In the early part of the 2010’s Japanese fighter Ryo Miyzaki (24-2-3, 15) looked like a man set to be a key figure of the Osakan boxing scene, along with stablemate and close personal friend Kazuto Ioka. It seemed like the two were going to help move the Ioka Gym on to the next level and become stars of the Japanese scene for a decade or so
Whilst Kazuto Ioka managed to stay the course and become one of the most important Japanese fighters of the 2010’s, and now the 2020’s, the same couldn’t be said of Miyazaki, who failed to reach the heights some had hoped to see from him. Despite that he still did a decent amount with his career, which ran from 2006 to 2016 and features a mix of lows and highs. Among his successes were Japanese, OPBF and world titles reigns, though issues away from the ring and issues with his weight certainly prevented his career from reaching the heights many had expected him to reach.
With his successes in mind however, we’ve decided to take a look back on Miyazaki’s career and go into some depth on the 5 most significant wins for... Ryo Miyazaki.
1-Munetsugu Kayo (October 12th 2009)
Miyazaki’s professional career began on Christmas eve 2006 at the age of 18, and over the following 2 and a bit years he had run up a solid looking record of 9-0-2 (5) against a mix of lower level domestic and Thai opponents. His potential was clear, but there were questions still being asked of him. In October 2009 he did well to answer those questions, as he took on Japanese Light Flyweight champion Munetsugu Kayo.
Kayo had previously held the OPBF title before winning the Japanese title in 2007 and had defended it 5 times heading into his clash with the unbeaten Miyazaki. He was expected to be the favourite coming into the bout, and things seemed to instantly go against Miyzaki, who was left damaged from a headclash in the first minute of the bout. Despite the rude awakening to title level boxing for the 21 year old Miyzaki, he regrouped well and ended up out working Kayo, using his youth and speed well to rack up the rounds. After 10 rounds he had done enough to take a clear decision and the title in a very mature performance for the then youngster.
2-Katsuhiko Iezumi (June 14th 2010)
After winning the Japanese title Miyazaki would make just a single defense of the belt, fighting to a technical draw with Suguru Takizawa in early 2010, before setting his eyes on the OPBF Light Flyweight title, held by Katsuhito Iezumi. On paper this was another clear step up for Miyazaki against someone with a wealth of experience and several defenses of the OPBF title under his belt.
Despite the step up in class Miyazaki again impressed, using his speed and movement well to offset Iezumi’s pressure and stifling Iezumi’s work. Offensively Miyazaki built slowly through the bout, using his jab well, until round 8 when he erupted, staggering Iezumi on to the ropes and unloaded, forcing a mandatory 8 count. When the bout resumed Miyazaki smelled blood and ended up finishing off Iezumi and claiming the OPBF title.
3-Pornsawan Porpramook (December 31st 2012)
After making 4 defenses of the OPBF Light Flyweight title Miyazaki looked to move his career forward, and did so by dropping down in weight, to compete at Minimumweight. After stablemate Kazuto Ioka vacated the WBA Minimumweight title Miyazaki got a shot at the belt, taking on Thai tough guy Pornsawan Porpramook, aka Somporn Seeta. This was a huge step up for Miyazaki, against a former world champion and a well known tough nut who had pushed the likes of Donnie Nietes and Oleydong Sithsamerchai all the way, beaten Muhammad Rachman and had been involved in a sensational bout with Akira Yaegashi.
The bout between Miyazaki and Porpramook started slowly enough, but as it got on and start to go through the rounds it was a brilliant stylistic match up between the speed and guts of Miyazaki and the pressure and work rate of Pornsawan. As a result we ended up having a brilliant, hotly contested war that saw both men forced to take a lot of punishment in a pulsating 12 rounder. It seemed, at least to us, that the Thai deserved the win, but the judges disagreed, giving Miyzaki a split decision win and the WBA Minimumweight title, in a career defining victory for the Osaka fighter.
4-Carlos Velarde (May 8th 2013)
Sadly Miyazaki’s reign as the WBA Minimumweight champion wasn’t the best, and he made only two defenses of the belt. The first of those saw him take on aggressively minded Mexican fighter Carlos Velarde, who went to Japan with every intention of going to war with Miyazaki and taking the title.
