Between 2000 and 2012 Filipino puncher Rodel Mayol (31-6-2, 22) proved himself as one of the most fearsome fighters in the lower weight classes. He was tough, he was rought, he was aggressive and a genuinely brutal puncher. Although never the most polished, or the the most technically well schooled fighter Mayol was a little monster, with real belief in his punching power and his physicality.
For those who haven't seen much of Mayol, his career is cetainly worth a look at. He was in a number of thrilling bouts, he always had the power to turn bouts around, but he could also be out boxed, he could be hurt, and more notable than anything else, there always seemed to be drama with his career. He was the sort of fighter who was worth watching, because you never really knew how his bouts were going to end.
Today we're going to look at the 5 most significant wins for... Rodel Mayol, and strangely this is a lot easier to do than it usually is. Mayol might have more than 30 wins, but he really does only have a handful that stand out as being genuinely meaningful.
Pigmy Kokietgym (August 31st 2001)
The first win of note for Mayol is one that aged well, rather than being too meaningful at the time, and that was his 2001 win over Thailand's Wicha Phulaikhao, better known as Pigmy Kokietgym.
Going in to the bout the then 20 year old Mayol was looking to score his his 8th straight win whilst the 19 year old Pigmy was looking to build on the momentum he was starting to generate himself. It was clearly a bout where Mayol was favoured, but few would have expected him to do an absolute number on the hungry Thai teenager, who was destroyed in 5 rounds. Pigmy was down 5 times, as Mayol's power proved to be legitimate. As mentioned this one aged well, and over the 20 years that followed Pigmy would become a multi-time world title challenger, and a consistent face in the world rankings. Notably this win would have meant even more had Pigmy managed to win one of his world title bouts.
Genki Onaka (December 7th 2003)
In January 2001 Mayol made his international debut, defeating Japanese novice Ken Nakajima. It took well over 2 years for him to again use his passport and fight on the road, as he returned to Japan and faced off with Genki Onaka the then OPBF Minimumweight champion. Onaka was looking to record his first defense of the title, whilst Mayol was looking to record a 15th straight win, and pick up the traditionally significant title Oriental title.
Going in this looked like a genuine test on paper for Mayol, but proved to be a coming out party for the Filipino who stopped Onaka in just 149 seconds! This was Mayol putting down a marker on the regional scene and doing so with an impressive, destructive, cameo of a performance. Impressively he would defend the title 3 times in around 18 months, proving his dominance over the Oriental scene and prove he was ready to take a step towards a world title bout.
Lorenzo Trejo (January 28th 2006)
Having won and defended the OPBF title Mayol needed to move towards a world title bout. In January 2006 he got the chance to take huge strides towards getting a shot at the green and gold belt as he took on veteran Lorenzo Trejo in a WBC eliminator. The bout, which took place in Mexico, saw the then 24 year old Mayol looking fighting outside of Asia for the first time, and look to extend his lengthy unbeaten record.
Mayol made a positive impression almost immediately, dropping Trejo in the opening round. Trejo managed to bounce back from the knockdown but was brutally finished off in round 4, from a vicious uppercut, that secured Mayol a shot at WBC champion Eagle Den Junlaphan just over 3 months later. The win was brutal, eye catching and genuinely did set Mayol up for a career changing opportunity. Sadly for the Filipiino however he was unable to over-come Junlaphan, losing a clear decision to the Japanese based Thai.
Edgar Sosa (November 21st 2009)
Easily the biggest and most significant win of Mayol's career came in November 2009, in what was also one of his most controversial bouts, and he was involved in several controversial bouts. That bout came against excellent Mexican fighter Edgar Sosa, the then WBC Light Flyweight champion and was held in Sosa's homeland of Mexico.
At the time Sosa was one of the most under-rated fighters on the planet. At the time he was sporting a 37-5 (21) record, had won his last 25 bouts in a row, with 14 of those wins coming by T/KO, had been the WBC champion for over 2 years and a half years and had scored 10 defenses of the title.
The hard hitting Mayol started aggressively, he seemed to know that he had to get to Sosa quickly, put the Mexican under pressure, and not let Sosa settle. It was the right gameplan to start the fight. In round 2 however controversy struck as a huge clash of heads left Sosa in agony on the canvas. He got up with a swollen and bloodied face and he seemed genuine buzzed. The bout could, genuinely, have been waved off there and then as a No Contest, or a technical draw, but Sosa regrouped, gathered himself and Mayol had a point deducted. Almost as soon as the bout restarted it was clear Sosa wasn't right and Mayol went after him. Sosa managed to survive the early pressure, but it wasn't long until Mayol's power caught him, sending Sosa down with a left uppercut. Sosa got to his feet but stumbled. The ref gave him the count but he was spent and soon afterwards Mayol sent him to the ropes and unleashed a big flurry, forcing the referee to wave off the bout.
