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)
On August 24th we saw Filipino fighter Edward Heno (14-1-5, 5) come up short in an excellent WBO Light Flyweight world title bout, losing a close decision to Mexican youngster Elwin Soto. The bout was one of those rare ones where both men seemed to enhance their reputation, with the winner and loser being having a higher standing than they had when they went into the bout. With that in mind it we've done a "Five For..." article dedicated to what Heno could do on the back of his close loss to Soto, and look at 5 bouts that make sense for Heno going forward.
1- Hiroto Kyogochi (14-0, 9)
We all love Japan Vs Philippines bouts and only a few short weeks ago we saw WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi successfully defending his title, with Heno putting up such a great against Soto why not match the two together! Neither man will fight again in 2019, we assume, but to have the two men clash in early 2020 would be brilliant. Kyoguchi needs a good dance partner next time out, and with Kenshiro and Felix Alvarado facing off in December both of those will be off the table, whilst Heno makes for a great dance partner and is likely to be available. As for Heno this bout would give him a second world shot, and a bout that might suit his style. Kyoguchi's very good, but Heno has the style to give him real fits, and of the champions out there, other than Soto, it's Kyoguchi that Heno matches up best against.
2-Carlos Canizales (22-0-1, 17)
Having just given Elwin Soto a really close bout we don't think Heno has any fear, and with that in mind maybe the perfect bout for him would be a contest with the division's bogeyman, Carlos Canizales. The Venezuelan boxer-puncher is the current WBA "regular" champion but he seems to be the one fighter that no one is in a rush to face, either as a challenger or as a champion looking to unify. There's a reason no one is in a chasing Canizales, and that's because he's a nightmare to fight, with under-rated boxing skills and serious power. He is the man to avoid in the division. For Heno however he's a man with a world title, and another target for the Filipino, who will be chasing a second world title fight after the Soto bout.
3-Daniel Matellon (10-0-2, 6)
Panama based Cuban Daniel Matellon doesn't make much sense to fight in general as he's a very talented fighter, very awkward to catch clean and incredibly smooth. He's also a pretty unknown one. There's a risk of losing to Matellon, for everyone in the division. However what better way to enhance your reputation than to get in and beat the man that no one wants to face? Matellon isn't the sort of attractive name fighter that top guys are in a rush to face, but he is ranked in the top 15 by all 4 world title bodies and a win over him at this point in time would put any fighter on the verge of a world title shot. For a champion Matellon isn't someone they are rushing to face, but for a fellow contender a win over him would potentially net them a world title fight.
4-Elwin Soto (16-1, 11) II
What's better than one brilliant fight between two fighters? Several good fights between the same fighters! Given how good Heno's bout with Soto was there has to be some real interest in the men going again in a rematch. A rematch that would get more attention than their first and would work really well as a good supporting bout on a much big show, rather than headlining a mid-week card. Soto won the first fight, albeit a very close fight, and to have the men do it over would not be a problem at all! We expect to see Soto defending against former champion Angel Acosta next time out, but if Acosta doesn't fancy the rematch with "La Pulga" then having Heno take on the champion wouldn't be a bad alternative.
5-Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7)
A left of field choice, but a very, very interesting one for Heno, would be a bout with 2-time world title challenger Reiya Konishi. Konishi, who has lost to Carlos Canizales and Felix Alvarado, would likely see Heno as an opponent he can beat to stay in the world title mix, whilst Heno would see Konishi as a fighter he could beat to remain in the mix. Both would be going into this feeling they could pick up the win, and could earn themselves another shot. Stylistically Konishi makes for a very interesting opponent for Heno, with Konishi being the busier man, but Heno being the more skilled, and the better pure boxer. If neither can land another world title fight then this is a really interesting match up man one we would love to see.
Unbeaten Thai fighter Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18) extended his perfect record last Friday, when he beat South African fighter Simpiwe Konkco to retain the WBC Minimumweight title. The Thai dominated the South African and took a surprisingly easy win over the usually solid Konkco, who seemed happy to go through the motions and see out the 12 rounds, rather than to try and win.
Now with his 54th win in the bag it seems the perfect time for us to look at potential future challengers for the WBC champion, as we give Wanheng Menayothin the "Five for..." treatment.
Before we start this we are just going to immediately rule out the potential showdown with Knockout CP Freshmart, a bout that both fighters have shown no interest in making and seems a very unrealistic bout to make given the circumstances of the two men. Whilst it would be a very interesting bout, it's not one that is plausible, so we won't be considering it here.
