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.
In the 1980's the Korean boxing scene was well and truly alive. It had a host of big names and the sport was looking like it was going to be a major one in the country for years to come. Sadly the 1990's saw that hope end, with the sport pretty much getting the rug pulled from under in the country, and struggling through to where it is now.
One of the many Korean fighters to win world titles in the 1980's was Jum Hwan Choi (20-3, 8), who was a 2-weight world champion and one of the few fighter who managed to move down in weight late in their career to achieve success. He was never the clear #1 in a division, but he was certainly a notable figure at both Light Flyweight and Minimumweight and is someone who fans perhaps aren't too aware of.
Today we're going to look at the 5 most significant wins for... Jum Hwan Choi, encompassing his world title wins and another major fight for the often forgotten Korean.
Cho Woon Park (December 7th 1986)
In 1984 Choi came up short in an IBF Light Flyweight title bout against Dodie Boy Penalosa, losing a clear decision to the Filipino. That was his first notable bout, and a huge step up from the opposition that he had been facing earlier in his career. Thankfully for Choi he got his second shot just over 2 years later when he faced fellow Korean Cho Woon Park for the title that Penalosa had vacated. The bout was an ultra competitive one, with Choi doing enough to get a narrow 15 round decision win over his countryman to win the IBF title and claim his biggest win, by far, up to that point. Not only was this a huge win for Chou but it was pretty much the start of the end for Park, who went 3-3-1 afterwards and retired having never won a world title.
Tacy Macalos I (March 29th 1987)
After winning a world title the next toughest thing to do is to keep the title. Around 3 months after winning the belt Choi took on Filipino challenger Tacy Macalos, with Choi looking to make his first defense of the belt. Heading in to the bout Macalos was the Filipino champion and had been unbeaten since going 2-2-2 in his first 6 bouts. Although he hadn't proven himself as a world level fighter up to this point he was a legitimate contender and he showed that by pushing Choi all the way in a very competitive and close 15 round bout that resulted in Choi taking the split decision victory and his first defense.
The competitiveness of this bout left the door open to a rematch and we got that in 1988 when Macalos dethroned Choi, but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves!
Azadin Anhar (August 9th 1987)
Although Choi would twice world titles he really didn't do very well on his travels, and had almost all of his success at home. In saying that he did travel a few times during his career. In fact all 3 of his defeats came on the road. The only bout he won outside of South Korea came in August 1987 when he made his 3rd defense of the IBF Light Flyweight title. The talented Korean travelled to Indonesia for the bout and made light work of Azadin Anhar, who he stopped in 3 rounds. Anhar really wasn't a world class fighter. It appears his boxrec is probably incomplete, but he had done nothing to deserve a world title fight and this was very much an easy defense for the Korean. As his final defense, and his only win on foreign soil this is a significant win, but the competition was lacking.
Rolando Pascua (January 28th 1988)
Choi didn't score too many wins over internationally recognisable opponents, but in early 1988 he did manage to get a controversial decision win over the then 14-0 Rolando Pascua in a non-title bout. The bout saw Choi being dropped but battling back to get a split decision in Seoul. At the time Pascua was an unbeaten hopeful on the Asian scene, making his international debut, but less than 3 years later he scored one of the biggest upsets in boxing, as he stopped Humberto Gonzalez for the WBC Light Flyweight title. Whilst this victory was a controversial one, before Pascua was well known, it did age very well when Pascua shocked Gonzalez, who was then 30-0. It's easy the biggest win for Choi outside of his two world title wins, and is very much a win of note, especially on reflection more than 30 years on.
Napa Kiatwanchai (November 12th 1989)
After losing the IBF Light Flyweight title to Tacy Macalos, in their second bout, Choi dropped down in weigh to challenge the then unbeaten WBC Minimumweight champion Napa Kiatwanchai. The Thai had taken the title from Hiroki Ioka, and had defended it twice before travelling to Korea to take on Choi, who proved to be too good for the Thai southpaw. Choi took the lead early and broke down Kiatwanchai, who was gutsy and gave his all but was stopped in round 12. The gutsy Thai was dropped hard early in the 12th round and then stopped with Choi wailing away on him against the ropes as the Korean became a 2-weight world champion. This would actually turn out to be Choi's final professional win, not only one of his best but also his last.
Sadly for Choi his second reign was a short one as he lost the WBC Minimumweight title to Hideyuki Ohashi in his first defense just 3 months after winning it. He then retired from the sport.
Former Super Flyweight world champion Masamori Tokuyama (32-3-1, 8) is probably best known, at least internationally, for his political views rather than what he achieved in the ring. In the eyes of many he was the first and only North Korean world champion, and was a North Korean sympathiser, despite living in Japan. He was one of the Japanese fighters who reached out into a hostile political climate and managed to succeed, becoming a multi-time WBC champion.
Whilst we could talk in depth about Tokuyama, his political views and his controversies outside of the ring that's not what we are here for at the moment. Instead we're going to discuss the 5 most significant wins for... Masamori Tokuyama.
During his 36 fight career Tokuyama certainly scored some massive wins, and we're not going to fit all of his big wins into these 5 we're including here, but we feel we have picked the 5 with the most significance.
