On this day...
1981-Takuya Muguruma's debut
Although not too well remembered the exciting and aggressive Takuya Muguruma had a fun to watch career in the 1980's. He was briefly the WBA Bantamweight champion, stopping Azael Moran for the belt, but lost it in his first defense. Despite his short reign as a world he did remain a contender and would later fight to a draw with Wilfredo Vazquez, in an attempt to reclaim his title, and then move up in weight and lose to Juan Jose Estrada. Although not a sensational talent Muguruma was fantastic to watch and his bouts with Chan Young Park and Wilfredo Vazquez are well worth a watch.
2011-Nobuhiro Ishida vs James Kirkland
We got one of the biggest upsets in history as unheralded Japanese fighter Nobuhiro Ishida travelled to Las Vegas and shocked unbeaten American slugger James Kirkland. Ishida, then aged 35 with just 7 stoppages in 30 pro bouts, was expected to be a brave but battered victory for Kirkland, but instead Ishida recorded his first ever first round win, and the upset of 2011. On the back of this win Ishida got world title fights against Paul Williams, Dmitry Pirog and Gennady Golovkin.
2016-Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley Jr III
The end of the Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley saga came to an end in their third and final bout. The first bout had seen Bradley take a very controversial decision, which was regarded as one of the worst in recent memory, then Pacquiao gained revenge in their rematch. Sadly be the time the third bout came along neither man looked to be what they once had. Bradley would retire after this bout whilst Pacquiao has continued to add to his legacy, most notably with a 2019 win over Keith Thurman.
On this day...
2005-Koji Sato debuts
Noteworthy Japanese Middleweights don't come around a lot so in 2005 things were a little bit exciting when the huge punching Koji Sato made his professional debut, and stopped Francisco Valdez in Las Vegas. Sato would fail to reach the heady heights hoped of him, though he did fight for a world title, losing to Felix Sturm, and was involved in a sensation 2011 bout with Makoto Fuchigami
2011-Toshiaki Nishioka vs Mauricio Javier Munoz
The then WBC Super Bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka retained his title with his 6th defense as he stopped Argentinian challenger Mauricio Javier Munoz in the 9th round. The talented "Speed King" would only defend the title once more after this bout, beating Rafael Marquez around 6 months later before vacating the belt. He would then return for one more bout, a year later, against Nonito Donaire. By that point Nishioka looked a shell of the fighter he had once been.
2013-Akira Yaegashi vs Toshiyuki Igarashi
The hugely popular Akira Yaegashi became a 2-weight world champion when he defeated former Japanese amateur standout Toshiyuki Igarashi to claim the WBC Flyweight title. This wasn't a great bout, by any stretch, but was a major one for Yaegashi and his career. Sadly for Igarashi it seemed to be the start of the end for him and he was plagued with injuries in the years that followed.
2018-Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Vs Manot Comput
Thai legend Pongsaklek Wonjongkam essentially finished his career when he beat Manot Comput, in what was a bout set up literally to get around some red tape in Japan. The Thai former world champion returned at the age of 40, after almost 5 years away from the ring, and up at Super Bantamweight, to make sure he had fought with in the last 3 years to try and secure a professional license to face Koki Kameda later in the year. The JBC saw what was being done and refused to license Wongjonkam, but did allow him to face Kameda in an exhibition bout.
On this day...
1985-Min Keun Oh vs Irving Mitchell
Korean fighter Min Keun Oh may well have one of the oddest reigns in Featherweight title history. He won the IBF Featherweight title in March 1084, against a debutant, defended it against the very limited Kelvin Lampkin 3 months later. It was another 10 months before he returned for his second defense, taking on Irving Michell on April 7th 1985. Mitchell was the only decent fighter fight Oh successfully defended the title against, taking a razor thin decision over the American. By decent we do mean decent, Mitchell had a 25-1 going into the bout. Sadly after the bout Mitchell would go 10-9-2, retiring 35-11-2. Thankfully Oh's reign as champion would end 7 months later when Ki Young Chung stopped him.
