On this day...
1992-Muangchai Kittikasem (17-1, 11) vs Sot Chitalada (26-3-1, 16) II
In February 1991 Munachai Kittikasem stopped Sot Chitalada in 6 rounds to become the WBC Flyweight champion. He had made 2 defenses, including winning a nail biter with Jung Koo Chang, before giving Chitalada a rematch just a year later. This would be another hard hitting affair, with Kittikasem doing the double over his countryman, courtesy of a 9th round TKO win. The loss for Chitalada here sent him into retirement, whilst Kittikasem would lose the title in his next defense, being stopped in 8 rounds by Yuri Arbachakov. He would continue to fight through to 1999, losing a rematch to Arbachakov along the way, before retiring with a record of 25-4 (17), almost identical to Chitalada's 26-4-1 (16).
1987-Khaosai Galaxy (29-1, 26) vs Elly Pical (14-2, 10)
Whilst politics have played a major part in titles not being unified in recent years it isn't actually a new thing and in 1987 we had a champion Vs champion bout at Super Flyweight. The bout in question saw hard hitting fighters collide as WBA Super Flyweight champion Khaosai Galaxy took on IBF champion Elly Pical. Galaxy's WBA title was on the line, but Pical's IBF title wasn't. In the end Galaxy would stop the Indonesian in the 14th round to retain his title, and prove himself as the better fighter, though the IBF would then strip the "Exocet" who would become a 2 time champion less than 8 months later, when he beat Tae-Il Chang.
1971-Shozo Saijo (27-6-2, 8) vs Frankie Crawford (32-10-4, 15)
Japan's Shozo Saijo is often forgotten by international fans, though he played a major part in Japanese boxing in the 1960's and 70's beating Raul Rojas for the WBA Featherweight title in 1968 and making 5 succesful defenses of the belt, the last of which saw him over-coming Frankie Crawford in 1971. The bout, a rematch of a very close bout from the previous year, was a clear but competitive win on this cards this time around. Sadly Saijo would lose the belt less than 7 months later, when he was stopped by Antonio Gomez.
On this day...
1994-Ratanapol Sor Vorapin (16-2-1, 12) vs Ronnie Magramo (19-6, 14)
One of the many Thai's who go over looked in this day and age is Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, who fought in over 20 world title fight and had 2 reigns as the IBF Minimumweight champion during the 1990's. His 5th defense of his first reign saw him take on Filipino puncher Ronnie Magramo, and take a clear decision over Magramo, who had also come up short against Chana Porpaoin, and later lose to Songkram Porpaoin. Magramo would never go on to win a world title but would be a notable figure on the Asian scene until retiring around the turn of the millennium. Ratanapol would continue to fight until 2009, running up a 59-8-1 (48) record.
1993-Sung Kil Moon (18-1, 14) Vs Hilario Zapata (43-9-1, 14)
Korean great Sung Kil Moon was a professional for less than 7 years, but his body of work was incredible, fight 22 times with 15 of those bouts being in world title contests. One of his final bouts saw him defending the WBC Super Flyweight title against Panamanian veteran Hilario Zapata at the Olympic Fencing Gymnasium, Seoul. Zapata was a 2-weight champion and had won his first world title in 1980, dethroning Shigeo Nakajima, but was now a shadow of the fighter he once was. Moon stopped Zapata inside a round, here and sent him into retirement, but Moon would himself only fight twice more, losing the title in November, before also retiring.
1968-Fighting Harada (50-3, 19) Vs Lionel Rose (27-2, 8)
True legends fighting doesn't happen very often, but it did when former Fighting Harada took on Lionel Rose. Harada had been a short lived world champion at Flyweight before making his mark at Bantamweight, twice beating the legendary Eder Jofre and scoring a string of other notable wins. His reign would come to an end when he was narrowly out pointed by Rose who became the first aborigine world champion. The win helped make Rose a legend and saw him begin a short but notable reign that featured 3 successful defenses. Harada would fail in 2 attempts to become a 3 weight champion whilst Rose would himself move up to Super Featherweight, losing to the then WBC champion Yoshiaki Numata in 1971.
On this date...
