Shigeoka in last year's list it only makes sense to include his brother in this year's list! The talented Yudai Shigeoka is a couple of years older than Ginjiro but, like his younger brother, he looks like a sensation. On debut Yudai took out Manop Audomphanawari (3-3, 3), and whilst that's not a huge win it was the performance that really impressed. He showed a lovely variety of shots with some of the most impressive body punching we've seen from a debutant. We know Yudai wants to get into the title mix quickly, and we wouldn't be surprised at all by him fighting for some type of title by the end of next year.
Miras Ali Sarsenov (1-0, 1)
Following a 211 bout amateur career we're really excited to see how Kazakh youngster Miras Ali Sarsenov goes on as a professional. In the unpaid ranks Sarsenov won 188 bouts before signing with MTK Global earlier this year, and debuting in October. He looked good on debut, when he stopped Davit Natsvlishvili in 2 rounds, and whilst his opponents wasn't up to anything the 22 year old Kazakh still impressed with sharp punching, good movement, and good shot variety. He's certainly one to watch in 2020, though we need to hope that MTK Global won't hold him back, as we have seen from them in the past with other fighters.
Nurdos Tolebay (1-0)
Another Kazakh worth making a noting of with a 1-0 record is Nurdos Tolebay, who is also managed by MTK Global. He's aged just 18 and is tipped highly by those in Kazakhstan, despite not having the biggest or strongest amateur pedigree. He looked good on his debut, back in mid October, and was slated to return to the ring in mid November, as he looks for his second win. At just 18 years old MTK won't be rushing him, then again MTK aren't well known for rushing fighters, and will instead keep him busy over the next year or two, giving him time to develop.
Tuguldur Byambatsogt (1-0)
In October we saw 20 year old Mongolian fighter Tuguldur Byambatsogt make his debut, and he impressed as he out pointed Japanese veteran Shusaku Fujinaka over 5 rounds in the Knock Out Dynamite tournament. We'll admit it did feel like Byambatsogt was fighting within himself, but even then he out out boxed Fujinaka, and looked like he had an extra 2 or 3 gears to go through. He showed really smart movement on debut, a lot of skills and we're looking forward to seeing his next bout, which will come in Japan against Vladimir Baez. That bout should see Byambatsogt answering a lot more questions about his chin, his durability and his ability to go through the gears. From what we've seen of him on his debut however he looked very good.
Hiroto Yashiro (1-0, 1)
The only fighter on this list that've sadly not been able to watch, though have had very positive feed back from, is Japanese Bantamweight Hiroto Yashiro. Yashiro is a 22 year old southpaw who debuted in September when he stopped Adundet Khonwong and turned professional following a very, very impressive amateur career. The youngster went an incredible 75-19 in the unpaid ranks and managed to come 3rd in a national tournament. He's a really interesting fighter, who has stated that he wants to fight for youth titles sooner rather than later. Not only does he have the amateur pedigree but also boxing in his blood, with his cousin being Yoshimitsu Yashiro, a former Japanese Super Featherweight champion who twice fought Takashi Miura. We're really hoping to see Yashiro in the ring sooner rather than later and hopefully his next bout will be broadcast some how, as from what we understand he is one exceptional young fighter and someone with a lot of potential to live up to.
(Images courtesy of Watanabe Gym and Teiken)
One of the most popular and familiar faces on the Japanese scene is the "Amazing Boy" Kenshiro (16-0, 9). The talented and skilled fighter, who has also been dubbed the "Smiling Assassin" and the "baby faced assassin" is one of the fighters who has managed to capture the attention of Japanese fans, and those who follow the Japanese scene.
Despite the growing attention for the youngster, there is a lot about him that fans may not know, so here are "10 facts you probably didn't know about...Ken Shiro"
1-Kenshiro, full name Kenshiro Terahi, was named after the Kenshiro character in "Fist of the North Star".
2-His cousin is boat racer Takahiro Korezawa
3-Originally Kenshiro wasn't interested in boxing, and was almost pushed into it due to bad school grades and his father, Hisashi Teraji who was a successful fighter himself in the 1990's, winning the Japanese Middleweight and OPBF Light Heavyweight titles.