Through 4 rounds this was a really, really good fight. A very under-rated little war with both men having moments until Miyazaki laned a bomb in round 5, almost beheading Velarde in the process. The shot was a KO of the year contender and was a true highlight reel finish for a man who hadn’t been known as a puncher. Although Miyazaki could hit, his stoppages, usually, came from accumulation, but here he looked like a KO artist with a finish that deserves to be watched over and over. This was the perfect way for Miyazaki to end his first defense and to establish his reign.
5-Jesus Silvestre (September 11th 2013)
As previously mentioned Miyazaki’s reign as the WBA Miniumweight champion was a short lived one, with the Japanese fighter moving up in weight at the end of 2013. Before he did that however he faced off with talented Mexican Jesus Silvestre, the then interim champion, and the two men put on a hotly contested bout that really could have gone either way.
From the off it was clear the two men were very much on the same level. Neither man could ever get much of an upper hand in a bout that saw every round being competed for. Every round of the bout saw the two men each land solid leather, and each needed to adapt to the successes of their opponents. It wasn’t an all out war, but it was a compelling 12 rounds battle that shifted and changed every round. In the end Miyazaki did just enough to claim the majority decision, and his second defense of the title.
Sadly Miyazaki’s career would essentially fall apart after this win. Just months after this win he dipped his toes at 108lbs and was stopped by Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, in a massive up, send would only pick up a few very low key wins before losing to Ryoichi Taguchi in 2016, ending his career on that back of that loss. Oddly Silvestre’s career would also suffer after this, losing 3 of his following 7 bouts, before stringing together some very, very low key wins on the Mexican domestic scene.
One of the most amazing things about boxing is the sheer number of stories the sport has given us over the years. They range from the incredibly well documented, such as Muhammad Ali's and Mike Tyson's, to the almost unknown stories of fighters who never managed to become famous enough for fans around the world to know about them.
Over the years many, many stories of boxers, their careers and their lives have managed to be told through biopics, something that seems to be coming more and more popular in recent years. In recent years alone we have seen biopics released about a wide array of fighters from our great sport. These have included movies about legends like Muhammad Ali, Manny Pacquiao, Roberto Duran and Max Schmelling, fan favourites like Vinny Pazienza, Chuck Wepner, Mickey Ward and national heroes like Mary Kom, Muhammad Shah and Olli Mäki.
With those movies in mind the team of guys behind Asian boxing was tasked with answering the question of:
"Who... should have a biopic made about their life and career?"
The only rule for this was that the fighter had to be Asian and the idea of the biopic was to tell a story that hadn't been told before to a wider, global audience.
Lee: "There are a lot of fantastic stories of fighters from Asia, and a lot of really good ones from Korea. I would love to see the tale of Yo Sam Choi given the big screen treatment, as I think it would really tear at the heart strings of viewers. His WBC world title win, with his battle to keep Korean boxing relevant, his retirements, his untimely death and his organ donations would be a really touching story with implications that could massively help raise the profile of organ donations. It could even end with interviews from the people who received organs and their families, as a poignant ending and showing that Choi still lives on. It's also worth noting that LeeSSang did a song regarding Choi, and it would be an amazing song to feature in the movie.
Another that I would love would be a biopic on Hyun Mi Choi. I know Choi's story is starting to be told thanks to her signing with Matchroom, but a lot of the story will never really be told. The way she was scouted for the 2008 Olympics, her and her family fleeing from North Korea, the need to create a new life in South Korea, the rise through the amateur ranks, her world title win, the double crossing of her team and the way she was taken advantage of, before finally making it big and fighting in the US.
Whilst I would love Yo Sam Choi's tale to be told, and I think it would be an amazing advert for what organ donations can do, I think the emotional push and pull would be an incredibly painful one to watch. As for Hyun Mi Choi it would be a feel good story, and a chance to get an insight into North Korea and what the regime was like. Two really good potential stories."