Hiroki Ioka (December 19th 1998)
We start with one that is significant, but perhaps less so for Tokuyama than for the man who lost, Hiroki Ioka. The talented Tokuyama had failed in his 3 biggest fights up to this point, with set backs against Manny Melchor and Nolito Cabato. Despite those set backs Tokuyama put it all together and stopped former 2-weight world champion Hiroki Ioka in 5 rounds at the end of 1998. The win certainly helped put Tokuyama on the boxing map, with a win over a former world champion, but also ended Ioka's career and the former champion would retire afterwards. Notably this was the only loss Ioka had in a non-world title bout.
Pone Saengmorakot (September 17th 1999)
Less than a year after beating Ioka we saw Tokuyama claim his first title, as he out-pointed once beaten Thai Pone Saengmorakot for the OPBF Super Flyweight title. Just 3 months prior to this bout Pone had challenged WBC world champion In Joo Cho and this was a chance for Tokuyama to prove he belonged in the world title mix. Although Tokuyama couldn't stop Pone, like Cho had, the win was still a major one for Tokuyama who took a huge step towards landing his first world title bout.
In Joo Cho I (August 27th 2000)
Tokuyama got his first world title fight in August 2000 when he travelled when he managed to lure In WBC Super Flyweight champion In Joo Cho over to Japan for the first bout between the two men. The champion was 18-0 (7) at the time and had racked up 5 defenses of the title, including one in Japan against Keiji Yamaguchi. Despite Cho's form he was unable to keep up with the speed and tempo of Tokuyama, who was too quick, too sharp and too smart for the defending champion. Tokuyama took a clear decision over Cho and was crowned the new WBC Super Flyweight champion. The win saw him become the first "North Korean" world champion, and put him on the map globally as a boxer. Notably he was boxing under the North Korean flag here, whilst Cho was under the South Korean flag, adding a real odd feel to the fight.
In Joo Cho II (May 20th 2001)
During his first reign as the WBC Super Flyweight champion Tokuyama scored a number of notable wins, including beating Gerry Penalosa twice, both controversial decisions and Katsushige Kawashima. For us however the most significant, not to be confused with the best, came in a rematch with Cho just 9 months after their first bout. This time Tokuyama had to travel to Cho's back yard, with the fight in Seoul. As with their first bout there was more to this than just two world class fighters, with Tokuyama fighting under a unified Korean flag. The bout was Tokuyama's international debut, in fact it was his only fight outside of Japan and ended with with him landing the punch of his career, a huge right hand, that knocked out Cho. The bout would end Cho's career whilst giving Tokuyama's a huge boost.
Despite his recognition as a North Korean Tokuyama's win here could be regarded as the second time a Japanese fighter managed to retain a world title on foreign soil, given he was born and raised in Japan and fought the rest of his career in Japan. If we give the win that recognition he was the first since Jiro Watanabe back in 1985.
Katsushige Kawashima III (July 18th 2005)
In 2004 Tokuyama's reign as the WBC champion came to an end, when he was stopped inside a round by Katsushige Kawashima, in what was the second bout between the two men. Around 13 months later they would go again in a rubber match and Tokuyama wouldn't have too many problems here as he took a clear and wide decision over the Ohashi gym fighter. Kawashima put up a solid effort but was too crude for the talented Tokuyama who used his feet and avoided getting caught, as he had in June 2004. This win would see Tokuyama becoming a 2-time world champion, and sadly he only fought once more after this win, defeating Jose Navarro and retiring as the WBC champion.
Honestly Tokuyama is such an interesting figure and we would fully under-stand fans suggesting we should have included his wins over Gerry Penalosa, who to the significance of the Penalosa name, and even Jose Navarro, due to Tokuyama then becoming only the second ever Japanese world champion to retire whilst still a champion. The truth is that there is some real debate with Tokuyama's wins, and his place in history is going to be a very interesting one to focus on in the future. He's certainly a talented boxer, a success in the ring and a captivating tale away from the sport.
Former WBA Super Flyweight champion Satoshi Iida (25-2-1, 11) isn't a name that many fight fans in the West will ever think of. His 28 fight career was fought entirely in Japan with 24 of his 28 bouts taking place in Nagoya. Despite his stay at home career he was a notable figure in the 1990's Japanese scene, and the big star of the Chubu region. His career spanned most of the 1990's, with his debut coming in March 1991 and his final bout taking place in December 1998 during which he featured in 6 world title bouts and two Japanese title bouts.
With not much being mentioned in the west about Iida we felt it worth including him in this weekly series, and look at the 5 most significant wins for... Satoshi Iida, during what was a fairly interest and often under-rated career.
Hisashi Tokushima (August 14th 1993)
Although Iida had come to the attention of Japanese fans in February 1992, when he beat Jiro Matsushima in the all Japan Rookie of the Year, it was his win 18 months later that really got the ball rolling. In it he took on former world title challenger Hisashi Tokushima and took a decision over the experienced, and still world ranked, Tokushima. The bout was a massive step up in class for Iida, only his second completed 10 rounder and a massive move forward with things. Prior to this bout he had not really been tested too much, but now he was being asked questions and answering them in impressive fashion. This was the bout that helped to make it clear he was ready for title action.
Although the scores aren't at the time of writing, on boxrec they were 98-93, twice, and 99-93 all in favour of Iida.