It was a monster win, on foreign soil, for Mayol. Though one marred in controversy from the headbutt, and one that saw Mayol become a much hated figure within Mexican boxing.
Julio Cesar Miranda (May 13th 2012)
Mayol's reign as the WBC Light Flyweight champion didn't last long. He made just a single defense of the title, in an ugly technical draw against Omar Nino Romero in a bout that had a confusing and messy finish. He then lost the title to Romero in a rematch between the men, with Mayol being deducted two points for headclashes in that bout. Sadly that loss was pretty much him done as a world level fighter. He was high risk, low reward and a nightmare to fight. The only real standout win following his world title loss came in 2012 when he took on former world champion Julio Cesar Miranda.
Miranda was certainly a heavy handed fighter, but also a crude fighter who had seen much better days. He had shown he belonged at world level, but losses to Moruti Mthalane and Brian Viloria were signs that he was best at Minimumweight, where his size and strength were key. Against Mayol, fighting close to the Super Flyweight limit, the heavy handed Miranda was just unable to hold his own with the Filipino who took a clear decision over the Mexican.
This result was the last win of for Mayol, who would fight once more after this, losing to Juan Carlos Sanchez in an IBF Super Flyweight world title bout, and retired afterwards. As for Miranda, this was the start of the end for him, and he went 5-7-1 after this bout before retiring himself.
Another new month and another chance to look through the annals of Asian boxing history for some unique, weird, whacky and unexpected names of fighters from Asia. This month we're doing things a little bit different, and actually have a theme...and names you'll all likely recognise! In fact this month we are bringing you 5 "fakes" from Asia!
What we mean here are 5 fighters who "adopted" monikers of much, much more famous fighters!
Muhammad Ali (0-1)
What better way to start this list than beginning with "The Greatest"! Yeah, yeah, we all know Muhammad Ali was the best but what about the Indonesian Muhammad Ali! There must have been some huge balls on this chap, to steal the name of the Heavyweight icon when he made his debut in 2013, and LOST to the limited Rengga Rengga! Ali, this Ali not the one from Louisville, apparently lost a 4 round decision on October 5th 2013 and never returned to the ring. We guess you can steal the name but not the talent!
Frank Bruno (1-0)
Oh don't worry it wasn't just American Heavyweight greats who had their names stole, as the hugely popular British Heavyweight Frank Bruno was also a recipient of name stealing Indonesian's. The Indonesian Frank Bruno fought his only recorded bout on October 25th 2003 and unlike Muhammad Ali he actually won! He scored a debut win over Anwar Solihin and then seemingly vanished from the boxing world... maybe he was worried that the affable Frank would find out what had been done to his good name!
Michael Nun (0-2)
A slight variant on a spelling here, but still a necessary inclusion is Michael Nun, who fought twice during his short career. Nun made his debut in 2005, losing to Billy Sumba and lost in a rematch to Sumba the following year. Our Asian friend here was likely aware than the American Michael Nunn, who was a fantastic fighter, was serving time for drug trafficking when he stole his name, making this mis-appropriated name one of the strangest. Fair to say this guy was certainly second to Nunn!
John Davidson (2-1, 2)
Another slightly altered spelling here, and a much more obscure reference than the first 3. John Davison was a British boxer from 1988 to 1993, best known for his loss in 1993 to Steve Robinson for the WBO Featherweight title. John Davidson, with an extra "d" in his name, was an Indonesian fighter who fought in the early 00's, with his 3 recorded bouts coming from 2002 to 2006. He reportedly won the Indonesian Boxing Commission title on debut, in August 2002, but seemingly failed to defend the belt before ending his career in obscurity.
Peter Jackson (0-1)
Name stealing isn't just a recent thing! In fact we found the case of Indonesian fighter Peter Jackson starting this trend back in the 1920's! The first Peter Jackson was the Peter "the Black Prince" Jackson, an Australian great who has been inducted into both the IBHOF and the World Boxing Hall of Fame, and was one of the finest fighters of the late 1800's. His name sake however was a man who fought just once, losing in 3 rounds to fellow Indonesian Matthias. We're not sure whether this was as deliberate as some of the other stolen names here but it certainly felt worthy of inclusion in this look at stolen names!