Takahiro: "If we were going to have a biopic about a fighter there are lots of names that spring to mind, but I think the best, as a viewer, would be Jiro Watanabe. The story would have carious chapters. Starting with his childhood and his success in Nippon Kempo as a youngster. Then for the middle portion we move on to boxing, the disappointment of his first world title fight, the eventual rise to the top, the politics between the WBC and WBA that denied him a unification, his world title reign and his unfulfilled rivalry with Khaosai Galaxy. Then we get to the bulk of the action and the eventual conclusion, his down fall, the Yakuza issues, and the stories that have plagued him since he hung up the gloves.
If I'm allowed a second choice I would also love to see a movie on the international stage of Iwao Hakamada. As many will know Hakamada wasn't a famous boxer, but his name is well known internationally due to the "Hakamada Incident" where he was found guilty of the murders of his boss and their family. He would serve a lengthy time on death row before his legal team, with the help of those in Japanese boxing, managed to get his case retried. I think a biopic on Hakamada, at one of the film festivals, would raise the profile of Hakamada further and really force the world to take a look at the Japanese criminal justice system. A system that has failed Hakamada, and needs to be changed. I think given the success of "The Hurricane" this would do well, and would be the spiritual brother of that movie
I will take biopics on Jiro Watanabe or Iwao Hakamada please!"
Scott: "Whenever I see this question one name that always jumps immediately to mind is Hiroyuki Sakamoto. He has a tale that would just feel so good to watch, despite a dark start. He was abused as a child, along with his brother, and he would end up in an orphanage. Despite that he was bit by the boxing bug, and ended up being a star in the sport. He was a star despite not being a loud mouth, or really talking much at all. He let his boxing do the talking and was known as the "Japanese Duran" due to his power and aggression.
After a sad start to the movie we would get to see Sakamoto fight through the rankings, becoming a multi time world title challenger, with a lot of focus on his astonishing fight with Gilberto Serrano, one of the craziest comebacks in the sport. Then his big opportunity against Takanori Hatakeyama. More disappointment. I would end the part about his in ring career here, though can see some value in showing the final few bouts of it. Then fast forward a few years and we'd get the chance to see Sakamoto's post boxing career, the success of the SRS Boxing Gym which he set up, as well as Sakamoto receiving the "HEROs SPORTSMANSHIP for THE FUTURE" award for his charitable work with the Aozora Foundation that he set up. We'd go from grief, and extreme sadness at Sakamoto's child hood and career to jubilation to what he does now.
As well as Sakamoto I think another fighter who deserves the big screen treatment is Sirimongkol Singwancha. His career and life is crazy. His father basically pushed him into boxing, he raced to a world title, had an incredible 1997 bout with Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, had a scandal with nudes back in 2005, a drug issue in 2009 saw him given a 20 year sentence, he was given an early pardon, then would fight on, and on, and on! Fighting all the way in to 2020, when he was in his early 40's and very much a washed up fighter."
It's fair to say that the start of April was a little bit crazy, and thankfully for us fight fans, the action continues to come thick and fast through the middle portion of the month with prospects and title fights!
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Keita Obara (23-4-1, 21) Vs Shoki Sakai (25-11-2, 12)
The first of the title fights from this part of the month will see Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Shoki Sakai in a very interesting match up. The hard hitting Obara won the title in early 2020, when he stopped Yuki Nagano, but he's been out of the ring since and at 34 it's unclear what drive he has left for the sport. Sakai on the other hand has only just began to fight on the Japanese scene, having spent much of his career fighting out of Mexico. Given the pressure style of Sakai we expect him to be a nightmare for Obara, but he might be just a little too basic for the hard hitting champion.
Go Hosaka (4-0, 3) Vs Kanta Fukui (7-3-1, 5)
Talking about fighters who are new to Japan we can't ignore the wonderfully promising Go Hosaka. Hosaka is a Japanese born fighter who began his career over in the Philippines, fighting out of the now defunct ALA stable, and will now be making his Japanese debut. So far we've been impressed by Hosaka, who has looked very promising, but this should be the toughest bout of his career so far, and Fukui will be there to pick up the W. Fukui is no world beater but he's no push over either and we are expecting him to put in a very solid shift in one of, if not the, biggest fight of his career so far.
Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA
Jerwin Ancajas (32-1-2, 22) vs Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (22-1, 16)
The most important bout from this portion of the month for us, by far, will see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas defending his title, for the 9th time, as he takes on mandatory challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez. This bout, which was first scheduled for November 2019, yes 2019!, has been scheduled a few times but has slipped due to visa issues and Covid19. Despite the wait the bout is actually a fairly interesting one, especially given that fact that Ancajas, a fighter who relies on speed and sharpness, has been out of the ring for well over a year coming in to this. Rodriguez might not be the most technically polished fighter out there but he's tough, strong and brings the heat, something that could genuinely trouble Ancajas after such a long lay off.
Balai Sarbini Convention Hall, Jakarta
Tibo Monabesa (20-1-2, 8) vs Toto Landero (11-4-2, 2)
It's rare that we can get excited about a fight in Indonesia but we'll honestly say we're getting one such fight here. In one corner will be Indonesian hopeful Tibo Monabesa, who's sole loss came to Hiroto Kyoguchi, and in the other is former world title challenger Toto Lanadero, who gave Knockout CP Freshmart fits in 2018. Since being stopped by Kyoguchi Monabesa has fought just twice, though has picked up credible wins in both of those bouts, and he is clearly sniffing around for a world title fight in the talent laden Light Flyweight division. As for Landero he is 1-3 in his last 4, and 3-4 in his last 7, though has mixed at a very high level with losses to Knockout, Simpiwe Konkco and Melvin Jerusalem. Monabesa is the bigger man, and the man at home, but Landero will not be there to make up the numbers, and he could well be a banana skin here.
Hebi Marapu (15-0, 11) Vs Hero Tito (27-15-2, 11)
Althoiugh not a huge bout, by any stretch, we are excited to see Hebi Marapu back in the ring for his first fight since 2019. The unbeaten Indonesian puncher caught our eye around 3 years ago, when he almost gutted Phutthiphong Rakoon with a body shot, but sadly he failed to kick on since then, picking up 3 low key wins. He should pick up another here. Hero Tito is a stalwart of the Indonesian scene, having debuted in 2004, but he has been racking up losses in recent years and is likely to suffer another here. Tito is tough, and could drag Marapu late, but we would be hugely surprised if he gave Marapu a loss. Saying that, it's still a shame that Marapu's career failed to develop in the way it really should have.
EDION Arena Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8) Vs Thunder Teruya (7-8-1, 4)
Over in Osaka we'll see one of the hidden gems of Japanese boxing in action, as Toshiki Shimomachi kicks off his 2021 with a bout against Thunder Teruya. The talented Shimomachi is a slippery, skilled, and tricky Japanese fighters, who's style really does appeared to be inspired by the American defensive masters. Teruya is no push over, and he gave Rentaro Kimura solid test last year, but we're expecting a show case from Shimomachi. If you've not seen the once beaten 24 year old we suggest you give him a watch before this show, as he's been very impressive in recent times.
Jinki Maeda (6-0, 4) Vs Yushi Fujita (9-8-4, 2)
Hard hitting Japanese youngster Jinki Maeda continues his rise through the ranks as he takes on the experienced Yushi Fujita. On paper this should be no test for the sharp punching Maeda, who won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2019, though we have a feeling that Fujita will not go away quietly and he could serve as a genuine test for Maeda, despite the records of the two men. Maeda, like stablemate Shimomachi, is a bit of a hidden gem from Japan despite his Rookie of the Year triumph and we have a feeling that Green Tsuda want to let him develop without too much fuss. Fujita is the perfect opponent for him at this point in his career.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Ryusei Kawaura (8-0, 5) vs Joe Tanooka (15-7-5, 1)
One other under-the-radar Japanese prospect in action here is the wonderfully skilled Ryusei Kawaura, who is banging on the door of a title fight. The man dubbed "Untouchable II", after his mentor Hiroshi Kawashima, looks to be the real deal and has all the tools to be moved very, very quickly. We've been impressed by his skills, his boxing IQ and his understanding of range, though he has often been in against fighters who have allowed him to show those tools. Here he's up Joe Tanooka, a talented, but feather fisted, boxer who should be able to ask some questions that we've not yet seen Kawaura being asked. Tanooka won't have the power to hurt Kawaura, but he will have the tools to test him, and right now that's exactly what Kawaura needs. Someone to test his skills against, before a potential title fight.