Rolando Bohol (November 27th 1993)
Just 3 months after beating Tokushima fans in Nagoya saw Iida score another big win, defeating former IBF Flyweight champion Rolando Bohol, again with a 10 round decision. Whilst Bohol was a some what faded fighter by this point, having lost 3 of his last 4, he was still a talented fighter and his losses hadn't come at a bad level either, with one coming to Gerry Penalosa and another to Daorung Chuwatana. In the end Iida was too good, taking a clear decision over Bohol as he again made his case for bigger and better fights. In his very next bout he took the Japanese Super Flyweight title, stopping former rival Jiro Matsushima in 8 rounds to take the title.
Once again the scores aren't on boxrec but Japanese sources have informed us the judges turned in cards of 99-92, twice, and 99-93, for Iida over Bohol making it very clear that there was no doubting the result.
Yokthai Sithoar II (December 23rd 1997)
In 1996 Iida got his first world title fight, losing to Alimi Goitia ina bout for the WBA Super Flyweight. The following year he got his second shot, fighting to a draw with Yokthai Sithoar, again for the WBA Super Flyweight title. His third shot also came against Yokthai but this time Iida would do enough to take a thin decision win and the WBA belt. The bout was close, and tough, just like their first one. It wasn't the most action packed, or the most exciting, but it was very competitive with Iida doing enough to take the early rounds, scoring a knockdown in the opening round, and survive some worrying moments late on. It was a mature performance from the Japanese fighter, even if it wasn't the most exciting.
Hiroki Ioka (April 29th 1998)
Iida's first defense came against fellow Japanese fighter Hiroki Ioka, who was looking to become the first ever 3-weight world champion from Japan. Ioka had won titles at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight and was hoping to claim the WBA Super Flyweight title toe put his name in the history books. To his credit Ioka came close, incredibly close, but Iida denied Ioka by taking a majority decision in what was a very compelling bout. Ioka had always struggled with southpaws but put on a solid performance here in what would be his last hurrah, though it wasn't good enough to defeat Iida. The bout, whilst mostly technical, was fairly bloody bout, as Iida suffered a cut early on. Whilst not a classic, by any stretch, this is a surprisingly good bout and well worthy of a watch. I
Having denied Ioka his place in history, albeit somewhat controversially, this win is certainly a significant one and had Ioka got the win things would have been different in Japanese boxing history, and in regards to Ioka's standing in the sport all these years on.
Julio Gamboa (July 26th 1998)
Having narrowly squeaked past Ioka in April we saw Iida back out in July when he recorded his second defense, taking on Julio Gamboa. Although Gamboa's final career tally of 28-14-2 (17) may not look good he was a very solid fighter at the turn of the millennium and had won his last 8 to earn a shot at Iida. This was another hard fought bout, another close win for Iida, who by now really had proven that whilst he was a world champion wasn't really too much better, if at all better, than the contenders he was facing. As with the Ioka bout this was compelling, and interesting, not the most exciting but certainly not a bad bout and saw both men fight on a very even keel, with neither man managing to really get their hard too far in front of the other. Iida would lose the title to Jesus Rojas just 5 months after this win, ending his notable, but rather disappointing reign.
The win over Gamboa managed to age well in the immediate future. Gamboa would give Jorge Eliecer Julio a close bout in a contest for the WBO Bantamweight title, and fight to a draw in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout. Sadly though he failed to get over the hump and his career became that of a gate keeper in later years.
One of the few Minimumweight fighters from recent years who stood out due to their name was Oleydong Sithsamerchai (69-2-1, 29), who's name in English sounds just a touch rude. A lot of fans in the late 00's will have seen his name in the boxing magazines of the time but probably never actually saw him.
Whilst Oleydong's name certainly got him some attention with Western fans so did his unbeaten record, and by September 2010 he was 34-0. He had one of the longest active unbeaten records in the sport at the time and was the WBC Minmumweight champion. He would later go on to lose the WBC title to the then 6-0 Kazuto Ioka, in Japan, and move through the weights, settling again at Super Flyweight where he fought until 2018.
With 72 bouts to his name Oleydong was certainly a highly experienced fighter, but what about the quality of his opponents? Well that's what we answer here as we look at the 5 most significant wins for... Oleydong Sithsamerchai
Omar Soto (April 6th 2007)
Having run his record out to 22-0 (8) Oleydong would get a WBC world title title eliminator in 2007, when he took on fellow unbeaten Omar Soto. Soto, then 11-0-1 (5), was a Puerto Rican fighter who had fought in the US and Puerto Rico and was now travelling to Thailand for the most important bout. The bout was a close one, and ended with Oleydong taking a narrow split decision for the win which secured him a world title fight down the line. It was his 23rd professional win but the first one that saw him being tested. He was lucky to get the win, with Franz Marti's 115-114 being vital to the win, but it was the one that put him in line for the WBC title.
Den Junlaphan (November 29th 2007)
Talking about the WBC title, Oleydong got his shot at the title 7 months after winning the eliminator, as he took on the then 18-1 Den Junlaphan. The talented Junlaphan was a Japanese based Thai who was enjoying his second reign as the WBC champion, and had only lost once, due to a shoulder injury. Junlaphan put up a great effort, despite the the out door heat and conditions of Bangkok, but in the end Oleydong did enough to take home the close decision and the WBC title. He didn't put in the most exciting performance here, but it was enough to take home the win, boxing on the back foot and using his speed and youth to over-come the champion.