2017-Tatsuya Fukuhara (18-4-6, 7) Vs Moises Calleros (25-6-1, 14)
Japan's Tatsuya Fukuhara would get his first world title fight when he took on Mexican fighter Moises Calleros for the WBO "interim" Minimumweight title. The bout, held in Kumamoto, was an all action war between two men putting it all on the line. In the end Fukuhara would take the win, by split decision, though lose the title in his first defense as he lost a decision to Ryuya Yamakana.
2013-Ayaka Miyao (13-5-1, 1) Vs Masae Akitaya (8-3-2, 3) II
In February 2012 Ayaka Miyao defeated Masae Akitaya to earn a shot at the WBA Atomweight title. She would make the most of that opportunity by winning the title in September 2012. In Miyao's first defense she faced off with Akitaya for the second time, and was successful in defending the title. Miyao would go on to make 5 defended before losing the belt in 2015, in a unification bout to Momo Koseki.
2006-Daiki Kameda (0-0) Vs Panmee Samart (0-3)
The Kameda family are one of the most well known in Asian boxing, with a trio of world champions coming from the clan. The middle brother, Daiki Kameda, made his debut as a 17 year old, beating Panmee Samart, with an opening round win. Daiki would later go on to become a 2-weight champion, and a very controversial figure, having a notoriously dirty fight with Daisuke Naito.
On this day....
1997-Hiroki Ioka (30-5-1,1 5) Vs Jose Bonilla (21-3, 11)
Japanese fighter Hiroki Ioka had won world titles at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight earlier in his career and he chased a third divisional world title, having numerous world title shots at a third weight class. The third saw him challenging WBA Flyweight champion Jose Bonilla. Sadly for Ioka he would be dropped by Bonilla in the second round before losing in the 7th. Ioka would go on to challenge Satoshi Iida, for the WBA Super Flyweight title, but come up short there as well, retiring in 1998 with the third weight class remaining elusive.
1995-Ratanapol Sor Vorapin (20-2-1, 15) Vs Jerry Pahayahay (21-15-1, 8)
In 1992 Thai youngster Ratanapol Sor Vorapin won the IBF Minimumweight tite, at the age of 18. His 9th defense saw him take on the experienced Jerry Pahayahay, a man best known for twice beating Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Ratanapol would stop the experienced Filipino in 3 rounds to retain his title and continue his reign, which would continue until he was stripped in March 1996 for failing to make weight. He would however regain the title just 2 months later.
1989-Elly Pical (18-3, 11) Vs Mike Phelps (26-1-3, 8)
Indonesian fighter Elly Pical wasn't just the first Indonesian to win a world title, but was the first 3-time champion from the country. In his third defense of his third reign Pical took on American challenger Mike Phelps, in what was the first ever world title bout in Singapore. The Indonesian would retain the title with a split decision, before losing the belt 8 months later to Juan Polo Perez in the US.
1983-Akira Yaegashi's birthday
Popular Japanese warrior Akira Yaegashi celebrates his birthday! The brilliantly exciting Yaegashi has given us a fantastic career, winning world titles in 3 divisions, and is one of the true modern day warriors. A real gem for the sport and someone who is hopefully having a great birthday!
On this day...
2018-Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40) Vs Juan Francisco Estrada (36-2, 25)
One of the best bouts of 2018 saw WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai defending his title in a mandatory defense against talented Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada. The bout wasn't an all out war, but was a thrilling chess match played out with huge straight lefts, sharp jabs and a sense of danger for both men. It was one of the standout bouts and was razor close. As we write this a rematch is expected to be announced, and could take place as early as April 2019!
2001-Artur Grigorian (31-0, 20) Vs Angel Jose Perez (15-1, 13)
Hard hitting Uzbek born German based fighter Artur Grigorian made his 13th defense of the WBO Lightweight title, stopping heavy handed Spanish challenger Angel Jose Perez in the 6th round, with Perez's team throwing in the towel. Perez would lose his next 2 fights before retiring for good. Grigorian would make 4 more defenses before losing the belt to Brazilian great Acelino Freitas in 2004.