On April 8th we'll see Japanese youngster Go Hosaka (4-0, 3) make his Japanese debut, and feature on a Diamond Glove show from Korakuen Hall. The bout will be Hosaka's first since September 2019 and will be a great chance for him to build on a very promising start to his professional career. With that in mind we thought this was the perfect time to have a look at Hosaka, his career, what he brings to the sport and why fans should be excited about the 24 year old Lightweight hopeful. With that said, let us introduce you to Go Hosaka in this week's Introducing...
Hosaka was born in Fukuoka prefecture, in the the south east of Japan. It was there that he learned to box, and he was a solid fighter when he was at high school, the Higashi Fukuoka High School. It was there that he made his first mark on the boxing world, and he managed to make his way to the semi finals of the 2013 Japanese Interschool Athletic Meet, losing a close decision to Naoto Yonezawa. Notably that tournament featured a who's who of Japanese fighters from today, including the likes of Kosei Tanaka, Mikito Nakano, Hinata Maruta, Shokichi Iwata and Takuma Inoue.
Just a few months after that Interschool tournament Hosaka came runner up at the Japanese National Athletic Meet, losing in the final to Gonte Lee. With solid results in two national tournaments Hosaka was on the radar of those who followed Japanese amateur boxing as we went into 2014, a year that defined his amateur career.
Hosaka began 2014 by reaching the semi-finals of the Asian Youth Championships in Bangkok, beating local fighter Somchai Wongsuwan in the quarter final before losing to eventual winner Abylaykhan Zhusupov in the semi-final. Hosaka would also go on to reach the final 4 of the AIBA Youth World Championships in Bulgaria a few months later, where he scored 3 wins before running into Arsen Mustafa in the semi-final. Back on the domestic scene Hosaka won come runner up in the High School Selection Tournament in Spring of 2014 before winning the Japanese Interschool Athletic Meet later that same year. To end 2014 Hosaka managed to continue his success internationally, and came 4th at the Youth Olympics.
Sadly things were less busy for Hosaka in the years that followed, though he continued to compete in numerous tournaments, before ending his days in the unpaid ranks with a reported 50-13 amateur record.
Unlike many Japanese fighters Hosaka didn't want to begin his professional career in Japan. Whilst it's not unheard of for Japanese fighters to begin there careers away from Japan, with a number of notable fighters such as Tomoki Kameda and Shoki Sakai starting there careers away from home, it was rare that such a stand out amateur began to fight away from home. Instead of signing with a Japanese promoter he dropped out of Komazawa University and travelled to the Philippines to begin his professional career, and joined with the well established ALA Gym in Cebu. It was under the ALA Gym that Hosaka trained as a professional, living in a dormitory with some of their top fighters, and learned how to boxing as a professional, alongside the likes of Milan Melindo, who he claimed taught him a lot.
In June 2018 the then 21 year old Hosaka finally made his professional debut, doing so in a 6 round Lightweight bout against Holly Quinones in Maasin City. The match up was the first chance to see what Hosaka could do in the professional ring, but was a blink and you miss it affair, with Hosaka stopping his man within a round. Just 5 months later Hosaka was back in the ring, and was matched with decent fighter Jason Tinampay in another 6 rounder. This was a much better match up, and we saw what Hosaka could really do, as he controlled Tinampay for all 6 rounds, forcing Tinampay on to the ropes and picking his spots well. It was an impressive performance for a fighting in just his second bout, and it was clear he had the ability to go a long way.
Sadly in 2019 ALA put on very, very few shows. The shows they did have were poor, and their match making really went backwards. Despite that Hosaka fought twice, stopping Romnick Magos in July and then stopping Kim Lindog in September, both of which were serious steps backwards from the win over Tinampay.
Things went from bad to worse for ALA Gym, who went from running very few shows in 2019 to closing complete in 2020. That left Hosaka as a free agent, and in 2020 he finally signed with a Japanese promoter, joining the legendary Misako Gym in Kansai.
Despite signing with the Misako gym in 2020 Hosaka remained out of the ring, training in Japan and developing his skills back at home. Thankfully however the wait to see him boxing in Japan is almost over, and on April 8th he'll face Kanta Fukui (7-3-1, 5) in a good, solid looking, 8 round test. A win there will begin the next chapter in Hosaka's career, the journey to his first title.