Pornsawan Porpramook I (November 27th 2008)
After winning the title in late 2007 it would take a while until we saw Oleydong take on a notable opponent. In that time he would two stay busy bouts, both against John Cut Siregar, and a title defense against Junishi Ebisuoka. Things changed when he stepped up and defended his title against fellow Thai Pornsawan Porpramook in the first of two bouts between the two men. The talented champion showed his quality as he took a clear decision over Pornsawan, who had given Donnie Neites a tough bout just over a year earlier. This was a win that helped legitimatise Oleydong's reign and moved him to 29-0. Given that Pornsawan would later win the WBA title, less than 3 years later, this was a win that wasn't just big at the time, but also aged well.
Muhammad Rachman (May 29th 2009)
Oleydong's third world title defense saw him take on Indonesian fighter Muhammad Rachman. Rachman was a former IBF Minmumweight champion and although viewed as being past his best when Oleydong took a a very competitive decision over him till had more to offer. The bout between the two men saw Oleydong being narrowly in the lead when the bout was stopped in round 11, giving Oleydong the technical decision. The bout had been very hotly contested, but a nasty headclash in the 11th round saw us going quickly to the scorecards, which all favoured the Thai.
As with Oleydong's win over Pornsawan this one aged rather well, with Rachman later going on to win the WBA title, to become a 2-time champion.
Juan Palacios (November 27th 2009)
Although he had a lengthy reign with the WBC title Oleydong rarely seemed to clearly beat his toughest competition. That was shown again when he took on solid punching Nicaraguan Juan Palacios. "El Exterminator" had gone unbeaten since a controversial loss in Mexico to Jose Antonio Aguirre, in 2002, and had claimed the WBC "interim" title in 2008, when he had stopped Omar Soto. Coming in to this Palacios had stopped his previous 5 opponents and had real momentum of his own. The bout saw Palacious pressing and pressuring through out as Oleydong struggled to cope with the tough and rough style of the challenger. Palacios, the more physically imposing man, kept coming forward, round after round, with impressive stamina and will to win. At the end of 12 rounds it was Oleydong who had his arms raised thanks to a controversial majority decision.
The win saw Oleydong move to 33-0, claim one of his best wins and pretty much finished off Palacios as a top class fighter. The Nicaraguan would be out of the ring for almost a year and would later go 3-7-2, with his career fading away. He did actually fight earlier this year, but was very much a shell of the fighter he had been back in 2009.
Around 15 months after the win over Palacios we would see Oleydong's reign come to an end at the hands of Kazuto Ioka, who would go on to become a real boxing star. As for Oleydong his career held promise at Super Flyweight but he struggled in landing meaningful bouts at 115lbs and would never get a chance to become a 2-time world champion.
Filipino fighter Erbito Salavarria (40-11-3, 11) is one of the most forgotten world champions and is certainly a fighter who deserves a lot more attention than he gets. His career ran from 1963 to 1978 and during that he fought 54 times with 7 world title bouts and a string of high profile wins. He was also a man was famously stripped of a world title in some very, very peculiar and suspicious circumstances.
Salavarria was a genuine world class Flyweight in one of the division's most exciting periods. In the early 1970's he faced a genuine who's who and the only really big name fighter from the division he missed out from that sort of time was Masao Oba, who sadly passed away in 1973. His legacy took a hit with the way he lost the WBC Flyweight title in 1971, though he would later claim the WBA title in 1975. By then however he wasn't the fighter he had once and he would lose 3 of his final 4 career bouts.
Of course we're not here to talk about anyone's legacy here however and instead we're here to look at the 5 most significant wins for... Erbito Salavarria
Tsuyoshi Nakamura II (October 18th 1969)
In the 1960's Tsuyoshi Nakamura pretty much dominated the OPBF title scene. He won the title in 1963, beating Chartchai Chionoi, and made 10 defenses of the belt including wins against the likes of Ric Magramo, Al Diaz, Erbito Salavarria and Bernabe Villacampo. In 1969, in their second meeting, Salavarria got revenge, stopping the Nakamura in 12 rounds to claim the OPBF title, end Nakamura's long reign and essentially help push Nakamura into retirement. The bout was the only time Nakamura would be stopped during his 74 fight career and would net Salavarria his first international title, instantly putting him in the mix for a world title fight. It also saw him avenge one of his 5 losses at the time.
Whilst not a big win internationally this was a huge win for Salavarria at the time and got him well in the running for a world title fight.
Berkrerk Chartvanchai (July 25th 1970)
Just 9 months after claiming the OPBF title Salavarria faced off with the then WBA Flyweight world champion Berkrerk Chartvanchai, in a non-title bout. The talented Chartvanchai was unbeaten and had won the WBA title 3 months earlier, when he beat Bernabe Villacampo for the WBA title. Salavarria managed to bring the champion over to the Philippines for a bout above the Flyweight limit and took a clear decision over the Thai, in a 10 rounder. The bout really did push Salavarria to a bigger fight and proved he belong not just at Oriental level but world level.
