Not every fight we cover in Closet Classic will be a close, hotly contested bout, but that doesn't take away from their appeal. To we look at a bout that saw one man being dropped 7 times, but refusing to just accept defeat. We saw an established champion beat down a big hope, and we saw real intense action between swarmer and boxer. This was an instant classic, and yet not a bout known for being a competitive contest.
Jung Koo Chang (35-1, 15) vs Hideyuki Ohashi (8-2, 4) II
In 1983 Jung Koo Chang announced himself as a top fight, avenging his sole loss and stopping the brilliant Hilario Zapata to begin his legendary reign as the WBC Light Flyweight champion . After beginning his reign Chang quickly went on a tear, beating the likes of German Torres, Sot Chitlada Katsuo Tokashiki, Isidro Perez and Hideyuki Ohashi. He had cemented his place as one of the divisions all time greats come the summer of 1988 when he travelled to Japan for a second bout with Ohashi. By this point Chang was only 25, but already had looked like he was losing a step. He'd fit 14 world title defenses into his reign by this point, and had fought 36 times in less than 8 years, with almost half of his bouts being fought at world level.
By the time June 1988 rolled around the highly touted Hideyuki Ohashi was ready to get his second shot at Jung Koo Chang, the man who had stopped him in 5 rounds back in December 1986. Ohashi was regarded in Japan as a boxing genius, the talent that only comes around once in 150 years. Sadly he had been too inexperienced, too light punching, and not good enough when he had faced Chang the first time around, in what was Ohashi's 7th professional bout. He had rebuilt from that loss with a trio of victories, including one over former world title challenger Tomohiro Kiyuna. His team would likely have been hoping the extra experience and cracks forming in Chang's armour would give Ohashi a chance to become a world champion.
Given the fighters involved it was always clear this wasn't going to be a bout where the two men were standing off waiting for a mistake but instead a match up between offensive machine and a natural boxing talent. Only a minute in and Chang was already forcing the action on to Ohashi, who was having to respond boxing in the pocket, trying to pick his counter shots to dissuade the advancing Korean icon.
The aggression of Chang refused to slow down, even when Ohashi managed to land some really clean head shots, as he did in round 2. All the good work of Ohashi seemed to just anger Chang, who roared back, unloading with more intensity on the Japanese challenger. The moments of success for the local made for some thrilling scenes, that sent the Korakuen Hall in fits of excitement, even if the punishment he gave Chang was always returned with interest.
Sadly for Ohashi the power and aggression of Chang saw the Korean score 3 knockdowns in round 3. Some how however Ohashi ended the round rocking Chang, battling through the adversity to give us a a dramatic turn.
Having come close to being stopped in round 3 Ohashi seemed to become more determined and bloody minded than ever, standing his ground more and delivering some solid and hurtful shots on to Chang, who was forced to slow down in round 4. Chang was still on top, but Ohashi was making him pay more regularly for his aggression.
The success of Ohashi was never looking like it would be enough to stop the rampant Chang, even when the pace slowed in round 6. Chang resumed total control of the bout and would go on to drop Ohashi twice in round 7, but Ohashi refused to be beaten there and then and continued to dig his toes in and bite down on his gum shield. Ohashi's heart and desire kept him going, despite the punishment he was taking.
The was a bit of a one sided classic, but a thriller, an action packed bout, one that seemed to show there were cracks with Chang, but that even a Chang at 85% was too much. It was proof that determination and will to win is an incredible facet of a boxer, who refused to quit against all sorts of adversity.
Yes, this wasn't an ultra competitive back and forth, but was some how still an instant classic.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features