In the ring Hosaka looks like a relaxed boxer-puncher. He's a southpaw with a lovely crispness to his punching, a patient pressure based style, and although there is still work to do, he looks very much a natural in the ring. Albeit a natural who still has some polishing to do.
It's clear, from watching Hosaka, that he has a strong amateur background, but that he is a young man developing a professional style. As a trainee at the Misako gym we suspect his development as a professional fighter will be quick. The gym is one of the best in Japan and he will get high level sparring, high level training and the chance to train alongside some of the best in Japan. Those things will all help him become a better boxer and we suspect those things will all help him move quickly towards titles at either Lightweight or Super Featherweight.
For those who haven't seen Hosaka we've included his 2018 bout with Jason Tinampay below. This was just his second bout, and he has improved since, but it is a good chance to see what he has to offer the sport, and what tools he has in his arsenal.
Dubbed the “Thai Mike Tyson” Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (57-3-1, 46) was one of the stars of Thai boxing in the 1990’s and 00’s. Western fans might not remember him quite as well as they remember names like Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, but was very much a star in Thailand. He had a long and successful career which saw him accomplish far more than many Thai’s, and do so in a weight class we don’t usually see Thai’s having success in, the Super Featherweight division.
For those unfamiliar with Yodsanan, who was also known as Yodsanan 3-K Battery and Theera Phongwan, he fought from 1993 to 2009 and hailed from Si Sa Ket, the same place as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. He managed to make his name in 2002, winning the “regular” WBA Super Featherweight title, and recorded 3 defenses before losing the belt in 2005.
For those unfamiliar with him we’ve decided to take Yodsanan and look at some of his biggest achievements, as we bring you the 5 most significant wins for... Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai.
1-Lakva Sim (April 13th 2002)
Sadly much of the early part of Yodsanan’s career was fought very much under-the-radar with a focus on winning, and defending, the PABA title. His first 40 fights came and went and there wasn’t a single notable name on his record through that stretch, which saw him going 37-2-1 (31). He had been active, he had been racking up wins, but he had done little of note. That changed in 2002 when he faced off with Mongolian tough guy Lakva Sim for the vacant WBA Super Featherweight title. At the time Sim was 30 years old and had lost a step from the fighter he had once been, though he was still a tough, heavy handed and world class fighter capable of giving anyone a tough test.
Despite being a huge step up for the Thai he managed to hang tough with Sim and did enough to earn the decision, in a thrilling war held outdoors in Nakhon Ratchasima. Yodsanan, then aged 27, seemed to have a bit more zip than Sim, and the conditions certainly seemed to favour the local. The bout was a hotly contested one and a very competitive one, though somehow two of the judges saw it as a clear and wide win for Yodsanan. Despite some poor scorecards this win put Yodsanan on the map, big time.
2-Lamont Pearson (December 5th 2002)
In his first defense Yodsanan took on American challenger Lamont Pearson, with the bout coming almost 8 months after Yodsanan’s title win. Despite the lengthy wait for Yodsanan to return to the ring the bout was held as part of the birthday celebrations for Bhumibol Adulyadej, the then king of Thailand, and was held at the Royal Square in Bangkok. This, alone, was significant, but to then consider that there was 60,000 fans in attendance and it was Yodsanan’s first defense, the pressure was all on Yodsanan to impress.
Thankfully for the Thai he did impress, stopping his American challenger in 9 rounds to give the King, and the Thai people, another reason to celebrate. The fight itself was decent, but it was everything going on around it that really made this something special. The venue looked less like a boxing event and more like a music festival.
For a first defense to be held like this was huge and further evidence that Yodsanan was a star at home, even if fans in the West weren’t particularly aware of him.
3-Ryuhei Sugita (February 8th 2004)
Sadly for Yodsanan his title reign was very, very stop-start. He won the title in April 2002, as mentioned, and defended the belt for the first time 8 months later. In the interim he had no fights. Following his win over Pearson he would have 3 stay busy fights, covering the entire of 2003, but wouldn’t actually defend his title until 2004. When he did he ended up making his international debut, travelling over to Japan to face Ryuhei Sugita.