Chartchai Chionoi (December 7th 1970)
Salavarria would get his first world title shot less than 5 months after beating Berkrerk Chartvanchai, as he travelled to Thailand and took on WBC Flyweight champion Chartchai Chionoi. On paper this was another step up for the talented Filipino, but he made it look easy as he destroyed Chionoi in 2 rounds, dropping him multiple times to rip the WBC title from the Thai. Chionoi had held the belt since March, when he had won a rubber match with Efren Torres and his reign ended in his first defense.
Susumu Hanagata I (April 30th 1971)
Unfortunately for Salavarria his reign was a short one, though it ended in highly dubious fashion. Prior to losing the belt however he had defeated Susumu Hanagata in a title defnense, less than 5 months after winning the title. The talented Salavarria left no doubt on the night, taking a very clear win over the Japanese fighter, who would play a major role in Salavarria's career. After 15 rounds here there was no debating the winner with Hanagata suffering his 10th career defeat, in his 49th professional bout.
In November 1971 Salavarria was stripped of the WBC title following a bout with Betulio Gonzalez. The bout seemed like a set up to deprive Salavarria and after the bout referee Mills Lane stated he was never going back to Venezuela. He was stripped for testing positive for amphetamines, a full month after the bout took place. From our research this appears to be the first time a world title had been stripped from a champion on the basis of a drug test
Susumu Hanagata II (April 1st 1975)
Almost 4 yeas after their first clash Salavarria and Hanagata would clash for the second time. This time Hanagata was the reigning WBA Flyweight champion and Salavarria was looking to become a 2-time champion. Unlike their first bout, which took place in the Philippines, this one was in Japan and Hanagata had the crowd behind him. Since their first bout the Japanese had gone 10-3, with a notable win in October 1974 over Chartchai Chionoi to claim the title. It seemed like the Japanese fighter had the advantages, but he couldn't over-come the Filipino who took a split decision over the local favourite.
These two would rematch again later in the year, with Salavarria winning again, but his reign ended in 1976 when he was stopped by Alfonso Lopez. He would then remain out of the ring for over 2 years before losing in an ill fated comeback against Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh in December 1978.
When we talk about Thai boxing legends there are a number of worthy names to talk about from through the years. Today we talk about one of those names as we look at one of the early legends of the Thai boxing, and one of the most notable Thai world champions from the 1960's and 70's, as we return for the latest in the "The 5 most significant wins for..." series.
The Thai in question here is Chartchai Chionoi (61-18-3, 36) who was a mainstay on the Flyweight world title scene for around a decade and genuinely fought a who's who of who during his 82 fight career. Whilst he did suffer some losses that was really no surprised given the quality of opponents he was up against. That included not only top world champions of his era but also leading contenders, like Mitsunori Seki, Fritz Chervet and Bernardo Caraballo.
For those that follow the history of the sport Chionoi is one of those really interesting fighters, that deserves a lot more attention. Whilst this article isn't going to go into a deep dive of his complete career, he really is one of the forgotten legends, and when we look at his 5 most significant wins you'll be able to see just how good he was.
Salvatore Burruni (February 8th 1966)
As we entered 1966 Chartchai Chionoi was a rising hopeful. He had reigned as the OPBF champion, but lost in his first defense, and was still battling to get his name out there. Just a few months into the year he scored a then career best win over Italian Salvatore Burrini, to put his name well and truly in the mix for a world title fight. Burruni had been a former WBA and WBC champion, and although he wasn't a champion at this point in time he hadn't lost the belts inside the ring, being stripped for not facing mandatory challengers. Chionoi defeated the Italian with a clear decision win, and immediately moved towards a world title fight. Notably this bout took place above the Flyweight limit, but was still a clear example of what Chionoi could do.
Walter McGowan I (December 30th 1966)
Around 10 months after Chionoi beat Burruni he would get a shot at the then lineal world champion Walter McGowan. The talented Scottish champion had not only beaten Burruni himself, but had done so at Flyweight to claim the lineal title. As a result McGowan was recognised by the EBU, BBBofC and The Ring as the champion, despite having not having an ABC title at the time. The Thai would be dropped in round 2, but battle back hard and force a stoppage in round 9 of a bloodied and battered McGowan. The tough Scot ended up receiving stitches after the bout to close up his nose, which had been a total mess when the bout was stopped.
Walter McGowan II (September 19th 1967)
Around 9 months after Chionoi beat McGowan in Thailand the two men would re-run the fight in England. Like the first bout Chionoi would end up stopping McGowan on cuts, with the Scottish fighter ended up a bloody mess due to a cut over his right eye. McGowan had looked good until being cut over the eye in round 5. That essentially forced his hand and made him step up his output. Although McGowan had success he also had a target for Chionoi to go after, and he did in round 7 when the cut forced the referee to step in.
Bernabe Villacampo (November 10th 1968)
Although Chionoi had been recognised in some quarters as the Linear champion since his first win over Walter McGowan he hadn't actually held a physical ABC title. That changed in 1968 when he beat Bernabe Villacampo to claim the WBC Flyweight title. The talented Thai would take a decision over the Filipino to claim the WBC crown and prove his status as one of the very best in the world. The win, a 15 round decision, meant the WBC could no longer look the other way. Interestingly less than a year later Villacampo himself would claim the WBA title, beating Hiroyuki Ebihara in Osaka, adding further significance and meaning to Chionoi's victory, and the Linear title that he held coming out of his win over Villacampo.