1996-Saman Sorjaturong (28-2-1 23) Vs Antonio Perez (41-6-4, 27)
Thai fighter Saman Sorjaurong put himself on the boxing map in 1995 with his Fight of the Year bout against Humberto Gonalez, claiming the WBC and IBF Light Flyweight titles. Despite vacating the IBF title relatively early in his reign he would keep the WBC belt for several years, with his second defense coming against Mexican challenger Antonio Perez. Perez would be competitive in the first 3 rounds, but was stopped in the 4th round by the Thai, who would record 10 total defenses before losing to Yo Sam Choi in 1999.
On this day...
1969-Chartchai Chionoi (48-11-2, 31) Vs Efren Torres (58-5-1, 38) II
It's rare we see trilogies between Thai and Mexican fighter but we had a bloody, brutal, violent trilogy between Chartchai Chionoi and Efren Torres in a little over 2 years, from 1968 and 1970. The first of the bouts had seen Chionoi score his third defense of the WBC Flyweight title, sadly the first rematch saw Torres avenge the loss, stopping the Thai with a badly swollen left eye. The rubber match would go the way of the Thai who would go on to reclaim the title before later claiming the WBA belt.
2002-Yo Sam Choi (23-1, 12) Vs Shingo Yamaguchi (11-2-1, 5)
Korean legend Yo Sam Choi didn't venture out of his homeland often, only leaving for two bouts in Japan. His second bout saw him leaving Korea to defend the WBC Light Flyweight title against Japanese challenger Shingo Yamaguchi. This was Choi's third defense of the title, which he retained with a 10th round stoppage over the brave Yamaguchi. Sadly Yamaguchi would lose the title to Jorge Arce in his next fight. Yamaguchi would go on to have two more world title bouts, losing to Takefumi Sakata and Daisuke Naito later in his career.
2004-Konosuke Tomiyama (0-0) Vs Tsuyoshi Takizawa (0-1)
Charismatic Japanese fighter Konosuke Tomiyama won't go down in the history books as anyone amazing, or a special fighter but his lively personality was always enjoyable, and he did manage to give Nobuo Nashiro a real scare in a WBA world title bout. He actually debuted on this day, stopping Tsuyoshi Takizawa in the 4th round at the Korakuen Hall.
On this day...
1960-Fighting Harada (0-0) Vs Isami Masui (0-0)
Japanese legend Fighting Harada debuted back on this day in 1960, beating fellow debutant Isami Masui in 4 rounds. For Masui this is the sole recorded bout of his, for Harada however this is was the first step of a legendary career that saw him going 55-7 (22), winning world titles at Flyweight and Bantamweight, and score wins over fellow legends like Pone Kingpetch, Eder Jofre, Hiroyuki Ebihara and Bernardo Caraballo.
1964-Satoshi Shingaki's birthday
Japan's Satoshi Shingaki will never go down as one of the nation's legends, but was a very notable fighter in the 1980's due to his connection with the renegade IBF Japan, leaving the JBC to work with the upstart organisation. He would be the first IBF champion, winning the IBF Bantamweight title in 1984, well before the JBC even recognised the IBF. Shingaki's career, which ended in 1990 saw him going 11-3-1 (8) but he played a notable, yet often forgot, part in the rarely remembered IBF Japan movement.
Whilst a number of days in February have lacked things of note that certainly can't be said for February 19th which has given us numerous notable bouts, including several big Japanese female cards.
2015-Naoko Shibata vs Saemi Hanagata
Momo Koseki v Aisah Alico
A female double header in Tokyo saw Naoko Shibata and Momo Koseki retaining their titles in all Japanese world title bouts at the Korakuen Hall.
2012-Ayaka Miyao Vs Masae Akitaya
Mari Ando Vs Maria del Refugio Jimenez Cruz
Etsuko Tada Vs Maria Salinas
Another female title double header came in 2012 and, again, saw ladies stealing the show, this time in Osaka, with Tada and Ando retaining their WBA titles and Miyao becoming the WBA Atomweight mandatory challenger.
2000-Artur Grigorian vs Sandro Casamonica
Uzbek fighter Artur Grigorian held the WBO Lightweight title for close to 8 years, from 1996 to 2004. During that time he made 17 defenses, the 10th of which came n this day in 2000, when he beat Italian challenger Sandro Casamonica in 9 rounds. The talented Grigorian dropped Sasamonica in the 8th round before scoring the stoppage the following round.