Through boxing history we've seen so many amazing boxers, great fighters and those with otherworldly abilities. For us however they aren't, be default, the ones we most enjoy. Instead we prefer the fighters who get in the ring and put on a show. The fighters who come to fight, and put in a great every time they are in the ring. Win or or lose, they put on a show. Typically those fighters are aggressive fighters, with their offensive being their best form of defense and their game plans being built around pressure and output.
One such fighter was Pornsawan Porpramook (28-6-1, 17), aka "The Tank".
Pornsawan wasn't some brilliant boxer mover. He was some counter punching genius. He wasn't a slippery fighter, who got in and got out, whilst making the opponents question themselves. Instead he was a rugged, aggressive fighter who put in some amazing performance during his career. Sadly his most memorable performances came in losses, notably to Akira Yaegashi and Ryo Miyazaki, but those losses helped enhance his reputation as a tough man who loved a tear up.
Today we're not going to focus on how fun he was to watch however, and instead we're going to bring you the 5 most significant wins for... Pornsawan Porpramook
1-Juharum Silaban (November 28th 2001)
The significant win for Pornsawan came in just his second professional bout and saw him defeat Indonesian novice Juharum Silaban in Sa Kaeo, Thailand. On paper this looks like a nothing bout, very early in the careers of both men, and in reality it meant little to Silaban, who was stopped in 3 rounds and never really got his career going afterwards. It was however a meaningful win for Pornsawan.
The win saw Pornsawan claim his first professional title, the PABA Minimumweight title. Unlike some fighters with the PABA belt Pornsawan made the belt his, and went on to make 7 defenses before vacating the belt more than 2 years later. At the point where he vacated belt he had amassed more defenses than anyone else, he had given the title real value, and had proven the PABA belt had fighters wanting to hold it. Prior to him winning it the previous 7 reigns had seen a combined 9 defenses. He helped legitimise it, and that is genuinely something worthy of note.
Interestingly Pornsawan would later claim the PABA title for a second time, running up 8 defenses in his second reign, to make 15 career defenses of the PABA title, more than any other fighter in the titles history.
2-Sonny Boco (April 11th 2002)
Sadly not all wins are significant for positive reasons and sadly Pornsawan's third professional win was certainly significant for negative reasons as well as a positive one. It was a 5th round KO win over previously unbeaten Filipino fighter Sonny Boco, a win that saw Pornsawan move to 3-0 (3).
We'll start with the positive reason, this bout marked Pornsawan's first defense of the PABA title and was also his international debut, with the bout taking place in Cambodia. It was also one of only two wins Pornsawan had on foreign soil, we'll talk about the other one a little later.
Sadly though this bout left Boco with a severe brain injury, which ended his career and saw him requiring two major operations to save his life. This is sadly a win for Porpramook that was significant mostly for a negative reason, that completely changed the life of another young man.
3-Nico Thomas (August 1st 2002)
In just his 4th professional bout Pornsawan took on former IBF Minimumweight champion Nico Thomas, from Indonesia. The highly experienced Thomas was well beyond his best at this point, aged 36 and more than a decade removed from losing his IBF world title, but still had name value and recognition regionally in the 105lb division. He was someone that was being as a stepping stone by many of the emerging Minimumweight's of the era and in his previous 4 bouts he had shared the ring with both Eagle Den Junlaphan and Muhammad Rachman.
Given that Thomas had been stopped in 4 of his previous 6 bouts there was no real surprise that Pornsawan stopped him, doing so in a round, but the real significance here was Pornsawan stopping a former world champion in just his 4th professional bout. This was a clear statement from his team that they were confident in their guy to be a star, even if he was just picking up a win against a "name" here. A very faded name.
4-Sonny Boy Jaro (March 29th 2006)
After starting his career with a number of notable wins Pornsawan's career then took the same type of road as so many Thai fighters. That's the road of activity, over quality, and he regularly defended the PABA title against C and D level visitors from the Philippines Indonesia and even South Africa. It was the part of his career that was all about building up his in ring identity and letting him have ring time. That portion of his career saw him face only a single opponent of note. That was future WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro.
At this point in his career Jaro was picking up minor titles, having won the GAB title and a regional IBF title, but didn't look like he was really going anywhere. He was, essentially, a journeyman fighter, taking fights where he could and when he could, and had fought in both Indonesia and South Africa the previous year. Pornsawan would go on to stop Jaro in 5 rounds, scoring a win that at the time didn't really stand out much. Of course Jaro would later bounce back from this loss and, in 2012, beat the legendary Pongsaklek Wonjongkam for the WBC Flyweight title. This was certainly a win that aged well, even if it meant nothing at the time.