1-Pedro Taduran (14-2, 11) II
The most obvious choice for Wangheng next timeout, on what is likely to be his US debut, would be a showdown with IBF champion Pedro Taduran. This bout makes sense in so many ways. Not only would it be a unification bout between the Thai and Filipino but it would also give Taduran a chance to avenge a competitive 2018 loss to the Thai, a loss that saw Wanheng move to 51-0. Since the loss to the Thai we've seen Taduran score early wins over Jeffrey Galero and Samuel Salva, claiming the IBF title with the win over Salva. Aged just 23 a place on a big US card against Wanheng would be massive for Taduran's career, and a win on a US show against the Thai would be sensational for the Filipino youngster. If the two did fight Wanheng would be the favourite, but Taduran would be a very live under-dog, in a bout that could be very entertaining from a stylistic point of view.
2-Wilfredo Mendez (15-1, 5)
Fighting just a day after Wanheng defended his belt against Konkco, it's hard not to think that Wilfredo Mendez would be the perfect opponent for Wanheng's US debut. Mendez is the current WBO world champion, he's a Puerto Rican and although not a star he could draw on the US based Puerto Rican fans to back him on a notable US under-card. The 22 year old "Bimbito" would see this as a huge step up in class, given he only fought in his first world title bout in August 2019, but a chance to unify his WBO title with Wanheng's WBC belt in Las Vegas or New York would, perhaps, be too much to turn down. We don't see this being a great bout to watch, but it's certainly a significant match up if it gets made.
3-Vic Saludar (19-4, 10)
For a more fan friendly bout Wanheng could take on former Mendez foe Vic Saludar, the man Mendez beat for the WBO title in August. Mendez's style proved too quick and sharp for Saludar, but the Filipino puncher is a hard hitting monster, and managed to show what he could do with wins in Japan against Ryuya Yamanaka and Masataka Taniguchi, and it's of course impossible to forget his effort, in a loss, to Kosei Tanaka. This bout was spoken about earlier in the year, as a potential unification bout if Saludar got past Mendez, but there's no reason it can't still take place. With Wanheng moving around a lot less than Mendez he'll be there for a fight and Saludar will be looking for just that. This would be the sort of action fight that could grab a Western audience by the collar and get them to give the little men a go, and would be a great stand alone contest.
4-Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10)
At the age of 34 Norihito Tanaka isn't the most attractive opponent for Wanheng in terms of building the Thai's international fan base. What he is however is a criminally under-rated fighter who had been linked to Wanheng earlier this year and would make for a decent challenger, without being a great one. The current Japanese champion has won his last 3, including a stoppage over Shin Ono, and knows that time is ticking down on his career. If he could land one big bout, such as one with Wanheng, it would be the perfect send off for the Japanese veteran. For Wanheng a bout with Tanaka would be a bout against a fellow veteran, and someone who has the power and ring craftiness to be a test. Not the headline bout for Wanheng's US debut, but a bout we'd like to see all the same.
5-Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1, 1)
Having been out of the ring for almost a year as we write this it's unclear what the future holds for "Da Baby Boy" but Mark Anthony Barriga is one of the most naturally skilled men in the lower weights, and his skills going up against Wanheng's would be a really interesting test for both men. For Wanheng the bout would see him up against someone who has a legitimate chance of out boxing him, forcing him to be more aggressive and try to rough up Barriga. For Barriga the test will be how well he can cope in the harsh conditions of Thailand against a defensively smart pressure fighter. This wouldn't be one for the ages, but would be a really compelling bout and a stylistically intriguing one. Sadly Barriga's not fought since losing in an IBF title fight against Carlos Licona, but after a warm up or two he'll likely leap at a shot to face Wanheng.
On November 7th Nonito Donaire will have one of, if not the, biggest fight of his career as he takes on Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue in Japan. The bout, the WBSS Bantamweight final, is expected to have more than 10,000,000 tuning in on TV in Japan alone, and more than 20,000 people in attendance.
Of course, with Donaire being such a big name, and such a well known boxing figure we seem to think that fans know a lot about the "Filipino Flash". Despite that, we've tried to come up with 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Nonito Donaire.
1-Donaire comes from a real boxing family. His brother is Glenn Donaire and his cousin is Richard Donaire, both of whom were professional fighters and his father, Nonito Donaire Sr, was an amateur boxer in the 1990's
2-He attended the same school as Manny Pacquiao
3-Although not well known for his amateur career Donaire actually went 68-8 in the unpaid ranks. Nonito and his brother Glenn Donaire, both took part in the 2000 US Olympic Trials at 48KG's and both were beaten by Karoz Norman and Brian Viloria. Notably they didn't actually face each other though.
