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.
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