5-Muhammad Rachman (July 30th 2011)
When Pornsawan beat Jaro in 2006 he moved to 16-0 (13) and was 28 years old. he would then continue to tick over until 2007, when he got his first world title fight and lost to Donnie Nietes. Soon after he would lose to Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Edgar Sosa, before suffering a draw in a rematch with Oleydong. He had gone from 20-0 (15) to 22-3-1 (46), with 4 set backs in world title bouts. He was also 33, an old age for a Minimumweight. Then he got one more shot as he took on WBA Minimumweight champion Muhammad Rachman over in Jakarta.
Rachman had won the title in a massive upset against Kwanthai Sithmorseng in April 2011 and was now making his first defense against the struggling Pornsawan. Despite being the champion, and being at home, Rachman wasn't able to do enough to keep his title. Instead Pornsawan took home a razor thin majority decision, to win the title, scoring his career defining win in the process and finally, at the 5th time of trying, taking a world title.
That win, Pornsawan's second on foreign soil was, by far and away, the highlight of his career. The defining moment for the Thai Tank. Sadly however the success was short lived, as he lost the title in his first defense, less than 3 months later, to Akira Yaegashi in a gem of a fight from late 2011. After that he struggled to get any moment going and retired after a huge upset loss in 2013 to Rey Loreto, hanging up the gloves with a 28-6-1 (17) record.
One Asian country that doesn't get a lot of attention when it comes to professional boxing is Indonesia, despite the fact it's had several world champions and numerous contenders over the years. With its huge population it could be a sleeping boxing giant of the future, though will need serious investment to really tap into the potential there. Despite the unfulfilled boxing potential of the country it has had some notable fighters, including former 2-time world champion Muhammad Rachman (65-13-5, 35), who had a remarkable career for a Minimumweight.
As a fighter Rachman fought between 1993 and 2016, a long carer by anyone's measure but an even more impressive one given he was a Minimumweight and he debuted when he was already in his 20's. Not only is that impressive, but he was also fighting in world title fights into his 40's!
Today we're here to take a look back at "Roch Breaker's" career and look at the 5 most significant wins for... Muhammad Rachman
Nico Thomas (July 4th 2000)
As already mentioned Rachman debuted in 1993. The early portion of his career is pretty forgettable in all honesty. The only opponent of any note early in his career was future Faisol Akbar, who beat Rachman twice, Mongkol Charoen, who also beat Rachman, and former world title challenger Domingus Siwalette, who lost in a world title bout on his recorded debut. In 200 however that all changed when the 28 year old Rachman took on former world champion Nico Thomas.
At this point in his career Rachman was 33-5-2 (14) yet had no ones of real note on his career, having pretty much learned to box on the job. Thomas, on the other hand was a former IBF Minimumweight champion, though he was more than a decade removed from his world title reign. He had struggled in the years since his title loss and entered this bout with a 29-15-4 (18) record. Knowing it was his big chance to become one of the new faces of Indonesian boxing Rachman made an immediate impact, stopping Thomas in the first round. This was the win that put him on the boxing map after years of battling through lower tier talent.
Jin Ho Kim (June 10th 2001)
Rachman kept busy after the win against Thomas, scoring a string of low level wins and picking up the IBF Pan Pacific title at the end of 2000. We had to wait almost a year until he faced someone else of note, and that was in the form of Korean fighter Jin Ho Kim.
Kim was no world beater, but he had mixed at a good level, notably facing the then WBA Minimumweight champion Chana Porpaoin in 1995. He was a credible fighter having previously won the Korean national title, and later challenging for the OPBF title. For Rachman however he was another roadblock and the Indonesian managed to take a 10 round decision over the Korean. Amazingly this win, his second genuinely notable win, came in what was Rachman's 50th professional bout. Talk about a long road to the top!
Noel Tunacao (December 16th 2003)
Unfortunately for Rachman his next win of note came when he was 31 years old, ancient for a Minimumweight, and saw him face off with Noel Tunacao, the brother of former Flyweight champion Malcolm Tunacao. The bout, held in Surabaya, Indonesia, was a world title eliminator and came in Rachman's 66th professional bout. It was his chance to go from being a local fighter, with the potential of dabbling with regional talent, to a man on the verge of a world title fight.
Knowing his career would legitimately change with a win Rachman fought like he was a man with a point to prove, and dropped Tunacao in round 2 with some nasty body shots. Tunacao beat the count, but it was clear he wasn't fit to continue, with the fighter himself shaking his head at the referee.
