Talented Thai Chana Porpaoin (53-4-5, 19) is often over-looked when we talk about major players in the Minimumweight division. That's despite the fact he had a 62 fight career that spanned from 1988 to 2006 and saw him face a divisional who's who. Sure he had some mixed results but he really did face almost all the notable names in the division, other than Ricardo Lopez. He was a 2-time WBA Minimumweight champion and managed a host of notable wins.
Today we're going to look at the 5 most significant wins for... Chana Porpaoin, talking about why the 5 fights we select are the most significant and the results he had.
Before we talk about the specific fights this series is trying to shine a spotlight on wins of significance, not necessarily the best or biggest wins, but the ones of significance, so please join us as we all at the 5 most significance wins for Chana Porpaoin!
Manny Melchor (June 30th 1990)
By June 1990 Porpaoin was 15-0 (9) but hadn't scored a win over anyone of note. None of his previous opponents had done anything, and none of them would go on to do anything. That was until he met 21 year old Filipino Manny Melchor. Up to this point Melchor was 14-12-2 (4), a less than inspiring record, and when Porpaoin took a decision over him few would have expected the Filipino to do anything with his career. Surprisingly however Melchor managed to bounce back from this loss to defeat Eric Chavez, just 6 months later and take the IBF Minimumweight title in 1992. This was a win that didn't mean much when it happened, but grew in significance when Melchor claimed his own world title.
Surprisingly Melchor would actually beat Porpaoin to a world title, with the Thai not winning one until 1993...
Hideyuki Ohashi (February 10th 1993)
...that leads us perfectly on to this bout, Porpaoin's clash with Japanese fighter Hideyuki Ohashi. By this point The 26 year old Porpaoin was 26-0 (12) whilst Ohashi, the then WBA Minimumweight champion, was 19-4 (12) and was just 27 years old himself. Ohashi had claimed the title just 4 months earlier, when he defeated Hi Yong Choi to become a 2-time champion. The bout wasn't the most exciting, with the two men having styles that did more to neutralise the other man than to press the action. Despite not being exciting it was competitive and made for compelling viewing, with Porpaoin taking a close decision over Ohashi. With this win not only did Porpaoin become a world champion but he also sent Ohashi into retirement, with the Japanese fighter setting up the Ohashi Gym in his retirement.
Rather notably the win over Ohashi was also Porpaoin's international debut, with the bout being held in Japan.
Carlos Murillo I (May 9th 1993)
In his first defense Porpaoin took on the then unbeaten Carlos Murillo, who sported a 20-0 (17) record. Through 12 rounds Porpaoin did enough to take a clear win on the scorecards to retain his title and over-come the heavy handed man from Panama. Porpaoin did more than enough to win, but couldn't stop Murillo, who managed to get a rematch with the Thai just 10 months later. Like Porpaoin's win over Melchor this was another win that aged well, it was big at the time, given Murillo's record and reputation, but aged better when Murillo became the WBA Light Flyweight champion in 1996, when he beat Hi Yong Choi in Miami. There's an argument Murillo was pre-prime when Porpaoin beat him, but that shouldn't take away from the fact Porpaoin took his 0.
Rafael Torres (November 28th 1993)
Whilst both Melchor and Murillo would go on to have success after Porpaoin bet them Refael Torres was a little bit different. In 1989 he had won the WBO Minimumweight title, and had defended the belt once. His career then went off the track a bit but in 1993 he challenged Porpaoin, looking to become a 2-time world champion. The Thai was looking to record his 30th straight win and did just that, in stopping Torres in the 4th round. Torres never really looked like a major force after this bout but had done enough before hand to be regarded as a solid contender. Interestingly this was also the first defense that ended with Porpaoin scoring a stoppage, and was one of only 2 world title bouts he managed to win inside the distance.
Keitaro Hoshino (April 16th 2001)
After losing the WBA Minimumweight title in 1995, losing a split decision to Nicaraguan Rosendo Alvarez, who also went on to beat Chana's brother Songkram Porpaoin, we saw Porpaoin being frozen out of the title picture for over 5 years. In 2001 he finally got another shot at his old title, though had to return to Japan to get the shot as he took on Keitaro Hoshino. By now Porpaoin was 35 years old, ancient for a Minimumweight, and was 43-1-2 (17). Despite his age, and years of wear and tear in the ring the Thai would manage to upset the Japanese local and take a split decision of Hoshino to become a 2-time champion.
Sadly Porpaoin's second reign was a short one, losing the title 4 months later to Yutaka Niida. He would then remain a relevant figure in the division, having two super close nouts with Juan Jose Landatea, for the WBA interim title. He would retire following a draw with Katsuhito Iezumi in 2006, having failed to win any of his last 3 bouts, and going 2-2-3 in his final 7 bouts.
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