1991-Khaosai Galaxy vs Je Suk Park
Thai legend Khaosai Galaxy retired at the end of 1991. Prior to that he had etched his name in the history books as one of the most dominating and hard hitting Super Flyweights in history with a long reign as the WBA champion. One of his final defenses saw him take on Korean challenger Je Suk Park. Galaxy would stop the Korean in the 5th round to retain his title and make his 17th defense
2004-Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Vs Luis Angel Martinez
The legendary Pongsaklek Wonjongkam made his 10th defense of the WBC Flyweight title when he took on Luis Angel Martinez. The Mexican challenger was one of the worst challengers to face Wonjongkam and was stopped in 5 rounds, beginning a run of 5 straight stoppages losses for Martinez, who last fought in 2012 and retired with a 14-11-2 (5) record. As for Wonjongkam he would defend the title for the following 3 years, before losing his third bout with Daisuke Naito in July 2007.
On this day...
1969-Hiroshi Kobayashi vs Antonio Amaya I
Talented Japanese fighter Hiroshi Kobayashi might not be one of the most well known names in the sport but he was one of the first Japanese world champions. Around Easter in 1969 he successfully defended the WBA Super Featherweight title against Panama's well travelled Antonio Amaya, in the first of two bouts between the two men. Kobayashi would narrowly beat Amaya, in a very close bout, that deserved the rematch it got. Interestingly this was the first world title defense for Kobayashi following the WBC stripping him for not facing Rene Barrientos in early 1969.
2004-Takefumi Sakata vs Lorenzo Parra I
Exactly 35 years after Kobayashi defeated Amaya we saw Takefumi Sakata challenge unbeaten Venezuelan Lorenzo Parra, in the first of 3 bouts between the two men, for the WBA Flyweight title. The bout was a hotly contested one with Parra narrowly winning, to retain the WBA title. The two would face off again in 2005, with Parra taking another razor close decision win, before Sakata stopped Parra in 2007 to claim the WBA title, and get some revenge over his Venezuelan nemesis.
2007-Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Vs Tomonobu Shimizu
Staying with Flyweight bouts just 3 years after Sakata failed to beat Parra for the WBA belt his countryman Tomonobu Shimizu failed in his effort to take the WBC title from Thai great Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Shimizu, in what was his first world title bout, was stopped after the 7th round, whilst a long way down on the cards and suffering from a broken nose. Shimizu was game, but was easily beaten by the Thai, in what would be his final defense before losing the belt to Daisuke Naito just 3 months later. Interestingly Shimizu would later move up in weight and win the WBA Super Flyweight title.
On this day...
1943-Fighting Harada's birthday
Boxing Royalty was born on this day in 1943 as Japan's legendary and revered Masahiko Harada, aka Fighting Harada, was born in Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo. Harada would go on to have a truly legendary career, becoming a 2-weight world champion and coming close to being the first man to win titles at Flyweight, Bantamweight and Featherweight. Harada's influence on the sport in Japan is still fight today, more than 50 years after his final bout, and his all action style helped with the Golden Age of Japanese in the 1960's, alongside the like of Hiroyuki Ebihara. Harada would later be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and is rightfully regarded as one of the greatest Asian fighters of all time.
1981-Saensak Muangsurin v Chung Jae Hwang
Record setting Thai Saensak Muangsurin had been rushed to a world title in 1975, winning the WBC Light Welterweight title in his 3rd professional bout. Sadly a long Muay Thai career, and a hard but short professional boxing career, had seen him pretty much a shell of his self in the 1970's. His final bout took place on this day in 1981, when he lost to OPBF Welterweight champion Chung Jae Hwang, retiring with a 14-6 (11) professional record. Hwang would remain a force on the regional seen until April 1982. Sadly Hwang was essentially ruined himself by the end of 1982 by some horrifically irresponsible management that had him fighting 7 times in 1981.
1987-Seung Hoon Lee v Jorge Urbina Diaz
After winning the IBF Super Bantamweight title in January 1987 Korean Seung Hoon Lee returned to the ring for his first defense less than 3 months later, where he stopped Mexican-American challenger Jorge Urbina Diaz in 10 rounds to retain the title. In total Lee would record 3 defenses before South Korea ended their relationship with the IBF. Sadly for Lee, a criminally over-looked Korean from one of the countries' golden periods of boxing, he was never able to reclaim a world title after losing the IBF title outside of the ring. He did however fight to a draw with WBC champion Daniel Zaragoza in 1988 before retiring with a 45-6-1 (25) record.