Not only was this win a world title eliminator, assuring Rachman a shot at the IBF title, but it was also a win against a former world title challenger, with Tunacao having previously fought Hiroki Ioka for the WBA Light Flyweight title. It was also the start of the end for Tunacao, who went 1-3 after this, including a loss to the then WBO champion Ivan Calderon in one of Calderon's very rare stoppage wins.
Daniel Reyes (September 14th 2004)
Having earned his world title fight at the end of 2013 Rachman finally got a shot a shot at the belt 9 months later when he took on Colombian fighter Daniel Reyes. Reyes had won the title a few weeks after Rachman had become the mandatory challenger, and was a very accomplished fighter himself. Not only was Reyes the IBF champion but he was also a former Olympian, competing in the 1996 Atlanta games, and was sporting a 34-1-1 professional record coming in to this bout. He had also avenged his sole defeat, to Roberto Carlos Leyva, in his first defense of the IBF title.
Rachman, fighting in front of his home fans at the Britama Arena in Kelapa Gading, was pushed all the way in this one, but sneaked away with a split decision draw over the Colombian in a very hard to score bout. After 12 rounds the judges cards read 116-116 and 115-114 to Rachman, and 117-114 to Reyes. Interestingly the judges here were from Colombia, Indonesia and Thailand, and all 3 judges had this close, with the Thai judge being the decider as the other two judges favoured their countryman.
This win was certainly a controversial one, but saw Rachman claiming a world title for the first time, at the age of 32 and in his 68th bout.
Kwanthai Sithmorseng (April 19th 2011)
Sadly Rachman's reign as the IBF Minimumweight champion was a short one. He made 3 defenses of the belt, with the most notable of those was a technical draw against Fahlan Sakkreerin, before losing in 2007 to Florante Condes. That started a downfall in his career and saw him struggle for any form, losing 4 of his following 5 bouts. They included a loss in a WBC title bout against Oleydong Sithsamerchai, a TKO loss to Denver Cuello and a loss to a then novice Samartlek Kokietgym.
Despite 4 losses in a row Rachman was, somehow, able to challenge the then newly crowned WBA Minimumweight champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng. For all intents Rachman's career seemed to be pretty much over. He was now 39, taking on an unbeaten champion in what was expected to be an easy first defense for Kwanthai and he had scored just 1 win in the previous 4 years. No one told Rachman he was old, shot and there to lose and amazingly Rachman, some how, stopped Kwanthai in the 9th round, after losing the first 8, to become a 2-time champion in one of the most bizarre results of 2011. The win saw Rachman become the oldest man to win a Minimumweight title and saw him post one of the most over-looked upsets of the last 20 years.
Sadly for Rachman this didn't last long, losing in his first defense, though his career did continue on until 2016, when he retired following a loss to Oscar Raknafa. By then he was 44 years old, a relic by Minimumweight standards.
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.
Through out the history of this great sport various fighters have had what we can describe as strange careers, and one such, great case, is that of Malcolm Tunacao (35-3-3, 20) who did things in the reverse manner to many fighters. Unlike many fighters who spend more of their careers to get a world title fight he got an unexpected one less than 2 years into his career, when he was just 22 years old, which he made the most of. His career peaked very early and for many fighters a career like that can be over relatively early.
For Tuancao much of his career was spent chasing a second time at the top and his career would continue on for a further 14 years, though he wouldn't manage to climb the summit of the sport for a second time, despite coming close in 2012.
Despite the rather strange he had, he also had a very worthwhile one, and today we get to take a look at it as we bring you the 5 most significant wins for...Malcolm Tunacao
Medgoen Singsurat (May 19th 2000)
The talented Malcolm Tunacao debuted in August 1998, doing so in a 6 rounder, and he quickly stepped up to 10 rounds, with his third professional bout being scheduled for 10 rounds. In less than 14 months Tunacao had won the GAB Flyweight title, beating Rio Sumampong, and soon afterwards recorded his first defense. By this point he was 10-0 (6) and still a boxing baby. Despite that he was offered a WBC Flyweight title fight in May 2000 taking on WBC and Linear champion Medgoen Singsurat, a 20-0 (12) fighter who had dethroned Manny Pacquiao in 1999 and had already recorded his first defense.
Despite taking a massive step up in class Tunacao did the unthinkable and upset the Thai in Thailand, to claim the WBC Flyweight title, and the biggest win of his career. By far. The Filipino, who was a genuine unknown at this point, looked calm and relaxed through despite being away from home, he looked composed in his big step up and Singsurat had no answer for southpaw stance and movement of Tunacao who looked genuinely class. Tuancao also smartly kept this out of the hands of the judges. He came out hot in round 7 and unloaded bombs on Singsurat from the start of the round, beating the fight out of him, and bending the rules where needed. This was a veteran-like performance from a young fighter fighting on the world stage for the first time.