Efren Torres III (March 20th 1970)
Prior to beating Villacampo in late 1968 Chionoi had beaten Efren Torres. Torres would get revenge straight after Chionoi's win over Villacampo, taking the WBC title from the Thai just 3 months after he won it. In 1970 the two men would have a rubber match, with Chionoi taking the win and reclaiming the WBC Flyweight title, to end their in ring rivalry. Interestingly this was the only one of their 3 bouts that didn't end in a TKO, with Chionoi taking a 15 round decision over his Mexican foe.
Sadly for Chionoi his reign was a short one, again, and lasted less than 9 months, ending when he was stopped in 2 rounds by Filipino Erbito Salavarria. Following the win over Torres he would go 10-5-1 (3) but did reclaim the WBA title in 1973, beating Fritz Chervet, and defended it twice before losing it to Susumu Hanagata in 1974 and retiring soon afterwards.
Strangely picking 5 wins for Chionoi was harder than it was for most, as he around 7 that could genuinely make this list, whilst sometimes we have fighters who really do only have 5 big wins. Chionoi's record might not be the best but it's also very, very easy to over-look how good he was, how tough he was and how good some of his wins were.
When we talk about the biggest stars in Japanese boxing history few will rival Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (20-7-1, 14). The Osakan fighter was an enigma at the best of times. He had a unique style, with his hands lower than most, he put on exciting fights. got moved quickly through the ranks and was very much a unique fighter in Japanese history.
Although incredibly talented Tatsuyoshi's record doesn't show how good he really was, and in reality he's a hard man to really rate. At his best he was very good and a legitimate 2-time world champion though his career was plagued with injuries and it's fair to say his style limited his longevity, though helped make him a star. He could have fought with a more "safe" style but wouldn't be remembered in the way he is today. Thanks to his style and popularity he helped inspire many of the Japanese that followed him, and many recent Japanese fighters point to Tatsuyoshi as to why they took up the sport.
Of course these weekly articles aren't to talk about the legacy or impact a fighter has in general, but instead their 5 most significant wins. So with that in mind lets look at the 5 most significant wins for... Joichiro Tatsuyoshi
Greg Richardson (September 19th 1991)
In just his 8th professional bout Tatsuyoshi took on WBC Bantamweight champion Greg Richardson. Richardson had won the title in February 1991, when he beat Raul Perez, and had defended the title once, against Victor Rabanales, prior to this bout. Despite having 4 losses to his name Richardson was a world class fighter who had rebuilt well from a 5-2 (2) start to his professional career and had been unbeaten since a split decision loss to the then unbeaten Jesse Benavides almost 4 years earlier. Tatsuyoshi out boxed Richardson early on, and was well up on the scorecards by the time Richardson returned in his corner. With the win the young Japanese star had gone from popular contender to world champion in just 2 years! This win set an officially recognised Japanese speed record for the fewest fights to win a world title.
Victor Rabanales II (July 22nd 1993)
Sadly after winning the WBC Bantamweight title Tatsuyoshi would be forced out of the ring due to an issue with his eyes. That meant we didn't see him in action for a year and as a result Victor Rabanales clashed with Jang Kyun Oh for the "interim" title. After winning the interim title Rabanales would fight Tatsuyoshi and defeat the Japanese fighter, giving him his first loss in 1992. The two men would clash again in 1993 and this time Tatsuyoshi would come out on top, taking a split decision over Rabanales, to claim the WBC "interim" Bantamweight title, and avenge his first defeat.
This win for Tatsuyoshi wasn't just him getting revenge over the man who had beat him, but lead to Tatsuyoshi getting a bout with fellow Japanese fighter Yasuei Yakushiji. That bout would be huge in Japan, and would be one of the highest profile bouts of the decade for Japanese fans.
Sirimongkol Singwancha (November 22nd 1997)
By November 1997 Tatsuyoshi's career looked about done. He was 14-4-1 (11) and was looking like a man who's style had caught up with him, with repeated injuries. He had suffered two losses to Daniel Zaragoza and seemed very much like a fighter who peaked too soon and faded early. He then shocked the boxing world by stopping the then 16-0 (6) Thai fighter Sirimongkol Singwancha. Singwancha, the then WBC Bantamweight champion, had won the WBC "interim" Bantamweight title in 1996 and had then become the regular champion, and made defenses including one over Victor Rabanales. He had all the momentum behind him, and that showed early on as he out boxed Tatsuyoshi. In round 4 Tatsuyoshi managed to make the bout into a war, and in round 7 broke down the champion, stopping him in an amazing bout to become a 2-time world champion. This win saved Tatsuyoshi's career and lead to arguably another of his biggest wins.
Paulie Ayala (August 23rd 1998)
In his second reign as the WBC Bantamweight champion Tatsuyoshi made 2 successful defenses, before running into Veeraphol Sahaprom. The second of those saw him over-come the then 25-0 Paulie Ayala. The bout saw Tatsuysohi taking a technical decision against the American to retain the title and have a rare win that aged well. After this bout Ayala would quickly bounce back, being crowned the Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year in 1999, the year he won the WBA Bantamweight title with a win over Johnny Tapia. This was a big win for Tatsuyoshi, but sadly lead the end of his second reign as he suffered back to back losses to Veeraphol Sahaprom and lead to what seemed like the end of his career...after all he did announce he was retiring.
