Another week without fights taking place gives us another week to look at a fighter from the past and look at some of their most significant wins. As is always the case we only consider official wins, and their significance on the sport, and the fighter in question. Today we look at Thai legend Pone Kingpetch (28-7, 9), who's record belies his historical place in the sport as the first Thai world champion and one of the first real faces in boxing in Thailand. He wasn't the greatest fighter, don't get us wrong there, but is a legitimate legend of the sport, and someone who really deserves more attention than he gets.
Kingpetch's career ran from 1954 to 1966. His retirement was sadly short lived and he passed away in 1982, at the age of 47. Despite only fighting 35 times he really was a massive figure in the 1960's for boxing in Asia, and the Flyweight scene in general. He's a rare fighter who's had some huge wins, but his record is deceiving due to the number of losses.
Hitoshi Misako (September 14th 1957)
In January 1957 Pone Kingpetch neat Danny Kid to claim the previously vacant OPBF Flyweight title, whilst that was significant in some ways it wasn't really a win over an opponent with any value, in face Kid was 18-10-5 at the time and went on to retire with a 43-34-14 record. What is a significant win is his first defense, which saw him defeat Hitoshi Misako, a much more significant win than his title win. Misako had been a prior OPBF champion and was very much a respected regional level fighter with a 29-12-5 record at the time. Misako was a decent fighter, and later set up the Misako Gym, making this win a much, much bigger and better than Kingpetch's over Kid. Incidentally both wins were 12 round point wins in Thailand.
Pascual Perez I (April 16th 1960)
In April 1960 Kingpetch got his first world title fight, taking on Argentina's first ever world champion Pascaul Perez. At the time Perez was the world Flyweight champion and boasted a very impressive 54-1-1 (34) record, having had avenged his sole loss, to Sadao Yaoita, by KO. Kingpetch took a split decision over Perez to claim the win and become the first Thai world champion, with a win over a genuine of the sport and a man who would end up being inducted into the hall of fame in 1995. The bout, staged at the Lumpini Stadium, had over 30,000 people in attendance cheering on their man.
Pascual Perez II (September 22nd 1960)
Around 5 months after winning the Flyweight title Kingpetch would give Perez a chance to reclaim the title in a rematch. Whilst the first bout took place in Thailand this time we saw the two men clash on neutral soil, in Los Angeles and there was no need for the judges to be involved. The bout ended in round 8 when Kingpetch stopped the former champion in the 8th round to make a sensational mark on foreign soil. Sadly Kingpetch would never return for another US fight. Interestingly this was the first time Perez suffered a stoppage loss in his career, though he would be stopped in both of his final 2 bouts.
Fighting Harada II (January 12th 1963)
Having lost the Flyweight title to Japanese legend Fighting Harada in Tokyo in October 1962 Kingpetch got a chance to reclaim his title with a rematch against the Japanese fighter just 3 months later. This time Kingpetch managed to do enough to take a majority decision at home in Bangkok over Harada, who was struggling to make weight and would move up to Bantamweight just 2 months later to begin his legendary run at 118lbs. Whilst circumstances may devalue the win slightly it doesn't really alter the significance, which saw Kingpetch getting a second win over a future hall of famer and a win that saw him become a 2-time world champion.
Hiroyuki Ebihara II (January 23rd 1964)
Figfghting Harada wasn't the only legendary Japanese fighter that Kingpetch would split a 2-fight series with. The other was Harada's close friend Hiroyuki Ebihara. Ebihara had ended Kingpetch's second reign as the Flyweight champion in September 1963, stopping Kingpetch in the opening round, before the two men rematched in January 1964, in Thailand, and once again Kingpetch would take a decision win over a Japanese great. Sadly for Kingpetch this reign was a very short one and the Thai lost the belt just 3 months later in Italy to Salvatore Burruni, before winding down his career and retiring with his name firmly etched in Thai boxing history
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