We all have fighters we're personal fans of, that we feel go over-looked and don't get the attention and love they should. There are so many amazing fighters through the history of the sport, that it can be easy to over-look them, and never go back.
With that in mind the guys at Asian boxing have been tasked at trying to highlight some of those fighters, as they answer the question:
"Who... should every fight fan go and check out?"
The question came with 2 rules. Each one of the guys was allowed to name two fighters, and the fighters in question all had to be retired (they will be answering a similar question about active fighters in the future). With those rules in mind, lets look at the suggestions put forward!
Lee-"I'm going to pick two Korean fighters here, both of whom are among my personal favourites.
The first is Light Flyweight legend Myung Woo Yuh, who was just so much to watch and made offensive, pressure fighting look like an art form. Yuh was strong and tough, but it wasn't those qualities that made him a must watch. Instead it was his incredible work rate and the overall excitement of his fighters. He climbed into the ring to fight and he unleashed punches like some kind of perpetual punching machine. It would be easy to just say he threw a lot of leather, but that wasn't true. He didn't just throw a lot, but he landed a lot. He seemed to know where he was in the ring, and despite throwing, a lot, he rarely missed. There was some bizarre magic going on with his fights, where his punches were some how attracted to his opponents. He was an offensive genius. One of the greatest offensive fighters ever. I know most, including Yuh himself, would say Jung Koo Chang , was better but I always preferred watching Yuh.
Given my first pick was Yuh I don't think I need to explain that I like offensive fighters! With that in mind my second pick is former Featherweight Young Kyun Park, who was just so, so much fun. Dubbed the "Bulldozer" he really did fight like a bulldozer. Technically he flawed, very flawed, but he was all action and a marauding offensive force who came forward, threw a lot of heavy leather and just, well, bulldozed through people. His reign WBA Featherweight world title reign, from 1991 to 1993 was short in terms of time, but it was a really busy reign with 8 defences in total. He beat some top fighters during his time, including Antonio Esparragoza, who he took the title from, Eloy Rojas, Seiji Asakawa and Koji Matsumoto, and always put on a show. A forgotten legend!"
Takahiro-"I only have one pick this week, but I think it's a good one! Naoto Takahashi. The prince of the reversal. The former 2-weight Japanese national champion. The man who encapsulated what boxing meant to me! The man who I can enjoy watching any time.
Naoto Takahashi fought from 1985 to 1991, fighting just 23 bouts. But from those 23 bouts there was so many instant classics. His bout with Mark Horikoshi is one of the best bouts to ever take place at Korakuen Hall, and is the must watch bout of his. It's amazing. But it's not a one off great bout. His second bout with Mitsuo Imazato and his first bout with Noree Jockygym are amazing. Even his less memorable bouts, like his second bout with Tadashi Shimabukuro and his first bout with Mitsuo Imazato were brilliant action clashes.
Takahashi was a man known for boxing with his heart, not his head. His career was short because he took a lot of punishment, retiring due to a brain injury, but the way he fought appealed to me so much. He gave fans value for money. He gave his all. He won my boxing heart. Amazing fighter. If you've never seen him, go watch him. Now!
Oh, I have to make 2 choices? Okay! Fine! My second choice is Hozumi Hasegawa! The sensational 3 weight world champion.
There are lots of reasons to watch Hasegawa! Like Takahashi he often fought with his heart, rather than his brain. He was a smart fighter, when he wanted to be, but often had a fight when he didn't need to, which always made me a fan! Even at the end of his career, in his final round against Hugo Ruiz, he managed to let the fighting spirit show as he fought off the ropes. Another reason is his record and the perception that Hasegawa was feather fisted. He wasn't! He was actually a huge puncher, who showed his power at world level, stopping Veeraphol Sahaprom and Vusi Malinga among others. His power was freakish, and was powered by his speed. He was a dazzling fighter to watch. A speed demon with scary power, a very good boxing brain, and a heart that told him to fight! Fight! He was also just a very, very good guy!"
Scott-"I've decided to pick two very different fighters, one for excitement and one for technical brilliance.
The exciting fighter I want every one to watch is Takanori Hatakeyama, though it was a really hard choice between him, Lakva Sim and Yong Soo Choi who were all around at the same time and all involved in some amazing bouts, many between each other. I've gone with Hatakeyama however as as its not just his wars that are great but he also has some other highlights.
If you're going to watch great bouts with Hatakeyama involved you need to watch his two wars with Yong Soo Choi, his bouts with Koji Arisawa, Gilberto Serrano, Hiroyuki Sakamoto and Rick Yoshimura along with his loss to Lakva Sim. If you just want a highlight to watch his KO against Jae Woon Park is one of the most brutal KO's ever scored.
