Korean fighter Ju Do Chun (20-4-3, 11) is not someone that many fans will be familiar with, though he is certainly more than just a foot note in the history of professional boxing. In fact he was one of the first ever Super Flyweight world champions, and was the inaugural IBF champion at the weight, winning the title in 1983. His reign wasn't the best, but with 5 defenses he set the mark to beat. It was, in fact, a record that stood for decades, with no one managing more defenses until Jerwin Ancajas more than 30 years later.
Sadly Chun failed to face the best of his era. Potential bouts between the Korean and the likes of Jiro Watanabe and Khaosai Galaxy, Rafael Orono and Payao Poontarat wouldn't had ended well for him. Despite that he left his mark on the division, and really did play a major role in the division in South Korea.
Sadly Chun's career was a relatively short one, running from 1981 to 1989. Despite that he scored a number of notable wins, and we'll have a look at those now, as we bring you the 5 most significant wins for... Ju Do Chun.
Young Kil Choi II (May 14th 1983)
We start this very early in Chun's career. In his second professional bout, on May 10th 1981, Chun suffered his first loss, losing a decision to Young Kil Choi. That sparked a rivalry between the two men who would clash twice more, in 1983. In their second bout Chun got to avenge his loss to Choi, taking an 8 round points win over his countryman to even the score. This was certainly not a massive win for Choi, especially given what would later come, but was a significant victory over the only man who would beat him during the early part of his career. In fact the loss to Choi was Chun's only defeat until 1985, after he had won the IBF Super Flyweight title.
Chun would also go on to win the rubber bout between the men, stopping Choi in the 9th round, later in 1983.
Hee-Yun Jung (June 26th 1983)
Just months after Chun avenged his first loss he claimed his first silverware, the Korean Super Flyweight title. He did that by stopping reigning champion Hee Yun Jung, who was looking to record his second defense of the title.
Jung had won the belt in 1982, when he defeated Ok Kyun Yuh, and made his first defense in early 1983. He then scored a non-title win, beating future Chun opponent Diego De Villa, before facing Chun himself. Chun wasn't in the mood to let his countryman shine, and instead Chun ended up taking Jung out in 4 rounds to claim the Korean title and take a huge step towards his first world title title bout.
Like many wins in this series this was a victory that aged well. In the years that followed Jung claimed a Korean title at Super Bantamweight and then won the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, which he defended 4 times. Jung would also never suffer another stoppage. This win genuinely does need to be regarded a lot higher than many of Chun's other wins.
Ken Kasugai (December 10th 1983)
After winning the Korean title Chun defended the belt twice before getting on the road for his first bout on foreign soil. That just so happened to be in Japan, against Ken Kasugai, for the newly created IBF Super Flyweight title. Coming in to thus Chun was just 19 years old, he was 13-1-3 (4) as a fighter but had done little to really earn a world title fight. On the other hand Kasugai was 27 years old but had been out of the ring for a while and certainly wasn't one of the leading Super Flyweights. It was more a chance for the IBF to get a foothold in Asia, which they were attempting at the time.
Despite being just a teenage Chun was too good for Kasugai, and the Korea stopped the Japanese local in 5 rounds to claim the world title, and make his mark on the sport. This was, in many ways, the defining victory of Chun's career and the one that put him in line for some much bigger bouts. Sadly the win really didn't age well, with Kasugai never fighting again after this bout.
Prayurasak Muangsurin (January 28th 1984)
Sadly for Chun his reign was packed with poor challengers, who had done little and went on to do little. The one exception to that was actually his first defense which came against Thailand's Prayurasak Muangsurin, a name that some hardcore fans from the era will be familiar with. And with good reason.
Prayurasak Muangsurin was a genuinely talented fighter who had won 12 of his first 13, including a notable win over former WBC Super Flyweight champion Chul Ho Kim, in South Korea. He had also won the Thai Super Flyweight title, and, later in his career, win the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, and challenge for a world title at 122lbs. His record might not be packed with big names, but Prayurasak Muangsurin is, or rather was, a very good fighter back in the 1980's. Sadly for him he ran into Chun who was looking to prove a point, and Chun stopped him in 12 rounds to retain the IBF world title. Sadly following this win Chun's challengers got incredibly poor, such as Diego De Villa and Felix Marquez, fighters who wouldn't have stood a chance on the regional scene now a days.
William Develos (July 22nd 1984)
Although Chun's challengers were poor we do need to find a fifth win of note for him, and with that in mind the one challenger, outside of Prayurasak Muangsurin, worthy of some note was Filipino fighter William Develos.