4-As an amateur Kenshiro ran up a 58-16 (20) record, including 2 losses to Naoya Inoue one of which came by stoppage in the 63rd Inter Highschool Final's in August 2009!
5-Interestingly the 63rd Inter Highschool Final saw Rikki Naito win the tournament. Naito and Kenshiro hold a distinction together, as the only second generation fighters to have won OPBF and Japanese titles, following in the footsteps of their fathers who had done the same. Kenshiro's father Hisashi, as already mentioned, won the Japanese Middleweight and OPBF Light Heavyweight titles whilst Naito's father, Cassius Naito, won the Japanese and OPBF Middleweight titles. Kenshiro is however the first son of a former OPBF and Japanese champion to go all the way and win a world title.
6-Kenshiro is the first world champion from his father's BMB gym in Kyoto.
7-Despite having won the Japanese title from Kenichi Horikawa, ending Horikawa's reign, the two fighters have a very good relationship. Horikawa has been used as a sparring partner a number of times for Kenshiro, including in some media spars ahead of world title defenses. Kenshiro returned favour earlier this year when he publicly sparred with Horikawa after Ryuto Oho failed to make weight to face Horikawa in what had been scheduled as a Japanese title defense.
8-Kenshiro was supposed to defend the Japanese Light Flyweight title in the 2017 Champion Carnival against would be mandatory challenger Tetsuya Hisada. That bout, which was scheduled for April 2nd 2017, was scrapped when Kenshiro's team managed to secure a bout with WBC world champion Ganigan Lopez. Kenshiro went on to win that bout by majority decision. Around 4 and a half years after the scheduled Hisada Vs Kenshiro bout, Hisada would challenge for the WBA title against Hiroto Kyoguchi. Interestingly Hisada would still get a shot at the Japanese title in 2017, beating the previously mentioned Kenichi Horikawa for the belt in what was their third bout.
9-Unlike many fighters Kenshiro has actually shown no major rush to become a multi-weight champion, stating on multiple occasions that he'd rather break the Japanese record for most world title defenses of a single title instead. The male record currently stands at 13, held by Yoko Gushiken who held the WBA Light Flyweight title, and has only seriously been challenged a couple of times, most notably by Shinsuke Yamanaka who managed 12 defenses of the WBC Bantamweight title. At the time of writing he has notched 6 defenses of the WBC Light Flyweight title.
10-To end this we go full circle. Kenshiro's ring walk song has long been Crystal King's "Regain Love", which was also the theme song for first 82 episodes of the "Fist of the North Star" anime.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
With our recent facts articles all focusing on single fighters we've decided to do one with a twice this weekend as we look at Asian fighters who won a world title but failed to win their professional debuts! We were surprised to find so many of these, but there was actually quite a few, in fact there was more than 25 world champions from Asia who either lost on debut, or drew on debut. Many of these aren't big names, but on the whole they all deserve a lot more attention than they get
1-Whilst we found lots of champions who have debuted in 6 rounders and even a few who debuted in bouts scheduled for 8, such as Naoya Inoue very recently. It is rare, so rare in fact that we could only find two world champions from Asia who debuted in an 8 rounder and lost, before winning a world title. The first of those was Frank Cedeno, the British Filipino fighter who beat Charlie Magri in Wembley for the WBC Flyweight title in 1983, we'll get on to the second later in this article!
2-Korea's second ever world champion Soo Hwan Hong, who is also the first Korean to win titles in more than 1 weight class, draw on his debut to the debuting Sang Il Kim. Coincidentally his career also ended on a draw, as he fought to a stalemate with fellow former world champion Dong Kyun Yum, in what was Hong's 51st bout. That was also Yum's final bout. Incidentally Sang Il Kim's record is 0-1-1.
3-Former WBA Super Flyweight champion Hyung Chul Lee lost 3 of his first 4 bouts, including his debut. Strangely his career ended going full circle and he would also lose his final 2 bouts, both against Alimi Goitia, with only 1 loss in the middle of his career. He would end up with a career record of 19-6 (15)
4-China's first ever male world champion, Xiong Zhao Zhong, fought to a draw on debut. Aged 23 at the time Zhong fought to a 4 round draw with Lingfeng Yu. Yu ended his career 0-6-1, and his only non-loss was the bout to Zhong!