4-One other note about his amateur career comes from 1999, when he competed at the Junior Olympic International Tournament. At the tournament Donaire would go on to win the 48KG tournament, among other winners at this competition was Andre Ward, who won the 67KG tournament and the once touted Francisco Bojado, who was victorious at 57KG.
5-With Donaire now set to face Naoya Inoue, in what will be Donaire's Japanese debut, it's interesting to note that he has often visited Japan and is a manga and anime fan. Although his fight with Inoue will be his first bout in Japan he has trained in the country a number of times, and is well regarded in Japanese boxing circles. He's also known to read Hajime No Ippo and has met it's creator George Morikawa, who actually did the second Naoya Inoue Ring Magazine cover!
6-Donaire was the first Asian fighter to claim a world title from all 4 major world title bodies. He won his first IBF title in 2007, his first WBO in 2011, along with his first WBC, and would add a WBA title in 2014. In fact to date Donaire has won 2 IBF titles, 3 WBO, 1 WBC and 2 WBA titles!
7-Donaire featured in an energy drink advert for Cobra Energy Drink in the Philippines, in which he beat up a robot, and an advert for a water product too
8-Donaire also has an acting credit from a movie to his name for his role in "Palad ta ang nagbuot", where he plays a major part. We've included a trailer from this movie below, where you can see Donaire's acting at work.
9-Fellow Filipino-American Nump, recorded a song "Filipino Flash" about Donaire, who was in the music video for the track. As with the trailer for the movie we mentioned, this can also be seen below.
10-As well as being a world class boxer and his acting credit, Donaire is also a talented photographer, and has been known to take ringside photographs for publications in the past.
In 2017 Japanese fighter Sho Kimura travelled to China and dethroned local hero Zou Shiming to claim the WBO world title. Many know that was the first time a Japanese male had won a world title in China, and he went on to become a genuine star in Chinese boxing circles. He would lose the title less than 14 months later, in an instant classic with Kosei Tanaka, in what was regarded by many as the 2018 Fight of the Year.
Whilst a lot is known about Kimura, we now bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about...Sho Kimura
1-Following Kimura's win over Shiming he was referred to in some circles as the Heisei Cinderella man, referring to the Japanese Heisei era and his journey to a world title, which was unexpected and saw him essentially coming from nowhere to win major title.
2-Kimura's first stoppage win came in his 10th professional bout against Kamon Singram, who had a record of 0-24 with 12 stoppages losses before facing Kimura. Following this win Kimura scored 10 stoppages in his 11 subsequent wins!
3-Kimura's entrance song is “Forever Young” by Japanese folk singer Takehara Pistol, the full version of this song has been included at the bottom of this article.
4-Prior to winning the WBO Flyweight world title he had worked in a liquor store, a job he began doing in 2016
5-Although known as a tough and rugged fighter Kimura was dropped twice on his debut, a 75 second loss to Shosuke Oji.
6-Kimura's September 2014 draw against Akira Kokubo saw him being eliminated from the Rookie of the Year due to the rules of the Rookie of the Year. Incidentally this was Kokubo's third straight draw before he suffered 4 straight defeats.
7-When he won the world title in 2018 he became the first male world champion for the Aoki gym, which had been founded in 1945. Prior to Kimura's success the most notable fighter at the gym was female fighter Momo Koseki, who holds the record for the most world title defenses by a Japanese world champion.
8-Kimura's mother died when she was 44 and he was 20. After winning the WBO Asia Pacific and WBO world titles he took them to his mother's grave.
9-Whilst we all know Kimura's career defining win is his victory in China against Zou Shiming, what's fairly forgotten is that entering that bout he was a total unknown and you could get odds of 9/1 on Kimura beating Shiming!
10-Kimura won his first professional title, the WBO Asia Pacific title 1 day before his 28th birthday. Coincidentally his third professional bout came on his 25th birthday.
BONUS FACT-In beating Zou Shiming and Toshiyuki Igarashi, in back to back fights no less, Kimura actually beat 2 men who competed in the Light Flyweight division at the 2004 Athens Olympics!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
After weeks of trying to come up with a regular Saturday feature we've finally got one thanks to our good friend Derek Bonnett, from Seconds Out, who's regular posts on facebook lead to things clicking. Whilst we know Derek wasn't the first to come up with the idea, it's been his regular posting of them that has really flicked a switch and lead us to begin this new series.