2005-Muhammad Rachman Vs Fahlan Sakkreerin
Indonesian fighter Muhammad Rachman successfully defended the IBF Minimumweight title in a bout against former champion Fahlan Sakkreerin. The bout was sadly an anti-climatic one, ending in round 3 when an accidental head clash forced the bout to an early conclusion. This would would end Sakkreerin's career, leaving him with a 54-4-3 (23) record. As for Rachman this was his first defense of the title he had won the previous September, and he would make 2 more before losing to Florante Condes in 2007.
On this day...
1952-Yoshio Shirai v Kyoichi Muto
The 1952 clash between Yoshio Shirai and Kyoichi Muto isn't a bout we suspect many will be aware of. In all honesty it's place in history isn't significant, though it is a peculiar fight. It was Shirai's final before before landing a world title bout with Dado Marino, just a few weeks later. Shirai would go on to beat Marino to become the Flyweight title, and so this bout serves a minor footnote as the final tune up bout before Shirai became the first Japanese world champion on May 19th 1952.
1974-Vassiliy Jirov's birthday
Kazakh southpaw Vassiliy Jirov is one of the true legends of boxing for his homeland and someone who laid down the track for the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Beibut Shumenov and Zhanat Zhakiyanov. Jirov's career might not have hit the heights of Golovkin's but as an Olmypic gold medal winner and a multi-year reign as the IBF Crusierweight champion it's hard to over-state just how significant Jirov's career was. Also lets not forget had damn brutal his bout with James Toney in 2003 was. That's a must watch for all fight fans!
2012-Tepparith Kokietgym vs Tomonobu Shimizu
In 2012 we had a really odd match up caused by the ever confusing WBA which could have left us with "co-champions" had their been no winner. The bout saw WBA Super Flyweights champions Tepparith Kokietgym, the "regular" champion, take on Tomomobu Shimizu, the "champion in recess". Whilst we fully understand the logic behind a "Champion in Recess" Shimizu had been out of action for just 4 months by the time that Tepparith won the title, beating Daiki Kameda. Thankfully the WBA's blushes were saved, at least partially, but Tepparith stopping Shimizu and sending him into retirement. Sadly however lessons weren't learnt and the WBA have continually had multiple champions and watered down their own belts to the point where they have become little more than a joke.
On this day...
1971-Jae Doo Yuh Vs Ansano Lee
It was on this day way back in 1971 that Korean great Jae Doo Yuh won his first professional title, stopping Ansano Lee in the opening round to become the Korean Middleweight champion. Yuh would later go on to have a record setting OPBF Middleweight title run and a short but notable run as the WBA Light Middleweight champion. As for Lee he would only fight once more, losing to Sang Cho Park in a bout for the title that Yuh had vacated.
1985-Akihiro Kondo's birthday
Former world title contender Akihiro Kondo will be blowing out his candles as he celebrates his latest birthday. The tough guy from Tokyo is best known for his 2017 battle with Sergey Lipinets, in which he gave Lipinets a real test. Sadly though that appears likely to be the only chance he gets at world level, and he was last seen struggling past Japanese domestic level foe Tatsuya Yanagi. Despite coming up short at world level he did manage to win Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific titles during his lengthy career.
2007-Samson Tor Buamas Vs Ayaka Miyao
We don't get to mention many female bouts in this feature, but today we get a rare one! And it's a good 'un! The Klong Prem Prison played host to a WBC female Light Flyweight title fight as Samson Tor Buamas took on Japan's Ayaka Miyao, for the then vacant title. This was Samson's second world title bout in a prison, and this time she won to become a world champion, and the first Thai prison inmate to win a world title. She would later be released. On paper this was a bit of an historical win, and it's one that grew in significance with Miyao going on to have a great career of her own, winning world the WBA Atomweight title later in her career.