1989-Sung Kil Moon vs Chiaki Kobayashi
The then WBA Bantamweight champion Sung Kil Moon made his second defense as he stopped Chiaki Kobayashi in the 5th round. Moon would lose the title 5 months later, in a return bout with Khaokor Galaxy, who he had beaten for the title in 1988. Moon would later prove to be a phenomenal fighter at Super Flyweight, winning the WBC Super Flyweight title in 1990 and defending it 9 times. Sadly this would be Kobayashi's final career bout, with the Japanese fighter never returning to the ring.
February 18th hasn't been a huge day in Asian boxing but there has been a few notable events:
1990-Jung Il Byun's debut
Korean fighter Jung Il Byun only had a short professional career. It began on this day in 1990 and ended less than 5 years later. Despite how short it was he would fight 12 bouts as a professional, including 4 world title bouts. He would win the WBC Bantamweight title in his 9th bout, beating Victor Rabanales, and make a single defenses before suffering back to back losses to Yasuei Yakushiji.
His debut saw him beating Noel Cornelio with an 8 round decision and he was fast tracked from there winning a world title just over 3 years later before retiring with a record of 10-2 (4).
1962-Pero Adigue Jr's debut
Another notable debut on this day came way back in 1962 when Filipino fighter Pedro Adigue Jr began his professional career, fighting to a draw with Rod Doligon. Adigue's career began in 1962 and ended in 1977. Adigue won OPBF titles at 135lbs and 140lbs but would be best known for winning the WBC Light Welterweight title way back in 1968. During his career he would go 37-21-7 (15), beating the likes of Carl Penalosa, Rene Barrientos, Adolph Pruitt, Koichi Wajima and Lion Furuyama.
Although an accomplished fighter Adigue did suffer numerous notable losses, coming up short against the likes Yoshiaki Numata, Bruno Acari, Oscar Alvarado, Eddie Perkins, Nicolino Locche and Antonio Cervantes.
1959-Kenji Yonekura Vs Pascual Perez I
One of the most notable bouts to have taken place on this day came back in 1959 when former amateur stand out Kenji Yonekura took on Flyweight champion Pascual Perez in their first bout. The contest, a non-title bout at the Nihon University Auditorium, saw Yonekura come up short, but do enough to earn a rematch with Perez later in the year. Yonekura would again come up short but show that he could hang with world class fighters. The following year Yonekura would get another world title fight, facing off with Bantamweight king Jose Becerra, though lost a split decision.
As a fighter Kenji Yonekura went 13-10-1 (1) but he would go on to set up the Yonekura gym, which would become a major gym in Japan. It would develop talents like Hideyuki Ohashi, Kuniaki Shibata, Guts Ishimatsu, Shigeo Nakajima and Hiroshi Kawashima, showing just how important he was, and still us, to the Japanese boxing scene.
February 17th has been a notable day for Asian Boxing, with 2001 in particular holding a special place in boxing it hosted the amazing bout between Takanori Hatakeyama, the then WBA Lightweight champion, and Japanese based American born fighter Rick Yoshimura, born Frederick Roberts.
Hatakeyama had taken the title from Gilberto Serrano and was making his first defense against. Yoshimura on the other hand had made 22 defenses of the Japanese title before getting this shot at the WBA belt. The contest ended up being a 12 round slog, with Yoshimura trying to box, using his footwork to fight at range whilst Hatakeyama was relentlessly coming forward , making for a great fight.
The bout would be one of the hidden classics of the early 00's with Hatakeyama narrowly retaining his title, thanks to a draw.
Sadly neither man would ever quite be the same following this war, and neither would win a bout afterwards. Yoshimura would losing his following 2 bouts, before retiring and eventually setting up a gym. Hatakeyama on the other hand would lose the title just 5 months later, losing a decision to Julien Lorcy, before retiring and also setting up a gym of his own with Shinji Takehara.
Also on the date:
1980-Tae Shik Kim Vs Luis Ibarra
1976-Koichi Wajima Vs Jae Doo Yuh