5-Another world champion who fought to a draw on debut was Kwanthai Sithmorseng, who fought to a draw with Nakhon Muensa in June 2005. Kwanthai last fought in June 2019, and despite a draw on his debut he had now gone 56 straight fights without another draw, going 49-7 since that debut draw.
6-Our research suggests that Sho Kimura is the only Asian world champion to have been knocked out on debut! Even more surprising is the fact that Kimura has since built a reputation on being an incredibly tough competitor with a great gas tank. Not the type of fighter you'd think was blown away in 75 seconds on debut!
7-Filipino fighter Manny Melchor retired with a record of 38-35-6 (6), following a loss on his debut. This record makes the former IBF Minimumweight champion one of the very few world champions with a sub 50% winning record.
8-Staying with Manny Melchor, he won just 1 of his first 9 bouts! Starting his career 1-6-2. Things actually took a long time to get better for the Filipino who was 8-8-2 (2) after 18 bouts and didn't have more wins than losses until his 27th bout, when he beat Angelo Escobar to advance his record to 13-12-2 (4)
9-Incidentally the man that Melchor beat for the IBF Minimumweight title, Fahlan Sakkreerin Snr also lost on his debut, losing an 8 round decision, to Chana Porpaoin, who was fighting for just the second time. What makes this bout rather remarkable is that BOTH men would go on to win world titles! Porpaoin would would be a 2-time WBA Minimumweight champion whilst Sahlan would be an IBF Minimumweight champion. Yes, Fahlan was the second of the fighters to lose in an 8 rounder on debut, though of course the more notable fact here was who he lost to!
10-Korean fighter Sung Jun Kim strangely began his career 0-1-1, with his debut being a loss and then his second being a draw, both to the same opponent, In Soo Lim. As with some of the other opponents mentioned these were Lim's only bouts Kim also had a loss and a draw, later in his career, to Hong Soo Yang, and ended his career in 1982 with a loss, book ending his career with losses.
Yesterday we got an unexpected cracker as Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) was given a huge test by Filipino great Nonito Donaire. Despite the struggle Inoue got through with a well-earned decision win to pick up the Muhammad Ali trophy and score his biggest, toughest, and most impressive win to date. He was shaken, he was cut, but he was also the clear winner and the well deserved winner of the WBSS.
Following the WBSS win it was confirmed that Inoue had signed a deal with Top Rank, who will be promoting him in the US going forward. With both his win, and Top Rank deal, in mind we've decided to look at "Five For...Naoya Inoue", looking at 5 possible opponents for his next bout.
1-Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12)
The obvious fight to make right now would be a clash between Inoue and French-Morrocan Nordine Oubaali, the WBC champion defeated Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue on Thursday. The bout would see the WBA, IBF and WBC titles being unified and would be an easy sell with Naoya looking to avenge his brother's loss, with Oubaali would be looking to get the double over the Inoue family. The bout makes sense, and is one both men were open to following Thursday's bouts, and we all love to see titles being unified. However both men do have mandatory defenses to make which may hold up this show down, unless the WBC and IBF are both willing to delay the mandatory schedules.
2-Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20)
Talking about mandatory defenses Inoue's IBF mandatory defense is against Filipino fighter Michael Dasmarinas, who was actually sparring with Takuma Inoue in the build up his bout this past Thursday. Dasmarinas wouldn't be expected to pose much of a threat to Inoue but would mean the "Monster" would get rid of his mandatory obligation, and keep his unified titles intact, and would potentially serve as an interesting first assignment under Top Rank. The bout could be sold as Dasmarinas trying to avenge Donaire's loss for the Filipino people, whilst Inoue would clearly be coming into the bout to retain his title. Dasmarinas hasn't looked great in recent bouts, and would likely be taken out by Inoue, but would look good enough on paper to interest American fans.