Parakorn Charoendee (October 26th 2008)
After Tatsuyoshi suffered back to back losses to Sahaprom he was out if the ring for 3 years. It seemed likt that was it, and that he was done. Then he got bit by the boxing bug and returned in 2002, winning 2 bouts. The second of those bouts saw him suffer an injury to his leg that seemed to retire him. That was until 2008 when he returned, in Thailand, and beat little known Thai Parakorn Charoendee, in 2 rounds. The win over Charoendee was a nothing win in all reality, however it was a significant one. It made the then 38 year old Tatsuyoshi continue his career. It made him think there was still something in his legs, and even with Osaka Teiken and the Japan Boxing Commission both essentially asking him to retire he continued on. Without this win he would have almost certainly been retired.
Sadly Tatsuyoshi would fight again after this win, and be stopped by Thai teenager Sakai Jockygym, in 7 rounds. This was to be Tatsuyoshi's final bout.
This story doesn't end well and now a days Tatsuyoshi is slurring is words and showing signs of being punch drunk.
Sadly there's an even darker end to all this. The man who beat Tatsuyoshi in his final bout, Sakai Jockygym, would sadly pass away before the year was over. The 19 year old would travel to Japan 7 months after beating Tatsuyoshi to face Kazuyoshi Niki. He took punishment through out that bout and passed away from injuries sustained in that loss.
When we talk about the most memorable Japanese boxers in the 1990's there a number of notable names that jump to mind, such as Joichiro Tatsuyoshi and Hiroshi Kawashima. Another name belongs in that list was the controversial, but always entertaining, Katsuya Onizuka (24-1, 17). Onizuka's career was a relatively short one, starting in 1988 and essentially ending in 1994, but "Spanky K" was a notable figure on the Japanese domestic scene.
With some great fights under his belt, and some pretty notable achievements, we decided to highlight some parts of Onizuka's career as we bring you "The 5 most significant wins for...Katusya Onizuka".
As is always the case here, we include the 5 wins we feel are the most significant in Onizuka's career. That doesn't always mean the best or the most exciting, but the ones that have most significance and meaning in regards to his career.
Yutaka Sakamoto (February 27th 1989)
The first bout we want to shine a light in here is a rather obscure one from 1989, but a very significant one for Katsuya Onizuka. That's his All-Japan Rookie of the Year win in 1989, which saw him stopping Yutaka Sakamoto in 2 rounds in the final. The bout saw Onizuka not only claim the Rookie of the Year award but also the Skills Award, and put himself on the boxing map. This is really a win that helped kick start his rise through the domestic ranks and put him on course to step up his competition, which he did the following year. Rookie of the Year is important in Japanese boxing, and as a result this is an important and significant win.
Tatsuya Sugi (May 22nd 1990)
Another early career win of Onizuka's that's worth of a mention here was his 1990 win over the then OPBF Super Flyweight champion Tatsuya Sugi was the then OPBF champion. Whilst Sugi's title wasn't on the line here the bout was a clear step up for Onizuka, who would stop Sugi in the 7th round and prove he belonged on that title level. The loss came 5 months after Sugi's title win, against Rolando Bohol, and 11 months after Sugi had fought for the Japanese Super Flyweight title, losing on cuts to Shunichi Nakajima. With the win Onizuka made a statement and took huge strides towards his first title bout, which came 5 months later.
Shunichi Nakajima (October 15th 1990)
Onizuka claimed his first title in his bout immediately following his win over Sugi, when he won the Japanese Super Flyweight title. On paper it might not sound like a significant win, but that's really not under-standing the whole situation. The man he beat for the title was Shunichi Nakajima, the man who had recorded 6 defenses of the title, a record number of defenses that still stands for the belt today, and had recently challenged for the WBA world title, losing in 8 rounds to Khaosai Galaxy. With the win over Nakajima, which came courtesy of a 10th round TKO, it put Onizuka on route to a world title fight. He would defend his national title 3 times before getting a shot, himself at the WBA world title.
Thanomsak Sithbaobay I (April 10th 1992)
When Khaosai Galaxy vacated the WBA Super Flyweight title Onizuka got a shot at the vacant title, but had to take on the criminally under-rated Thanomsak Sithbaobay. When training in Thailand, earlier in his career, Onizuka had been impressed by the Thai. The Thai went on to look great, and seemed to do more than enough to earn the decision, but the score-cards all favoured Onizuka, who got the first of many questionable decisions in his favour. The win, whilst badly tainted by the officiating, was a hugely important one for Onizuka, and began his world title reign, which would continue until he lost the belt in his final career bout.
Armando Castro (December 11th 1992)
It's fair to say that Onizuka's world title reign was a frustrating one. He had won the title in controversial fashion, against Thanomsak, and had scored some close and often controversial wins. It's interesting to note however that Onizuka's second defense, against Mexican veteran Armando Castro, is one of the most notable. This was Onizuka at his very best, dominating a talented and experienced contender, who had actually been Khaosai Galaxy's last challenger. Whils Castro was no world beater he remained a relevant fighter until 1996. After facing Onizuka the Mexican would later go on to challenger for the WBO Bantamweight title, against Alfred Kotey and even face the likes of Erik Morales and Naseem Hamed.