Develos wasn't a big name but he was an accomplished professional, not something we could say about Chun's typical challengers. Develos was a former OPBF Super Flyweight champion who had beaten Yung-Shik Kim for the title, and had also fought to a draw with Bobby Berna, held a win over future world champion Frank Cedeno, had been very competitive with the often under-rated Eijiro Murata and had beaten former world title challenger Suk Chul Bae. Basically he wasn't a world class fighter, but was a very solid regional level contender. The type of fighter that Chun should have been facing, instead of Diego De Villa, Felix Marquez and Kwang Koo Park.
Despite Develos being a solid fighter he was stopped in 7 rounds by Chun, who recorded his 4th defense of the IBF title. Sadly for Develos this loss was the start of the end for him, and he would go 5-4 after this, suffering 3 more stoppage losses, before retiring in the 1980's.
As for Chun, his reign came to an end less than a year after this win and did so in an historic manner. The Korean was stopped in 8 rounds by Elly Pical in Jakarta, with Pical becoming the first ever Indonesian world champion thanks to this win. That win began Pical's rise to stardom at home, and was a sad ending for Chun's reign. In fact it was the start of the end for Chun, who lost again in his next bout. He then vanished from the ring for 3 years before going 1-1 in a short lived comeback, before retiring for good.
It's rare for a fighter to leave a genuinely big impact in the sport in less than 6 years, but that's what Korean fighter Chan Hee Park (17-4-2, 6) did in his short, but very notable, career. He only fought between 1977, making his debut at the age of 20 with an opening round win over Japan's Chuji Muto, and 1982, when he lost in a notable shock to Filipino Wick Tengam, but fit a lot into that very small window of time. In fact he fit 26 bouts into a career that lasted 66 months and fought 9 times at world level.
Sad for Park he was one of many Korean fighters who was kept too busy, in too many hard fighters, in too short of a time. His 9 world title bouts all took place between March 1979 and February 1981. Seeing fighters fight 9 times in 2 years now a days is incredibly rare, but to see a fighter fight 9 world title bouts in 2 years is even rarer, and it's little wonder he was a shot fighter as quickly as he was. He was a true talent, and someone who could, and should, have had a longer, more successful career. Despite that he still made a very serious impact on the sport and was one of the top Flyweights if his time.
Rather than lamenting what Park could have been we're here today to look at what Park was and what Park did as we take a look at The 5 most significant wins for... Chan Hee Park
Sang Il Jung (October 1st 1977)
We begin with Park's third professional bout, which saw him take on the then 6-0-2 Sang Il Jung. The bout was a tough step up for Park, who had blown out his first 2 opponents, and proved a vital learning experience as the youngster was taken 10 rounds and forced to accept his first decision victory.
This was not only the first time Park had go the distance but was also the first time he had faced a Korean fighter, in fact it was the only time he faced a domestic opponent, and was a very big win domestically, especially given that Jung was the OPBF Light Flyweight champion at the time. It was also a win that aged really well with Jung bouncing back from the loss to become a 2-time OPBF champion and later challenger for the WBA Light Flyweight world title, taking on Yoko Gushiken. A good win at the time, which became better as Jung's career went on.
Miguel Canto (March 18th 1979)
It's impossible to talk about Park without mentioning his career defining victory, which came in March 1979 when he dethroned the legendary Miguel Canto for the WBC Flyweight World title. "El Maestro", as Canto was known, had held the belt for more than 4 years and had racked up an incredibl 14 defenses of the belt. He was, unquestionably, the best Flyweight at the time and one of the divisional greats. Park however put in a performance of a life time, out pointing Park over 15 rounds to dethrone the Mexican sensation.
Sadly for Canto he never managed to really bounce back from this loss, going 4-4-1 after this bout, including a draw in a rematch with Park. He had been a brilliant fighter, but this loss was the start of the end for him and whilst Park was fantastic on the day, there is a case that maybe, just maybe, he was lucky and got Canto at just the right time in his career. Regardless, this was the win that shook the Flyweight division and the win that put Park on the boxing map. It was a star making victory.
Chikara Igarashi (May 20th 1979)
When we look at how crazy Park's career was, particularly his world title reign, we just need to look at his first world title defense. It came 2 months and 2 days after he beat the legendart Canto, and was his 6th bout within a year! Thankfully for Park it wasn't against a top, top level fighter, but was against an often under-rated fight as he took on Chikara Igarashi. The Japanese challenger, had been a professional since 1971 and had had a streaky career, but had won the Japanese and OPBF Flyweight titles before taking on Park in May 1979.
Igarashi wasn't ever looking like he could beat Park, but he certainly gave an honest and genuine account of himself. Igarashi ended up losing a clear 15 round decision to the Korean, but he certainly wasn't there to roll over. Sadly however this was the start of the end for Igarashi, who lost his following 4 bouts before retiring in the early 1980's. For a first defense this wasn't great, but for a first defense weeks after beating Canto we'll certainly not complain!