In many this win seemed like the type of victory that had unearthed a special talent. Sadly though Tunacao's reign was short lived, losing the title 10 months later to a then little known Pongsaklek Wonjongkam... wonder what happened to him...
Kumarnthong Chuwatana (November 19th 2005)
After winning the WBC title so early in his career Tunacao was almost frozen out of notables fights. From his March 2001 loss to Wonjongkam to 2005 there was very, very little of note on his record. Wins over limited veterans or novices were the order of the day and they did little to forward his career, though a win over Kazuyoshi Niki was decent. We had to wait more than 6 years for the next major win for Tunacao and that came against Kumarnthong Chuwatana, not a name we suspect many will know much about.
In July 2005 Kumarnthong won the OPBF Bantamweight title, defeating Japan's Jun Toriumi at Korakuen Hall. Tunacao was his first challenger, and Tunacao dominated the bout, taking a very wide unanimous decision over the Thai, who was, for all intent, a flash in the pan champion. After the bout Kumarnthong went on to do almost nothing in the sport, with a win over Hiromasa Ohashi in 2007 being the only exception. This was however a major win for Tunacao, who claimed his first OPBF title, and opened up new doors for his career. Sadly however Tunacao's reign was short and he lose the belt in his third defense, to Rolly Lunas in 2007.
Seung Suk Chae (February 6th 2010)
It's fair to say the 2009 was a big year for Tunacao who became a sparring partner for Hozumi Hasegawa and later signed with the Shinsei Gym due to that sparring. Despite only fighting once in 2009, his career changed. In a big way. The following year he travelled over to South Korea to take on Seung Suk Chae for the vacant OPBF Bantamweight title. At the time Chae was the South Korean national champion and sported an impressive 16-1 record.
Despite being on the road Tunacao out pointed the Korean over 12 rounds, taking a razor thin decision over Chae to claim the OPBF Bantamweight title for a second time, and begin his days as a Shinsei fighter with a title wrapped firmly around his waist. Unlike his first OPBF reign this one wasn't a short reign, and in fact it lead into some of his biggest wins, and some of his most meaningful performances.
Kohei Oba II (July 11th 2010)
During his second reign with the OPBF title Tunacao made sure to make the most of the belt and recorded 3 good defenses. The first of those was a rematch with Kohei Oba, a man he had fought to a draw with 4 years earlier. At this point Oba, dubbed the "Mayweather of Nagoya", was 27-0-1 (11) and was highly rankedby the WBC. Although the OPBF champion Tunacao was regarded by many as the under-dog, and at 32 years old was thought to be slowing down, an issues against a speedy, technical fighter like Oba.
As it turned out the experience of Tunacao proved vital here. Oba started quick, and looked sharp in the early going. In fact for a round or two it seemed like the speed difference was going to be too much for Tunacao to over-come. And then Tunacao began to turn things around, timing Oba, getting a read on his speed, and finally doing enough to take home the unanimous decision victory.
Impressively this defense, against an unbeaten challenger in Japan, was followed by wins over notable names in Hidenobu Honda and Daigo Nakahiro. Sadly though both of those men were coming to the end of their respective careers.
Christian Esquivel (December 22nd 2012)
More than 2 years after winning the OPBF Bantamweight title, for the second time, Tunacao got the chance to secure himself a second world title bout a chance to become a 2-weight world champion. The only thing standing in his way of the opportunity was Mexican fighter Christian Esquivel, who Tunacao had to face in a WBC world title eliminator in late 2012. Going in Tunacao was ranked #1 by the WBC, whilst Esquivel was ranked #3, though at 35 he knew this would be his last chance. As for Esquivel he wasn't there to make up the numbers, instead he was looking for his second shot, and a chance to rematch Shinsuke Yamanaka, who had beaten him for the title in 2011.
Through the first 6 rounds Tunacao regularly got the better of things, using his southpaw stance and his experience well to control the action.Esquivel was still game however and wasn't there to make up the numbers. Despite being game the Mexican was finally taken out in round 7 when Tunacao managed to hammer him in the corner, sending him to the canvas. The Mexican couldn't beat the count and Tunacao managed to secure himself a world title fight with Yamanaka, who was sat ringside scouting the action.
Sadly for Tunacao his dreams of becoming a 2-weight world champion ended in tears, with the Filipino being stopped in the 12th round by Yamanaka, in what was one of the toughest defenses for "God's Left". After that he picked up 3 low key wins before ending his career, and later being attacked in the Philippines by his then girlfriend.