3-Luis Nery (30-0, 24)
On paper a harder bout to make, as Luis Nery is very much a PBC fighter, a bout between Inoue and Mexican fighter Luis Nery is an easy sell. If it can be made. Nery is public enemy #1 in Japanese boxing circles due to his two tainted wins over Shinsuke Yamanaka, and a bout between Nery and Inoue would give Japanese boxing a chance to right the wrong of those Yamanaka losses, it would also give Nery a chance to face the new Japanese Bantamweight star. The issue for this bout is all between the two teams, Top Rank and PBC, but if a deal could be made to sort that out the fight would be huge, and the atmosphere, even in the US on supposedly neutral turf, would be electric. Interestingly if Inoue beat Oubaali, Nery would be his WBC mandatory, though if Nery beat Oubaali the bout would be a very nice unification bout. The options for this down the line are certainly there.
4-Zolani Tete (28-3, 21) / John Riel Casimero (28-4, 19)
This time we have a double choice, as it really depends on who wins on November 30th as to which of these two is option #4. South African fighter Zolani Tete is the current WBO champion, and he was actually part of the WBSS before getting injured and pulling out of a semi-final bout with Nonito Donaire. Tete was the opponent many had hoped to see face Inoue in the WBSS final, so having that bout, to unify the WBA, IBF and WBO titles would be a great bout for 2020. With his size and reach Tete poses a lot of interesting questions to Inoue, but would be seen as a clear under-dog.
On the other hand if John Riel Casimero, the WBO interim champion, can over-come Tete at the end of the month, he would make for a different but equally interesting opponent for Inoue. Casimero isn't the rangy and taller opponent that Tete is, but is an unpredictable, heavy handed slugger, who would make for a really interesting foe for Inoue. Casimero certainly has power, and like Inoue is a 3-weight champion, but would obviously need to get past Tete to secure that bout.
5-Isaac Dogboe (20-2, 14)
Whilst all the other options we've looked at have been Bantamweight options one thing to consider is that Inoue may look to move up in weight sooner rather than later. One option for that would be a bout with former WBO Super Bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe, who is promoted by Top Rank. In fact this bout could take place at either Bantamweight or Super Bantamweight and could be made very easily if Top Rank wanted to pursue it. Dogboe has just suffered back to back losses to Emanuel Navarrete, but has been shown on US TV, is a Top Rank fighter and is a former world champion. On paper an easy bout to make, but maybe not the right time to make it, given Dogboe's recent defeats.
On November 9th former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) will fight in a Japanese Super Featherweight title eliminator in an attempt to book himself a place in next year's Champion Carnival. Ahead of his bout with Takuya Watanabe, and on the back of a request, we've made him this week's fighter to be covered in our weekly "10 facts you probably didn't know about..." segment.
1-Minamoto has type O blood, in Japan this is thought to mean that he is optimistic, calm, realistic, resilient, vain, loyal and financially minded.
2-His first professional loss came in the East Japan Rookie of the year Semi Final, in 2011, and came all the way down at Super Bantamweight! Since then he has grown into his body and out grown not only the Super Bantamweight division but also the Featherweight division.
3-He enjoys playing cards in free time, as well as playing the trumpet and cycling
4-Minamoto's mother passed away on April 7th 2017 at the age of 63, after a battle with cancer. Exactly 1 year later he won the Japanese Featherweight title, stopping Takenori Ohashi in 7 rounds.
5-Surprisingly Minamoto's first Japanese title defense, a win over Tatsuya Otsubo in August 2018, wasn't available in Oita, where Minamoto's originally from meaning his friends had to rely on things like youtube to see the fight!
6-At the time of writing none of Minamoto's 22 opponents so far have had more losses than wins when he faced them. He has had 3 fighters who had an equal amount of losses to wins, including 2 debutants, but none have had losing records.
7-Favourite fighters of Minamoto include former Watanabe gym stablemate Takashi Uchiyama and Arturo Gatti
8-One of Minamoto's older brothers died at the age of 29 in a road traffic accident on January 13th 2017. Just months before their mother's passing.
9-Minamoto is close friends with former-world title challenger Ryo Akaho and they two men have sparred frequently
10-His family ran a restaurant in Beppu, Oita, and Minamoto himself learned to cook a bit there, as he was, at one point, training to work in the business.
(Image courtesy of Watanabe Gym)
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).