Guty Espadas (December 16th 1979)
Park's incredible level of activity saw him rematch Park in September 1979 before ending the year with a bout against former WBA Flyweight champion Guty Espadas, who had only been dethroned of the WBA title a 16 months earlier in Venezuela by Betulio Gonzalez, via majority decision. Although no longer a champion Espadas was still regarded as one of the best in the division and a very live challenger for the Korean.
Espadas showed there was still hunger in the tank in the opening round, dropping Park in round 1. He was there and he was hungry. Sadly for Espadas however Park wasn't to be out done, dropping him twice in round 1 and again in round 2 to secure his third defense in 9 months. This was the only stoppage Park had in a world title bout and came in what was a short but thrilling and dramatic bout. Given the atmosphere and the crowd here it was clear Park was a star for Korean boxing. But was already starting to show signs of wear and tear.
Alberto Morales (April 13th 1980)
After beating Espadas in December 1979 the Korean was back out less than 2 months later, when he beat the limited Arnel Arrozal to record his 4th defense and then he took on Albert Morales just 2 months later. This was Park's 6th world title bout in just 13 months. It would also turn out to be his final win at world level.
Morales was nothing special, and he had had mixed results since his early days, with his debut believed to have been in August 1969. Despite not being anything special he had won the NABF and Mexican titles, and had previously challenged for the WBC title, way back in 1973. The perception was that he was past his best, and wouldn't be much of a test for Park. Something that turned out to be right as Park took a clear decision victory over him.
Sadly Park's inability to actually rest between bouts caught up with him a bout later, as he suffered his first loss, being stopped in 9 rounds by Shoji Oguma, with the loss sending Park to 14-1-2 (6). From there his career never managed to rebound and he went 3-3 afterwards, losing in 2 rematches against Oguma, before retiring in his mid 20's. His career should have been longer. It should have been more intelligently managed. It should have been special. Instead we got a glimpse of genius from a young Korean who was shot by his mid 20's. A real shame.
Another month is upon us and we get to share more of the wonderful, whacky, weird and unique names from the history of Asian Boxing. Today we bring you a fast Thai, a Korean who never won, a Japanese fighter who could have been a mascot for something and two peculiar Indonesian names!
Topspeed Sithyodmongkol (0-1)
Thai fighter Topspeed Sithyodmongkol has a super short career, in fact from what we could find his career lasted just 6 rounds, though his names lives on as one of the best we've come across in this series. His one, and only, bout came on September 16th 2005 when he lost a 6 round unanimous decision to Kularbdang Kiatkreerin. Sadly almost nothing is known about Topspeed, but with a name like that we hope he got into a career as a racer or runner after his short foray into professional boxing!
Mi Whan Kim (0-22)
It's rare to find a win-less Korean born fighter who fought their entire career in Europe but with Mi Whan Kim we have exactly that! Sadly not too much is known about Kim, despite the fact he fought 22 times between 1972 and 1979, but he did clash with former 2-time world champion Mando Ramos in 1974. We're not totally sure why, but "Mi Whan Kim" is very fun to say and he deserves his place in this series! Despite going 0-22 he managed to only suffer 9 stoppage losses, with one of those being a TKO2 loss to the aforementioned Ramos.
Astro Cheerioboy Maura (3-0, 1)
Japanese fighter Takaya Maura adopted the simply brilliant moniker of Astro Cheerioboy Maura, which we can't help but love. Amazingly Maura was actually a pretty solid fighter and fought between 2011 and 2012, running up a 3 fight unbeaten record before vanishing from the sport. Given he fought relatively recently it's worth noting that 2 of the men he beat are actually still fighting, with his wins over Takeshi Nakayama and Hiroki Yajima aging well as a result. It's a real shame that we didn't see what "Astro Cheerioboy" could really do in the sport. Given his name it's easy to imagine he's a mascot for some cereal or something.
Everyone who has followed this series over the last year or so will know we have a massive love for Indonesian fighters, who seem to have some of the most interesting names of any boxers. With that in mind let us bring you Pesky, an Indonesian who fought his sole recorded bout on October 1st 1939, which he lost in 6 rounds to Eddie Markx. Sadly not much is known or reported about "Pesky", though we do wonder how he acquired his moniker...
We'll finish this month's name article with another Indonesian from the 1930's, and another fight who's name leaves us with more questions than answers. This is "Mail", who debuted on October 144th 1939, losing in an 8 rounder to Joe Sam, despite having almost 7lbs weight advantage over Sam. We really can't think of any reason, at all, why an Indonesian fighter would be called "Mail" but the world of boxing can be a weird one at times and this is a clear example of just that! This is maybe even strange than "Pesky" if we're being honest.
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