To begin with we must admit we're not 100% sure which we this will end up going and what will take priority. The original idea was going to be "The 5 best wins for..." though our realisation was that the "best" didn't always mean significant, and in the end it can be a frustrating task to summarise what is really "better" than something else. As a result we've decided to mix the two pretty interchangeably to begin with. This may change in the future, but for now we're going with a hybrid of "best", "significant", "meaningful" and "impressive".
To kick things off with we're going to look at former 3-weight Japanese world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (36-5, 16). The "Ace of Japan debuted in 1999 and fought for the final time in 2016. During his long he won the WBC Bantamweight, WBC Featherweight and WBC Super Bantamweight title whilst becoming a genuine star in his homeland and one of the most widely respected fighters out there.
Of course we all know who Hasegawa is, but what were his Top 5 wins?
5-Jess Maca (May 18th 2003)
The first win we'd like to talk about when it comes to Hasegawa is his 2003 win over Filipino veteran Jess Maca for the OPBF title. This isn't a win that got much attention in the west but showed that the 22 year old Hasegawa was a real one to watch. Coming in to the bout Maca had developed a reputation as a "Japanese killer" winning against a string of Japanese fighters, including Setsuo Segawa, Shigeru Nakazato, Shin Yamata and Katsushige Kawashima, whilst running up 7 defenses of the OPBF Bantamweight title. Hasegawa managed to end Maca's run with an excellent performance, taking a narrow split decision over the Filipino. This was Hasegawa's first title win, and put him on the road to the top.
4-Veeraphol Sahaprom (April 16th 2005) - Fight I
After making 3 defenses of the OPBF title Hasegawa got his first world title fight, taking on Thai great Veeraphol Sahaprom, for the WBC Bantamweight title.The Thai boasted a 46-1-2 (31) professional record, with his only loss coming Nana Yaw Konadu way back in 1996, a loss that had been followed by a 44 fight unbeaten run including 14 defenses of the WBC Bantamweighr title. Like Maca we'd seen Sahaprom prove to be a thorn in the side of Japanese boxing, with 2 wins against the legendary Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, a 2-0-2 series with Toshiaki Nishioka. Hasegawa would go on to take a close and competitive decision over Sahaprom, ending the Thai's lengthy world title reign.
3-Vusi Malinga (March 12th 2009)
It was somewhat hard to place Hasegawa's two wins over notable South African fighters. The first of those came in 2007, when he took a decision win over Simpiwe Vetyeka, and the other came less than 2 years later when he beat Vusi Malinga. The bout with Vetyeka is one that certainly aged very well, though in reality was a hard to watch bout between two talented 26 year old's who pretty much cancelled each other out. Against Malinga however Hasegawa impressed, blitzing the tough Southpaw inside a round, giving him his only stoppage loss. This was arguably the most impressive destruction job Hasegawa ever managed and showed that the Ace could punch much harder than his record suggested. In just 157 seconds Hasegawa took out a legitimately tough guy. This wasn't the most notable win, but was one of the most impressive.
2-Hugo Ruiz (September 16th 2016)
At the age of 35 Hasegawa was seen as a man coming to the end of his career, and his 2016 bout with Hugo Ruiz was expected to one final roll of the dice in his attempt to become a 3-weight world champion. Almost 30 months earlier he had been broken down by the then IBF champion Kiko Martinez and just 9 before facing Ruiz he had been dropped twice by Carlos Ruiz. He looked done. Ruiz on the other hand was a was a huge Super Bantamweight, who had real power, was 29 years old and had avenged a stoppage loss to Julio Ceja. Ruiz's only other losses were a 2007 loss to and a very close decision loss in Japan to Koki Kameda. Despite being beyond his best Hasegawa put up a great performance and forced Ruiz to retire in his corner after 9 rounds. At the time of the stoppage Hasegawa was in a very narrow lead, and in fact one judge had him down, but finally he'd done it. Almost 6 years removed from his last world level win, he had become a 3 weight champion.
1-Veeraphol Sahaprom (March 25th 2006) - Fight II
Whilst Hasegawa's first win over Veeraphol Sahaprom, in 2005 was an excellent performance to win the WBC Bantamweight title we'd actually go with the rematch, just 11 months later, as a better win. For Hasegawa this was his second defense, following a rather easy win over Gerardo Martinez. For Veeraphol however the bout was a chance to avenge his loss, reclaim the title and scoring a 6th straight win. This time around Hasegawa took the result out of the judges hands and seemed to toy with Sahaprom at times before landing a brutal right hand early in round 9 to take out the Thai with 1 shot. This was only the second time the Thai had been stopped, and despite the fact he was 37 the finish here, and the pressure to perform at the highest level earned this bout the #1 place.
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).