2014-Shuhei Tsuchiya Vs Leonardo Zappavigna
Although not a world title we are now 6 years removed from the bloody, thrilling and brutal war between Shuhei Tscuhiya and Leonardo Zappavigna in Australia. This was a genuine bloody bath and a real brutal war that saw Zappavigna battle through significant facial damage to stop the Japanese puncher. A genuine modern day classic, that goes massively over-looked and is well worthy of a watch, or re-watch. Brutal really doesn't do justice to this instant classic.
On this day...
1958-Chung Il Choi's birthday
Heavy handed Korea Chung Il Choi only had a short, 16 fight, career spanning less than 4 years. Although not a notable fighter, by any stretch, he was a 2-time world title challenger who was certainly fun to watch and explosive. He ended his career with a 14-2 (13) record and managed to ask real questions of Rolando Navarette in 1982, before later facing Rafael Limon. Sadly his short career and lack of success at the top has made him little more than a footnote in boxing history, but he was certainly a fun footnote.
1977-Saensak Muangsurin vs Guts Ishimatsu
After regaining the WBC Light Welterweight title in October 1976 Saensak Mungsurin would make his second defense as he took on former Lightweight champion Guts Ishimatsu of Japan. Although Ishimatsu was very much a faded fighter, and would retire the following year, he was still a decent name and was less than a year removed from losing the WBC Lightweight title. Sadly for the challenger he wasn't good enough for the stone fisted Thai who stopped him in 6 rounds.
1985-Payao Poontarat vs Kongtoranee Payakaroon
Although not a world title bout the 1985 clash between Payao Poontarat and Kongtoranee Payakaroon is a bout that is genuinely noteworthy. It was the second professional bout for Kongtoranee, the brother of Samart Payakaroon, and it saw him defeat former WBC Super Flyweight champion Payao Poontarat, in what was Poontarat's final pro bout. Whilst Kongtoranee did fail in his two world title fights, he was certainly a world class fighter and beating someone like Poontarat this early was incredibly impressive. A very under-rated win, and an often over-looked bout.
On this day...
1971-Masao Oba vs Betulio Gonzalez
Japanese great Masao Oba made his first defense of the WBA Flyweight title when he narrowly out-pointed fantastic Venezuelan fighter Betulio Gonzalez. Oba, one of the greatest "what if's" in boxing would make 4 more defenses before his untimely death in 1973. At the time of his death he was only 23 years old. As for Gonzalez he would go on to become a 3-time Flyweight world champion, and is sadly all too forgotten by modern day fight fans.
1972-Muhammad Ali Vs Mac Foster
Rather an odd one here, as it features two American Heavyweights, but it was on this day that the Nippon Budokan played host to "The Greatest" taking on the huge punching Mac Foster. After 15 rounds Muahmmad Ali had easily beaten Foster in what would be Ali's sole fight in Japan. Rather interestingly Foster would later go 2-4 (2) after this bout, whilst Ali would go on to become a genuine legend scoring wins over the likes of Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier and George Foreman in the years that followed this bout.
1979-Chung Jae Hwang's debut
Although not a big name, by any stretch, Korean Welterweight Chung Jae Hwang is someone who provided a lot of explosive action in the 1980's. The Korean slugger racked up 28-3 (25) record between 1979, when he debuted, to 1989, when he fought for the final time. Although he never fought for a world title Hwang had 15 bouts for the OPBF Welterweight title, making 13 defenses of the belt between February 1980 and March 1982. Those 13 defenses still stands a record for the OPBF Welterweight title, nearly 40 years on!
1984-Yota Sato's birthday
Former WBC Super Flyweight champion Yota Sato was born on this day in 1984. Sato's reign as the WBC world champion was a relatively short one, as he won the title in March 2012 and lost the belt in May 2013 but is was a pretty notable one. His title win came against Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, and saw him dropping Suriyan twice, and ended when Nakornluang forced their option on him, with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai stopping him in 8 rounds. At the time the win for Srisaket didn't get much attention, but a few years later Srisaket would announce himself on the big time with a win over Roman Gonzalez to reclaim the title.
1993-Janibek Alimkhanuly's birthday
Another man blowing out his candles today is Kazakh hopeful, and former amateur stand out, Janibek Alimkhanuly was born on this day in 1993. Although yet to make a big mark on the professional scene we do expect big things from the 2013 World Amateur Champion. Fingers crossed we see him getting a big fight sooner rather than later.