Honestly though you can't go wrong with fights featuring Sim or Choi if you've seen all of Hatakeyama's.
As for technical brilliance, I suggest everyone goes and watches Gerry Penalosa in action. The fantastic Filipino is one of the best technical boxers from any part of Asia, ever. He was intelligent in the ring, and did so many things incredibly well. His technique was brilliant, his understanding of the sport was on another level to many out there, and did the little things that so many fighters ignores. His balance was tremendous, his ability to read range was brilliant, he was accurate, didn't waste much of anything and was incredibly tough. Too tough for his own good at times.
Sadly whilst Penalosa was fantastic he was also an incredibly unlucky fighter. There are so many fights that could, and probably should, have gone his way. Sometimes he was to blame, he was bit too cautious at times, and didn't go all out to win the judges over on foreign soil. But other times he was robbed, such as the deplorable split decision loss against Eric Morel.
For fans wanting to see a technical genius, incredible skills and a fighter who got by without the freakish traits of a Manny Pacquiao or Nonito Donaire. He was the sort of fighter that every fight fan should watch and enjoy. He's not flashy, he's not oozing charisma, and his fights weren't always the most enjoyable to watch, but he was a genuine boxing genius. A brilliant boxing mind, and a man who showed that skills genuinely do pay the bills."
For this week's "Who..." article the boys behind Asianboxing.info are looking at a different type of question, and it's one concerning history, as they look at fighters they would have loved to have moved from the past, to today. It's a subject with a lot of possibilities, so they have had a limit put on the question, and have been told to stick to a single weight class this week.
With that in mind let's have a look at today's question:
"Who... would you like to take from the past and put in today's Super Flyweight division?"
The rules for this were set as a fighter who must be currently retired and must have made a mark at 115lbs. Whether the division was their best or not, they only needed to have made an impact there. For consideration was how they would match up with modern day fighters, and whether their styles would make for exciting bouts, or whether they could have success against modern day fighters.
They guys were also asked to keep it to Asian fighters for this particular "Who..." article.
Lee: "When I knew this question was coming up I was so happy as there was one man I had in mind and that was Sung Kil Moon! The Korean star of the late 1980's and early 1990's would have been amazing in this era of Super Flyweights. His pressure, aggression, power, physical strength and work rate would have made for brilliant bouts against the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Jerwin Ancajas and Kazuto Ioka. I don't think he would beat them all, but he would certainly want to fight them all.
Just imagine Moon Vs Srisaket or Gonzalez. There is no way we wouldn't get a fight of the year contender. We would also have a Korean fighter at the world stage and big fights may still be happening in Korea!
I might be biased, as Moon is one of my all time favourites, but I would have absolutely loved to have put him in today's era of Super Flyweights."
Takahiro: "The obvious answer I jumped to was Jiro Watanabe, but I had second thoughts. Jiro was brilliant, he was heavy handed, he was tough and he was skilled, but I think he wouldn't be as good today as he was back in the 1980's. And I don't think his bouts would be the best. Instead I will choose Khaosai Galaxy! I think Galaxy, in today's era would be a very interesting addition and a real chance to see if Galaxy was as good as his reputation.
Galaxy against fighters like Estrada, Gonzalez, Ioka and Ancajas would all be really interesting. I always thought it was unfortunate that Galaxy lacked a big rival, and he never fought Watanabe, and if he was around now he would have those rivals. I also think he would lose to a lot of top modern day fighters, but always have the power to turn the bout his way.
Technically he wasn't the best, but with his power, his toughness and his aura, I would love Khaosai Galaxy to fight in this era of Super Flyweights".
Scott: "I've always had a soft spot for Filipino fighter Gerry Penalosa, who was really unfortunate throughout much of his career. The "Fearless" one was as skilled as they come, with a brilliant boxing brain, good defense and good technical under-standing of the ring. I'd have loved for him to have come around 20 years after he did and put those skills up against the likes of Nietes Ioka, Estrada and Ancajas in technical matches, or seeing how he would try to deal with the pressure of Gonzalez and Srisaket, or the speed of Kosei Tanaka.
Whilst Penalosa wasn't the best or the most exciting fighter out there I think he would pose every fighter in the division today some really interesting questions. I suspect his lack of good luck would cost him more than once or twice, but he would remain in the mix for years and have the dance partners to bring the best out of him.
I suspect had Penalosa been around now he would have fit right into the mix and we would have seen a lot of him on things like DAZN where lower weight fighters are given chances to shine and I think his legacy would have been enhanced significantly as a result. It really is a shame he came along too soon for his own good and that was just one of many times luck betrayed him."
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