Over the last decade or so there has been a massive lack of boxing video games. Whilst we're all aware that the "Fight Night" series has been missing in action, as EA focus on UFC and other sports games, there also hasn't been many lesser known boxing games released in recent years. The likes of the ridiculous "Funky Head Boxers", the classic "Punch Out!!", licenced games like "George Foreman's KO Boxing" and the "Foes of Ali", and the often over-looked "Victorious Boxers" have all vanished from the shelves and the sport really is lacking in terms of games.
Thankfully it does appear that "ESports Boxing Club" is set to change that, when it's released, but the sport certainly deserves more than one boxing game every few years.
Rather than focusing on the politics of video games, or complaining about why we get so few boxing games now a days, the team at Asian boxing have been asked to suggest fighters for future video games, as they answer this week's Who... question:
"Who... would you like to see in a video game?"
They been told that they are two fighters, one modern day and one from the past, and that both fighters need to be from Asia.
Lee: "I've been a little bit predictable this week and selected two fighters from South Korea, but in fairness I have picked two very different fighters.
For my modern pick I want to go with Hyun Mi Choi. I think getting females involved in boxing video games would be amazing, and anything to get more attention on Choi, and what a great story she has been for boxing would be fantastic. It's a shame she spent so much of her career in relative obscurity, here in Korea, but now she's big news and should be featured in any potential video game. She, along with the current female fighters at 130lbs and 135lbs would make for some very interesting match ups, and I would love to see ladies boxing in video game form.
For my fighter from the past I was struggling between three fighters but settled on Jung Koo Chang. I think from all the possibilities Chang would be the most interesting. It would be great to see how the game developers would manage to make someone who fights the way Chang does fit into their system, and it would also highlight the career of one of the best little men in history. Chang deserves more attention from fans than he gets, and having him in a widely available video game would be great for his profile, and for the profile of Korean boxing.
For those wondering, the other two I thought about were Myung Woo Yuh and Sung Kil Moon. I think Chang would be the most fun to play as, but any of the three would be great!"
Takahiro: "When it comes to my modern pick, there is only one fighter I need to mention. Naoya Inoue! The inclusion of Inoue would help the game sell in Japan, it would be a great sign that Inoue has made it as a global boxing star, and it would be so much fun to play as the Monster against all the other fighters in the game. I would love to see how they would make him, and how life like it would be. If it was really life like they could include things like his ring walk music, "Departure" by Naoki Sato. And lets be honest. Everyone would want to see the Monster in a video game putting him in with some of the best from the past!
As for retired fighters I want to see Koichi Wajima in a video game! His style would be funny to see a game, with his Frog Punch technique and his peculiar stance. Whilst Wajima is certainly not a big name to international fans, and isn't regarded as a legend in the eyes of many in the west, at least not like Fighting Harada and Yoko Gushiken, I think playing as Wajima would be so much fun"
Scott:"Knowing that Taka was going to pick Inoue I was a little bit unsure who I wanted to select for the modern day fighter, I though about Kosei Tanaka and seeing how they would put his speed into a game, or how they would manage to put Diago Higa's pressure style into a game or how Gennady Golovkin's power would translate or how Srisaket Sor Rungvisai's strength and aggression would work in video game form.
In the end however I've decided the modern day fighter I would like the most would be Kazuto Ioka, with Ioka being included in both his Minimumweight form and his Super Flyweight form. There would be the body punching, aggressive fighter and the more intelligent but slower and less heavy handed version in a two-for-one deal. Ioka's a big enough name to attract a Japanese audience and a special enough talent to add value to the game.
For my retired pick I'm going a little bit left field and picking Saensak Muangsurin. There's never enough Thai fighters in video games, and Saensak would allow one to be included, in a weight class that fans would pick quite regularly. As with a number of other picks it would be really interesting to see how they would adapt his style to video games, and his Muay Thai stance that never looked right in boxing would makee him seem very unique in a game. That's ignoring his rock solid chin, his porous defense and his brutal power. To me having someone with such a unique style in the game would be pretty awesome, and it would also draw attention to someone who has been sadly over-looked a lot in recent years. He wouldn't add to the sales, so I understand him not being in a game, but I'd still love him being there due to how different he would be compared to the others in the game."
As we write this, in early May, once beaten Jamshidbek Najmitdinov (16-1, 13), is pencilled in to make his US debut and with that in mind we thought we'd take this opportunity to discuss once beaten man Uzbekistan. He's not the typical type of fighter we look at in this "Introducing" series, but he's certainly the sort of fighter who deserves a lot more attention than he's gotten so far, and is definitely someone fans need to be aware of. Even if he is, now, the wrong side of 30.