At this point in time Sugita was a well respected fighter in Japan, boasting a 25-1-2 (21) record and was seen as a live challenger, with a solid bang and a good chin. In the end however he was stopped in 7 rounds as Yodsanan’s power got too much for him. Despite a gutsy effort the referee was forced to step in and save Sugita, who was out on his feet.
Although Sugita isn’t a big name internationally, this was still an impressive international debut, and proof, after 3 easy wins, that Yodsanan was still world class as he retained his title.
4-Steve Forbes (August 7th 2004)
Thankfully for Yodsanan there wasn’t a lengthy gap between his second and third defense, in fact it was just 6 months until he returned to the ring again. This time he was not only defending his title, for the third time, but also making his US debut as he travelled to Mashantucket, Connecticut, and took on Steve Forbes. This was his Yodsanan’s 47th bout and his big chance to make a statement to an international audience, who were tuning in on Showtime to see Deigo Corrales clash with Acelino Freitas.
The bout was somewhat dramaless with Yodsanan taking a clear decision win over Forbes in a bout that saw all 3 judges score the contest 117-111. As boxrec puts it “No knockdowns, No Cuts, Nobody hurt”. Despite the lack of drama, a rarity for a Yodsanan fight, the Thai still took home a win in the US and would later return Stateside for his more well remembered title loss, against Vicente Mosquera in 2005, in what was a much more dramatic bout.
Whilst the main event of the show may be more fondly remembered, with Freitas’ “no mas” in round 10, it was still a massive and significant milestone for Yodsanan who did something very, very few Thai’s have done. Defended a world title in the US.
5-Jimrex Jaca (June 27th 2008)
Sadly for Yodsanan the win over Forbes would be his last victory at world level and as mentioned he would lose the title to Vicente Mosquera in 2005, in what was a thrilling bout. Given the risk-reward for fighting him, Yodsanan never got another big fight and instead his career slowly wound down over the years that followed. It’s hard to spot many names of note. There was however one exception and that came in 2008 when he faced the then 28-4-3 (13) Jiimrex Jaca.
Jaca, a Filipino, was never an amazing fighter but was someone with some international recognition following a 2006 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez. Jaca had been stopped in 9 rounds by Marquez, in a WBO ”interim” Featherweight title bout and had struggled to get any momentum into his career following that loss. His downfall continued in 2008 when he was stopped by Yodsanan in 6 rounds, becoming the last noteworthy name on Yodsanan’s record.
Another week is here and the team at Asian Boxing have again been tasked with answering a "Who...?" question. This week we are looking at fighters who failed to reach their potential, as the guys answer the question:
"Who... failed to live up to your expectations in the last 20 years?"
Lee: "There are so many fighters that fit into this category from all over the world. I wish I could have picked a Korean here, but the reality is the first man that springs to mind is actually a Filipino, and one who is still technically active. But is very much a "bust" for me. That is Marvin Sonsona.
When Sonsona turned professional there was real buzz in the Philippines, and the way he was moved quickly and aggressively in the first few years of his career was really exciting. Less than 2 year after his debut he had stopped veteran Wandee Singwancha and just a fight later he won the WBO Super Flyweight title beating Jose Lopez in Canada. He was 19 at the time and looked almost nailed on to be the next big Filipino boxing star. Then things went wrong, he missed weight for his first defense, got beat by Wilfredo Vaquez Jr the following year, and his career went off the rails.
After 2010 we only saw him sporadically. He should real class in his win over Akifumi Shimoda in Macao and looked amazing for 5 rounds in a rematch with Vazquez Jr, but then stunk out the joint for 5 rounds. Since then there has been nothing positive from Sonsona who has gotten old, fat, and looks unlikely to ever come close to being the fighter he had the potential to be.
I'll be harsh. He's the biggest wasted talent of the last 20 years in my opinion."
Takahiro: "In 2013 Hikaru Marugame turned professional and I was very, very excited to see him fight in the pros, because was a stand out amateur.
In 2017 however Muragame fought for the last time. His professional record was 6-3-1 (4). He had so much potential, but never came anywhere close to that potential.