Whilst Onizuka's later defenses were all controversial this was the bout that proved his was a top level fighter, at least for a time in 1992. Sadly he then scraped past against Jae Shin Lim, Thanomsak Sithbaobay and Seung Koo Lee, before losing the belt in 1994 to Hyung Chul Lee.
Now a days we're set for the most exciting time in Uzbek professional boxing with a host of top Uzbek amateurs turning professional, and looking like they are set to be fast tracked in a really impressive and exciting fashion. Historically however the country hasn't had many notable professionals. Prior to the current wave it was really hard to make a list of notable Uzbeks, but one name that would have made that list is former Heavyweight Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1, 21).
Chagaev, dubbed the "White Tyson", was an amateur standout, twice winning the World Amateur Championships, though he had one of those stripped, before becoming a professional world champion. To date he's the only Asian fighter to have won a Heavyweight world title and despite his career faltering at times he did manage several major wins during his 38 fight professional career.
Although we could talk about Chagave's incredibly interesting amateur career we're not going to do that and instead we will focus on his days as a professional as we bring you the 5 most significant wins for... Ruslan Chagaev
Volodymyr Vyrchys (March 11th 2006)
Fighting a close friend is never easy but that's exactly what Chagaev did in March 2006 when he took on good friend Volodymyr Vyrchys, in a bout between unbeaten fighters. The bout was pretty much a world title eliminator, with both men being world ranked, but there was more surrounding the bout than their friendship and potential title fight. Chagaev's mother was ill at the time, Chagaev has reportedly not slept the night before, and yet dug incredibly deep in what was clearly an emotional situation and did enough to take a close decision over Vyrchys. The win saw Chagaev move to 20-0-1 (16) and was a real gut check for the German based Uzbek hopeful who took a massive step towards a potential world title fight.
John Ruiz (November 18th 2006)
Around 8 months after beating Vyrchys we saw Chagaev take on former 2-time WBA world champion John Ruiz. Ruiz wasn't a great fighter, by any stretch, but was an effective one. He knew how to win, and regularly beat better fighters by making things ugly, and spoiling fights whilst fighting to his own strengths. Chagaev managed to take a split decision over Ruiz, in what was a WBA Heavyweight world title eliminator. This isn't a particularly exciting fight, very few Ruiz fights could be described as "exciting", but was a major win for Chagaev who moved within touching distance of a world title. It was proof he could fight against some of the best in the world, and could even beat a man who made life incredibly difficult for top fighters.
Nikolay Valuev (April 14th 2007)
The win over Ruiz had seen Chagaev secure a bout with WBA Heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev. At this point Valuev was 46-0 and edging towards Rocky Marciano's legendary 49-0 record. Although Valuev, like Ruiz, was nothing special in regards to his fighting ability, he was another fighter who had a style that worked for him, and he also had some physical advantages. In fact Valuev was a 7', 320lb behemoth of a man. He was almost a foot taller than Chagaev and over 90lbs heavier than the Uzbek. Despite being dwarfed by Valuev we saw Chagaev defeat the "Beast from the East" to claim the WBA title, and create his own little bit of history. This was, at the time, the most significant win by any Uzbek in the professional ranks, by some margin.
Carl Davis Drummond (February 7th 2009)
After beating Valuev for the WBA title Chagaev's career went a bit awry. He beat Matt Skelton before suffering an out of the ring injury in 2008. This lead to the WBA instilling Chagaev as the champion in recess whilst he recovered, whilst Valuev recaptured the WBA title. When he returned to the ring after 13 months out Chagaev fought Costa Rican Carl Davis Drummond. The bout was a mess, and was stopped after 6 rounds due to a cut suffered by Chagaev, who won the technical decision. The bout really wasn't memorable or all that exciting, but it was significant. Not only was it Chagaev's first bout after a serious injury, but it also lead to a very messy situation with the WBA.
Due to the win over Drummond Chagaev was ruled to be a "co-Champion" along with Valuev, and the two men were supposed to fight later in 2009. That bout was planned for May but after Chagaev was found to have Hepatitis-B antigens the bout was scrapped. Due to that bout being cancelled and David Haye pulling out of a bout with Wladimir Klitschko we would end up seeing Chagaev and Klitschko facing off in a bout that essentially left us with a clear #1 in the division. Essentially this began a Heavyweight line that many still regard as being in existence today, more than a decade on.
Fres Oquendo (July 6th 2014)
Talking about something that's still on-going Chagaev would defeat American Fres Oquendo in 2014 to become a 2-time WBA Heavyweight champion. The result was regarded as massively controversial, and things weren't helped when Oquendo would later fail a drug test, according to RUSADA. The bout was another rather messy one, and if we're being honest it seemed like Chagaev got a home decision, with the fight then based in Russia. Despite the messiness of the result it's become messier since.
Currently Oquendo is in the WBA rankings due to a legally mandated world title fight, that he's been owed since this bout. But he's yet to get. In fact he's not fought since this bout, more than 6 years ago, he's never had his legally ordered world title fight but he was still in the world rankings at the time of writing, in May 2020.
Yup this win for Chagaev has lead to a man being world ranked, without fighting, for around 6 years.* Boy did this win for Chagaev really mess things up for Oquendo, and the WBA, who still technically owe Oquendo his shot...despite the fact he is now 47!
*Please note - Oquendo may have been dropped from the rankings by the time this is published, if so he was still there as of the WBA rankings for March 2020!
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