In recent years we have seen a massive rise in fighters from Uzbekistan getting massive amounts of attention. Guys like Murodjon Akhmadaliev, Israil Madrimov, Shohjahon Ergashev, Shakhram Giyasov and Bektemir Melikuziev have all been getting rave reviews and a lot of time to show what they can do on in front of a main stream audience, with each of those fighters having become well known in the US. The same, however, cannot be said of Jamshidbek Najmitdinov who is a very obscure fighter, but someone who is much better than fans may realise. In fact with just a bit of luck, there's a good chance he would have landed a world title fight already, or at least seriously impacted the look of the Light Welterweight division of the last few years. More about that a little later.
Unlike many of those top names from Uzbekistan Najmitdinov has lacked two things. A major international amateur profile, and a strong backer able to get him fights away from Uzbekistan, where he has fought almost his entire career so far. He has lacked the backing to secure the fights he's needed to progress his career and become more well known, and that's been the major issue with his career so far.
Najmitdinov debuted way back in July 2013, on a show in Tashkent. The show featured just 5 bouts in total, and on the event the debuting 23 year old Najmitdinov defeated Botir Nosirov via a 4 round decision. Despite a win on debut it was more than 2 years before Najmitdinov was back in action in the pro's, though in fairness he did try to make up for lost time, fighting in 3 times in 2015, squeezing fights into October, November and December. Those wins saw him race his record to 4-0 (3) and he would notch another win in January 2016 to keep momentum building.
Whilst Najmitdinov was building up some momentum, and getting busy, his competition was absolutely terrible. His first 5 opponents failed to have a recorded win and were little more than a nuisance for the talented fighter who needed bigger, better tests. Thankfully they came later in 2016, as he took on the the sturdy Ismatullo Gulomov, whp extended Najmitdinov 6 rounds. He would then secure a fight against Mansur Abdumamatov for the Uzbekistan national title at 140lbs, winning that in 7 rounds to claim his first title belt.
Despite winning the Uzbekistan Najmitdinov would never actually defend it. Instead he would score two stay busy fights in early 2017 before getting his first international bout, over in Ukraine against former world champion Viktor Postol. On paper this wasn't just a step up in class for Najmitdinov, but a completely new game all together. He was going from fighting novices in Uzbekistan to taking on a former former champion in Kiev. Despite the massive leap up in class Najmitdinov gave Postol all he could handle, and them some, dropping the Ukrainian veteran several times, and hurting him repeatedly, whilst Vadym Lavrenets, the referee, did all he could to help Postol survive. Despite being beaten and hurt numerous times the bout ended in a disgusting home town decision, from the Ukrainian judges who all gave the win, by some margin, to Postol. Following this "win" Postol would go on to challenge the then WBC "silver" champion Josh Taylor and more recently the WBC and WBO world champion Jose Carlos Ramirez. Had this bout gone the right way there's a good chance Postol wouldn't have had those opportunities, and Najmitdinov could have been in the world title mix as early as 2017.
Sadly since the controversial loss to Postol we've not seen Najmitdinov land a fight of real note. His most relevant fight since was a 10 round win, in Kazakhstan, against limited Indonesian veteran Hero Tito, a 10 round win that has been followed by 3 quick blowouts back in Uzbekistan. The only thing of note from those 3 wins was was Najmitdinov winning the WBC CIS and Slovac Boxing Bureau (CISBB) Welter Title in 2019, hardly a massive achievement.
Sadly fighting in Uzbekistan for almost his entire career has meant not a lot of footage of Najmitdinov is available. Thankfully however a few of his fights are out there, including his clash with Postol and his clash with Tito. In both of those bouts it was clear that Najmitdinov was heavy handed, aggressive, strong, and powerful, but much a fighter who was crude around the edges. He's the sort of fighter who looks like he could be a nightmare for anyone, but that the best fighters in the division would counter, a lot. His shots are looping, they aren't the quickest or the sharpest, but when he lands, he lands hard. As with many of the current fighters from Uzbekistan there is some flair to his in ring style, and a sense of excitement, but a lot of work needs doing with him.
In 2020 Najmitdinov signed with Banner Promotions. The hope was that he would have made his US debut in 2020 but, of course, 2020 was not a normal year. As a result he's not yet made his US debut, but that is set to come on May 28th, as he finally begins to move his career forward and move towards some career defining fights, that are well over-due.
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