What few Western people will know is just how good of an amateur Muragame was. In the unpaid ranks he went 60-14, he won the National Athletic Meet and the All Japan Championship in the amateurs and also competed at the 2009 World Amateur Championships.
Those amateur achievements seemed like they were going to put Muragame on the fast track to the top of the sport. Sadly however he did almost nothing with his career. He won his first 5 bouts, the went 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts before retiring.
He did fight some notable fighters, including Reiya Abe and Kinshiro Usui, but never managed to even fight for a title.
I had so many hopes for Muragame, but he fell so very, very, very short."
Scott: "A few years before this site was set up there was a number of exciting Japanese prospects that managed to get me interested in the Japanese boxing scene. One of those was a youngster by the name of Yohei Tobe, who was 23 at the time of his debut. On his debut he beat the Korean national champion, Jin Ki Jung, then he beat the experienced Wandee Singwancha in his second bout and then former world title challenger Kohei Kono in his third bout. Within just 10 months of his debut he was 3-0 (2) with two notable wins.
By this point I was doing research on him and I was really excited about the youngster, and learned he had been a decent amateur with more than 40 wins and had been a 2-time winner at the National Polity.
After learning that I got so excited about Tobe. I thought he was going to be a star. I thought he was going to be the future of Japanese boxing and a future world champion. Then he went 1-1-1 in his next 3 fights, losing to Ryo Akaho in an OPBF title bout and fighting to a draw with Richard Pumicpic. He managed to rebuild from those set backs, winning the Japanese Super Flyweight title and the WBA International title, but never came close to a world title fight.
Whilst there were certainly bigger prospects, and brighter hopefuls than Tobe I don't think there was anyone I had bigger hopes of than Tobe, who really did fall short of my expectations. He wasn't awful, not by any stretch, but he certainly failed to achieve what he seemed capable of."
Another month is here and we get to, once again, enjoy some strange names from the world of Asian Boxing, and the long history of boxing in Asia! As is usually the case some are moniker's and not birth names, but that hardly matters for this series which is just a fun break from the usual sensibility and seriousness of the sport.
Yess Kill (1-0-1)
One of the most violent names we've come across is former Indonesian Flyweight Yess Kill, who's record shows two bouts in 1988, both of which were scheduled 8 rounders. Kill is thought to have made his debut in May 1988, with an 8 round win, and returned to the ring in 1988 where he fought to an 8 round draw. It's certainly not often we can write "Yess Kill", and not been seen to be advocating murder, so Kill certainly deserves his moment in this series!
Staying with little known Indonesian fighters we need to go back to the 1930's for the brilliantly named "Rookmaker". It's hard to known just how incomplete Rookmaker's record is, but Boxrec have him listed as making his debut in November 1938, losing to Clever Sison, and then fighting again just 3 months later, against Battling Net, a name that belongs on some sort of war website. Sadly after fighting to a draw with Net it appears Rookmaker vanished from the world of boxing.
Risky Albert (1-0, 1)
A final Indonesian for this week is Risky Albert, a Flyweight from 2012 who fought for the one and only time in December 2012, stopping Bintang Sembrani in 4 rounds. Sadly, despite being Risky, Albert appears to have left the sport after just one fight. We suspect he must have found something more exciting for his life, maybe sky-diving!
Nuclear Sor Tanapinyo (1-2, 1)
We've had Kill and we've had a risky, and now we bring you the nuclear option, Nuclear Sor Tanapinyo. The Thai seems to have an incomplete record, though did fight in relatively recent years, with recorded bouts in 2010, 2011 and 2015. Unlike many fighters in this series Nuclear did actually fight some fighters of note, sharing the ring with both Yuma Iwahashi and Ryuji Hara. Sadly though he was stopped by both of those men.
Public Akihiko (0-1)
The Japanese Cruiserweight scene has never been a particularly busy one, and it's certainly not been stacked with talent, but in 1992 we did the public show interest in the division. Or more precisely Public Akihiko, who fought his one and only bout on October 29th 1992 when he battled Yosuke Nishijima. Amazingly Akihiko was the only Japanese opponent that Nishijima fought during his very unique and often thrilling career. Sadly for Akihiko his career lasted just 3 total rounds.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces