One of the few Japanese fighters to make a real mark on the US scene in recent years has been Nobuhiro Ishida (27-11-2, 11). The Japanese Light Middleweight, come Heavyweight, had a really career when we look back on it. He made his debut in his mid 20's, moved through the weights late on and later became a gym owner. During his 40 fight career he scored a number of notable wins. With that in mind we'll take a look at the 5 most significant wins for... Nobuhiro Ishida.
Kook Yul Song (March 1st 2001)
We start this by going all the way back to 2001, for what was Ishida's 6th professional bout. The bout saw Ishida taking on Korean fighter Kook Yul Song, the then OPBF Light Middleweight champion. Ishida was 5-0 (2) at this point whilst Song was 21-3-2 (16), and had held the OPBF title since 1997. The bout was close, well contested, and resulted in Ishida taking an 11th round Technical Decision to win the title, his first title. The bout gave Ishida's a very early shot in the arm, though his reign was a short one, losing 2 months later to Seiji Takechi.
Yuki Nonaka (December 22nd 2004)
Following his OPBF title win Ishida struggled for momentum. He had gone 5-5-1 following his title win, seeing his record fall to 11-5-1 (4). His career looked like it was going nowhere when he faced Yuki Nonaka. The bout saw Ishida take a 10 round decision over Nonaka and begin a great stretch of his career, which saw him go unbeaten for almost 6 years. The win may not be one of the biggest or best of Ishida's career, but was significant in reviving his career, and one that, on reflection, was massively significant and has aged really well. Over the years that follow Nonaka would become a major force on the Japanese and Oriental scene. This win is one that looks a lot better on reflection than pretty much any other win on Ishida's record.
Marco Antonio Avendano II (August 30th 2009)
Whilst Ishida failed to win a proper world title he did a WBA "interim" title in 2009 when he beat Venezuelan fighter Marco Antonio Avendano in their second bout. The two had fought in September 2008, with Ishida taking a close win, in what was an eliminator for the WBA title. Rather than getting a shot at the actual title however Ishida had to wait, almost a year, to get a shot at the interim title, against Avendano. In their second bout Ishida took a clear decision over Avendano to take the interim title, which would later open the door to him fighting in Mexico, where he lost the belt to Rigoberto Alvarez.
James Kirkland (April 9th 2011)
Of course the biggest win in Ishida's career was a non-title bout in the US, a win that saw him shaking the boxing world, and ending the rise of the then unbeaten James Kirkland. Ishida, then aged 35, was brought to Nevada to lose to the then 27-0 (24) Kirkland. No one seemed to tell Ishida he was there to lose, and instead of becoming the next Kirkland victim the Japanese veteran, fighting for the 31st time, stopped Kirkland. Inside a round. This was Ishida's first win outside of Japan, his first TKO1 victory, and came in the biggest fight of his career, to date. The win was so big it helped Ishida land a trio of big fights on the back of it, with bouts against Paul Wiilliams, Dmitry Pirog and Gennady Golovkin following this win. A true, career defining, victory!
Kotatsu Takehara (December 27th 2014)
In the final part of his career Ishida put on weight, a lot of weight, and moved from Middleweight to Heavyweight in the pursuit of the Japanese Heavyweight title, held by Kyotaro Fujimoto. He secured a shot at the title by defeating veteran Kotatsu Takehara at the end of 2014, proving to the JBC that he was a capable Heavyweight, and deserved a title fight, something they denied him 8 months earlier. Sadly for Ishida his desire to claim the title ended in naught, when he lost in April 2015 to Fujimoto in a title bout, but this win gave the end of Ishida's career a real purpose.
Whilst some fighters are best known for their achievements, their titles, their wins and what they do in the ring, others are better known for their performances, win or lose. Today we look at one of those fighters who made great value TV despite losing most of their biggest fighters. He was a man who made fans tune in knowing they were going to get something exciting, and knew that he would give his all. No matter what.
That man is Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-5-2, 24), who gave us some of the most exciting fights of the last decade. Whilst he lost a number of his most notable bouts he did score plenty of good, and often over-looked wins as well. Here we take a look at the 5 most significant wins for... Yoshihiro Kamegai.
As is always the case in this series we look at the bouts in chronological order and try to explain why the bout was significant. This doesn't mean they are their best wins, or their most impressive, but the ones of most significance.
Yosukezan Onodera (April 12th 2010)
In the Spring of 2010 Kamegai got his first title bout, taking on Japanese Light Welterweight champion Yosukezan Onodera. At the time Onodera was 20-1-1, he had defended the belt twice and had held it for just over a year, since ending the lengthy reign of Norio Kimura. Although no beater Onodera was regarded very well on the Japanese domestic scene but was dropped multiple times by Kamegai, who stopped him in 9 rounds to become the Japanese national champion.
Jose Alfaro (October 10th 2010)
Just over 6 months after his title win Kamegai took on former world champion Jose Alfaro. Alfaro had been a short lived WBA Lightweight champion, losing the title in Japan to Yusuke Kobori, and had mixed with the likes of Erik Morales before facing Kamegai. For Kamagai this was his first bout with a former world champion and his first bout outside of Korakuen Hall, with this fight being held at the Kokugikan. Kamegai stopped Alfaro in 6 rounds to take a huge step forward in his career.
Hector Munoz (October 1st 2011)
In 2011 US fans got their first chance to see the rampaging Japanese fighter as he took on Hector Munoz in his US debut, at the MGM Grand. Munoz, sporting a 19-6-1 record, was the perfect foil for Kamegai to take out on the under-card of Toshiaki Nishioka's bout with Rafael Marquez. Kamegai would stop Munoz in the 6th round on a card that featured a number of notable fighters. This was the first of many fights Kamegai had Stateside, and getting a win on his first bout there was really important to leaving an impression.
Tim Hunt (December 7th 2013)
It's hard to believe that during his career Kamegai only won two titles. He didn't pick up any WBA or WBC minor titles, just two fairly noteworthy titles. The first of those, as already mentioned, was the Japanese Light Welterweight title. The second was the OPBF Welterweight title which he won in late 2013 when he stopped Australian Tim Hunt at Korakuen Hall. This was one of Kamegai's final bouts in Japan, in fact he only fought at home twice more. His reign was a short one, he only defended the belt once, but it was still a major achievement for the exciting warrior from the Teiken gym.
Jesus Soto Karass II (September 10 2016)
We feel Kamegai may have saved his most significant win until last, with his second bout against Jesus Soto Karass. The two men had fought to a thrilling draw in April 2016 and then rematched just 5 months later, with Kamegai breaking down "JSK" in 8 rounds. The Mexican veteran had been dropped prior to retiring in his corner in what was a brilliant fight at the Forum in Inglewood. This would also prove to be Kamegai's final professional win, ending his career after losses in 2017 and 2018. This is the win we suspect many fans will remember Kamegai for, and it really is a special fight. If you've not seen it you need to watch it. A truly amazing war.
For many reading this we suspect the only "Ioka" they know much about is Kazuto Ioka. Kazuto is one of the modern day stars of Japan, a 4-weight world champion, a man linked to the New Year Eve shows, which he has often lead, and a fighter who married, and subsequently divorced, a notable Japanese singer. He's had it all and is legitimately one of the very top names in Japan, probably number #3 behind Ryota Murata and Naoya Inoue.
What few newer fans maybe aware of is that Kazuto uncle, Hiroki Ioka (33-8-1, 17) was a star before Kazuto was even born. In fact Hiroki Ioka was a man who set a number of records that no other Japanese fighter has been able to match. He was a young prodigy, the final star crafted by the legendary Eddie Townsend. Today we look at the 5 most significant wins for... Hiroki Ioka as we continue this series. As with all the other articles in this series the wins are listed chronologically, and not by by their significance or meaning.
1-Kenji Ono (July 8th 1987)
One win that would be easy to over-look is Ioka's July 1987 win against Kenji Ono for the Japanese Minimumweight title. This win came less than 18 months after Ioka's professional debut. It was his first 10 round bout, it was his first title bout, it helped prove he was ready for bigger things and most notably it saw him setting a record for the youngest Japanese national champion, at the age of 18 years and 6 months. That record still stands today. The bout saw Ioka out point Ono to claim the title and become the second ever Japanese national Minimumweight champion. A very significant and important win for Ioka, and one that can go over-looked.
2-Mai Thomburifarm (October 18th 1987)
Just over 4 months after winning the Japanese Minimumweight title Ioka faced off with Thai foe Mai Thomburifarm for the newly created WBC Minimumweight title. The bout was the first for the title and saw Ioka beat Thomburifarm over 12 rounds, with ease, to take the title. This would have been a significant win had it just seen Ioka become the inaugural WBC Minimumweight champion, but it also saw him set the record for the youngest Japanese world champion, at 18 years, 9 months and 10 days. This record has been challenged by Daiki Kameda and Riku Kano, though both failed in their attempts to break it. Coming into this bout Eddie Townsend was training Ioka from a wheel chair due to issues with cancer.
3-Kyung Yung Lee (January 31st 1988)
In his first defense of the WBC title Ioka faced off with former IBF champion Kyung Yung Lee, who vacated the IBF title in an attempt to prove he was the best at the weight. Lee travelled to Japan to face Ioka, with the Japanese fighter stopping the previously unbeaten Korean in the final round, to prove his position in the sport. Interestingly the date for this bout is really important. It came 21 days after Leo Gamez had become the first ever WBA champion, and just a day before Ioka's mentor, Eddie Townsend, passed away. Townsend was in the venue to try and watch his charge make his first defense, but fell unconscious before the bout and was taken back to hospital where he sadly passed away. Ioka's performance, given the situation if his trainer and father figure, was incredible. Notably this was also Ioka's only stoppage win in a world title bout.
4-Myung Woo Yuh (December 17th 1991)
After the massive win against Kyung Yung Lee we saw Ioka's career head downwards, something that wasn't much of a surprise given the loss of Townsend, arguably the greatest trainer in Japanese boxing. He would fail to win his next 3 world title bouts, losing the WBC title to Napa Kiatwanchai and failing to regain it in a rematch, then move up to Light Flyweight. In his first world title bout at 108lbs Ioka defeated Korean legend Myung Woo Yuh, in later 1992. The win over the then 36-0 Yuh saw Ioka claim the WBA Light Flyweight title, becoming only the third 2-weight world champion in Japanese boxing history. This would be the only defeat Yuh would suffer in his career, and would be avenged less than a year later, adding further to the significance of the win.
Bong Jun Kim (June 15th 1992)
The final win that we've chosen to include here is Ioka's win over Bong Jun Kim. This was Ioka's second defense of the WBA Light Flyweight title, the belt he had taken from Yuh. On paper this looks like a straight forward defense against a fighter with a 23-7-3 record, though that really doesn't do the win any credit.
Kim had fought once in Japan prior to this bout, beating Hideyuki Ohashi back in 1986, and Ohashi and Ioka were two of the young stars of Japanese boxing at the time. There had been calls to see the two to fight but they never did, though this is one of the few times the two men shared an opponent. The other thing to note is that Kim was the second ever WBA Minimumweight champion, and a unification between the two would have been big. Sadly this wasn't a unification, and did come more than a year after Kim had lost his world title, but was still a very meaningful bout and a big win for Ioka, who would lose 5 subsequent world title bouts after this contest, including the rematch to Yuh.
The Watanabe Gym is one of the most important in Japan now, and has a a lot of future world champions training at the gym. A few years ago it had a number of world champions, with Takashi Uchiyama and Ryoichi Taguchi leading the gym alongside the often unheralded Kohei Kono (33-12-1, 14).
Despite his less than stellar record Kono was a throw-back, who learned on the job, put on a show, and fought hard to try and make a name for himself. The "Tough Boy" had turned professional with little in terms of amateur success but went on to carve out an exciting and successful professional career.
Whilst Kono did lose a number of his biggest bouts, he did also score a lot of notable wins, and with that in mind we want to bring you "The 5 most significant wins for...Kohei Kono."
1-Teppei Kikui III (February 12th 2007)
The first fight to be included here is Kono's first title win. This came in early 2007 when he beat Teppei Kilkui, in their rubber match, and claimed the Japanese Super Flyweight title. Kono had won the first meeting between the two men, back in 2003, but had lost in their first rematch, in 2005. Following their second bout Kikui had gone on to win the Japanese Super Flyweight and defended it once, before facing Kono. Here Kono would take a close, but clear, decision to claim the title and give his career a huge shot in the arm.
2-Eden Sonsona (October 6th 2007)
Just 8 months after winning the Japanese title we saw Kono become a double champion, unifying the Japanese title with the OPBF title, thanks to a split decision win over Eden Sonsona. The bout was a hotly contested 12 rounder, but one that saw Kono's desire being just enough to get him over the line and take him to the victory for his first international title. Interestingly Kono would actually defend the unified titles in 2008, being the only man to defend the Japanese Super Flyweight title in a 12 round as a result!
3-Tepparith Kokietgym (December 31st 2012)
With his career looking like it was pretty much stumbling into nothingness Kono went into a WBA Super Flyweight bout against Tepparith Kokietgym knowing it would likely be his last chance. Kono was 27-7 (10) at the time and 32 years old, he had come up short in a number of other world title fights and was facing a 24 year old world champion who had racked up 3 success wins against Japanese fighters to become a "Japan Killer". Despite many expecting Kono to remain a "nearly man" of Japanese boxing he managed to surprisingly stop the Thai in the 4th round to claim the WBA title and become a world champion, in his 35th professional bout. This would go on to be the only stoppage loss of Tepparith's career, and clearly saved Kono's career, just as it looked like it was about to end.
4-Denkaosan Kaovichit (March 26th 2014)
Having lost the WBA Super Flyweight title to Liborio Solis, in his first defense, Kono was looking to reclaim the title in 2014 when he clashed with Thai veteran Denkaosan Kaovichit. The bout would really leave the loser looking down the barrel. At the time Kono was 33 and Denkaosan was 37, and neither would have been experience to bounce back. The fight was actually a close one early on, with Denkaosan picking himself up from a 4th round knockdown. As the bout went on though Kono's pressure got too much for Denkaosan's old legs, and the Thai was broken down in the 8th round, as Kono became a 2-time world champion.
5-Koki Kameda (October 16th 2015)
In his second defense, of his second reign, the 34 year old Kono made his US debut as he took on the controversial Koki Kameda in the first ever all-Japanese world title fight on US soil. Kono was seen as the under-dog, and it was assumed that Kameda would become the first Japanese male fighter to hold world titles in 4 weight classes. Instead Kono put on the performance of a life time to defeat Kameda in what was a brilliant fight between two men looking to make a statement on American soil. Kono simply out worked the more naturally talented Kameda, who never fought again as a professional. For many outside of Japan this was their first chance to see Kono, and we suspect many wanted to see him again afterwards.
Last week we covered Yong Soo Choi in this series and today we cover one of his major rivals, Takanori Hatakeyama (24-2-3, 19) in this week's "The 5 most significant wins for...". Fans outside of Asia perhaps aren't too familiar with Hatakeyama, and that's a shame as the guy was all action, exciting and in a number of great bouts from the 1990's and early 00's.
Hatakeyama, like Choi, is one of favourites for the Closet Classic series, and fans of that series will be fully aware of how amazing Hatakeyema's fights are and how much fun he is to. Sadly though we're not talking about his most fun bouts here, but his most significant wins. Even with that in mind we still have some tremendous bouts to share of Hatakeyama's, and really is one of those fighters who always gave fans value for money, and massive amounts of excitement.
Shigeru Kotani (February 13th 1994)
We're starting with an obscure one, and in fairness there was a few obscure ones we were considering including Hatakeyama's often replayed KO win over Jae Woon Park and his OPBF title win over Jung Chil Choi. Despite being obscurity Hatakeyama's 1994 win over Shigeru Kotani saw Hatakeyama win the All-Japan Rookie of the Year and certainly helped increase his profile in Japan, and put him on track to success. Not only did the win see Hatakeyama win the Rookie of the Year tournament, at 130lbs, but also claim the MVP, really highlighting his potential. It's worth noting that he was also just 18 years old at this point.
Koji Arisawa (March 29th 1998)
A little over 4 years after winning Rookie Hatakeyama fought Japanese champion Koji Arisawa, in a bout that was described as the biggest Japanese title fight in history. The bout was only a national title fight but it was massive news in Japan pitting two hugely popular and unbeaten fighters against each other for the Japanese Super Featherweight title. The bout was shown live on Japanese terrestrial TV and was held at the Kokugikan. Whilst the bout was highly hyped before hand it easily outdid all expectations and turned out to be a sensational bout, with Hatakeyama stopping Arisawa for the title, and launching himself into a second world title bout.
Yong Soo Choi II (September 5th 1998)
A moment ago we mentioned the win over Arisawa launched Hatakeyama into a second world title fight, that came against Yong Soo Choi. In 1997 Hatakeyama and Choi had fought to an amazing 12th round draw. Hatakeyama had bounced back from that set back by beating Arisawa and then getting a second shot at Choi. The second Hatakeyama Vs Choi bout was almost as good as their first, though tactical changes from Hatakeyama, who realised that he had to use more movement and use his feet more, proved vital. After 12 rounds Hatakeyama took a razor thin win to claim the WBA Super Featherweight title and become a world champion for the first time. Understandably after this win, and the win over Arisawa, he had become one of the top names in Japanese boxing.
Gilberto Serrano (June 11th 2000)
Sadly Hatakeyama's reign as the WBA Super Featherweight champion was a short lived one. He would make only a single successful defense, as 12 round draw with Saul Duran, before losing the belt to Lakva Sim and retiring. His retirement was a short lived one though and less than a year later he returned to the sport and stopped Gilberto Serrano to become the WBA Lightweight champion. The in ring action wasn't as memorable as in some other Hatakeyama bouts, but the contest was still dramatic, with Serrano being dropped in rounds 5 and 7 before being dropped 3 times in round 8. Given the circumstance, of Hatakeyama retiring, unretiring and then moving up in weight, this was a huge win, and lead directly to his next major win.
Hiroyuki Sakamoto (October 11th 2000)
After beating Serrano to claim the WBA Lightweight title we saw Hatakeyama state he wanted to defend against fellow Japanese fighter Hiroyuki Sakamoto. This would be Hatakeyama's first defense of the title and came against the nearly man of Japanese boxing. Sakamoto had come up short in several other world title fights, including one to Serrano that saw Sakamoto dropping Serrano twice in the opening round before swelling around his eyes forced the bout to be stopped. This was brilliant, brutal and thrilling with Sakamoto eventually running out of steam and being stopped early in round 10. For fans of tragic boxing stories Sakamoto's career, and life, is worth reading upon. As for Hatakeyama he was never quite the same fighter after this and wouldn't win another professional bout.
We still have no fights scheduled on the docket so we'll be continuing this mini series where we look at the most significant wins that a fighter scored during their career. Today we look at a favourite fighter from our Closet Classic series, Yong Soo Choi (31-4-1, 21), a Korean who had a brilliantly fun career in the 1990's, then made a short comeback to the ring in his his 40's, proving that even an old man can still fight.
Although not too well known in the west Choi was one of the most fun and exciting fighters of his era and was a through back to the Korea's that had shone in the 1980's. He was tough, rugged, through a lot of leather and was amazingly good to watch. An inside warrior who hit hard, let his hands fly and was thrilling to watch. He is the sort of throw back fighter we should all appreciate, and here is great chance to learn about one of our favourite fighters!
As is always the case with this series we are only considering official wins, and we are ordering them chronologically, not in terms of significance.
Eun Shik Lee (December 26th 1993)
Having won the Korean Super Featherweight title earlier in his career Yong Soo Choi took a huge step up on boxing day 1993 when he took on Eun Shik Lee, a fellow big punching Korean. Lee was the OPBF Super Featherweight champion, and had previously been the OPBF Bantamweight champion. Choi stopped Lee in the 3rd round to claim his first international title, and prove that he was well beyond the domestic level, and could move onto bigger and better things in the coming years. This was an under-rated win, but a big one for Choi and his career.
Yamato Mitani I (October 10th 1994)
Whilst Choi's biggest rival was Takanori Hatakeyama, who Choi fought twice and couldn't beat, arguably his first big rivalry was with Yamato Mitani, who he fought 3 times. Sadly the first fight hasn't leaked to the internet yet, whilst the other two have, but if the first is anything like the others then this was brutal, damaging and brilliantly rough. We can't really speak about the action but the significance is clear. It set up a stunning rivalry between two insanely tough and proud warriors and it was also Choi's first win on foreign soil, putting a flag on Japanese soil where he would return numerous times over the coming years. If you haven't seen Choi's other two bouts with Mitani we would serious advise checking them out.
Victor Hugo Paz (October 21st 1995)
In later 1995 Choi travelled outside of Asia for the first time as he went off to Argentina and faced the highly experienced Victor Hugo Paz, who had close to 60 bouts under his belt. Going to Argentina as the under-dog Choi didn't seem to care where he was or who he was facing as he took the fight to Paz and stopped him in the 10th round to claim the previously vacant WBA Super Featherweight title. Paz had been dropped in rounds 5 and 9 before being stopped and despite being at home Paz was down on all 3 score-cards.
Lakva Sim (February 1st 1997)
The argument of what makes a win "more significant" than another can be tricky at times, but beating a future 2-weight world champion, and one of the toughest men the sport has ever seen in an absolute barn burner is rather significant in our eyes. With that in mind Choi's 1997 win over Lakva Sim is his most significant world title defense, by some distance. This was an all out war, an absolute fire cracker that saw Korean fans getting a genuine treat, and both men taking a lot of punishment. If you like fights that are brutal, inside battled between men looking to prove they are the big dog of the ring this is for you! Choi won a split decision to retain the title, and was some how back in the ring less than 4 months later, beating Koji Matsumoto. A war like this deserved a significant rest, for both men. A real must watch a genuine 1997 Fight of the Year contender.
Gilberto Serrano (April 18th 1998)
In late 1997 Choi fought to a draw, in another brilliant war, with Takanori Hatakeyama in their first bout. The two would fight again in September 1998, with Hatakeyama taking the win with a majority decision. Between those two incredible was was a come from behind stoppage win for Choi against hard hitting Venezuelan Gilberto Serrano, who would later capture the WBA Lightweight title from Setano Zoff. Serrano was in a rather comfortable lead against Choi on 2 of the scorecards as we entered round 9. He had made Choi look a little bit silly at times, and seemed to be doing more than enough to take the title if he could see out the distance. He was however tiring in round 8 as Choi began to come on strong and in round 9 Choi broke down his man, dropping him in the corner and forcing the referee to jump in and stop the bout. This would be Choi's final successful defense.
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
Last week we began a new series, in the wake of the current global issue that has essentially put boxing on a pause, along with everything else. We continue that series this week by looking at the most significant professional wins in the career of Ki Soo Kim (33-2-2, 17), who retired in 1969 having etched his name in the history books.
For this we are again not looking at the biggest, or the best wins, but the ones which have the most significant for Kim and his career. As with the previous article in this series we'll list them chronologically, with the earliest of the five first, and try to shine a light on the most meaningful wins that the Korean legend scored.
1-Sae Chul Kang (October 1961)
The start of Kim's career is shrouded in some debate. BoxingM and other Korean sources suggest that Kim debuted in August 1961 with his second bout taking place in October, whilst Boxrec state his debut was in October. Whatever actually happened is unclear, as is the specific date, but what is clear is that in October 1961 Kim beat Sae Chul Kang to become the Korean Middleweight champion. What made this even more impressive is that Kang was the OPBF Light Middleweight champion, making the win a huge one for Kim at this very early stage of his career.
2-Fumio Kaizu (January 10th 1965)
Ki Soo Kim twice scored wins over Fumio Kaizu in 1965. The first of those was the more impressive of the two, as he travelled to Japan to stop Kaizu to become the OPBF Middleweight champion, claiming the title for the first time. The win saw Kim become the first Korea to win the title and with 5 defenses of the belt he also set a new bar for champions during his reign, that lasted for more than 2 years. It wouldn't be until Jae Doo Yuh that Kim's record for defenses would be beaten.
3-Nino Benvenuti (June 25th 1966)
The significance of a win doesn't really relate to how controversial it was, and Ki Soo Kim's win over Nino Benvenuti is certainly a controversial one, that many who have, and haven't, seen it will have their view on. With that said however the official result is that Kim got the win over the man who had beaten him in the 1960 Olympics, and with the win Kim became the first ever Korean world champion. The win was, by far, the most significant of Kim's career and one of the biggest in Korean boxing history.
4-Freddie Little (October 3rd 1967)
Another of Kim's wins that will forever have question marks over it, though again those question marks don't take away from the significance of it, was his 1967 win over Freddie Little. The bout, widely regarded as a full on robbery came against an American who would see controversy strike again a year later, when he was robbed of a win over Sandro Mazzinghi. Little, one of the best 154lb fighters of the late 1960's and early 1970's, would later go on to become a world champion and after retirement served on the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The win over Little really was controversial, but with the decision going his way the win was still a massive one for Kim. A massive one, with a huge asterisk over it.
5-Hisao Minami (March 1st 1969)
Picking a 5th fight was quite tricky here, though we've gone with Kim's final professional bout, which came in early 1969 against Hisao Minami. Minami had given Kim his second professional loss, taking a razor thin decision over the Korean in November 1968 to take the OPBF title. Less than 4 months later Kim avenged the loss, reclaiming the OPBF title and closed out his career as an Oriental champion. This win had come after back to back losses for the then 29 year old Korean who seemed to know it was time to walk away from the sport and do other things.
With Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) now expected to hang up his gloves in the 2020 it's clear we're going to miss the all action warrior. Rather than getting sad over the man we'll miss we have decided to instead look back over his career to look at 5 of his most notable wins, celebrating the fighter we have all enjoyed over the years.
Yaegashi, arguably more than any other Japanese fighter, became a cult icon in the west despite piling up losses and the reason for that was his style, his heart, his desire and his ability to always make things exciting for fans. Despite only fighting 35 professional bouts he managed to deliver more thrills, spills and action than almost any other fighter from the east. He deserved his cult following, and having fans around the globe hunting down streams of his fights, and he repaid every one of those fans.
One thing to note before we get any further, is that whilst aren't necessarily his best wins, but his most notable, and the ones that stand out for their significance. They are also put in time order, not order of significance.
1- Weerasak Chuwatana (April 3rd 2006)
Yaegashi's 2006 win over the little known Weerasak Chuwatana is a bit of a forgotten win but is one of the most significant. At the time it was Yaegashi not only claim his first title, the OPBF Minimumweight title, but tying the record of Tadashi Mihara and Eiji Kojima in winning an OPBF title in just his 5th bout. Whilst that record has now been broken it was still a genuine accomplishment for Yaegashi.
2- Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (March 17th 2009)
The significance of a win is hard to determine. A title win is obvious worth a lot of attention, so to is a title defense, but is beating a debutant? Maybe not, but when we look back over Yaegashi's career him having a win over the debuting Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is a win that will go down as a win with a lot of meaning. Given what Srisaket has done, becoming a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion, this is a really outstanding win when we look back over Yaegashi's career. At the time it didn't mean much, but on reflection this is, for us, a bigger win that his Japanese title win over Kenichi Horikawa, just 3 months later.
3-Pornsawan Porpramook (October 24th 2011)
Yaegashi's 2011 win over Pornsawan was the win that really put him on the map, in so many ways. The win saw him claim the WBA Minimumweight title but also take part in a legitimate Fight of the Year, brawling with the Thai is a sensational back and forth war that every fan should have seen by now. Yaegashi eventually broke down the Thai tank, but had to go through hell to do. Whilst the title win was a real achievement the fact the fight was regarded by many international sites and publications as a FOTY candidate helped get Yaegashi some fan attention in the west among tape traders and online fans. This bout did so much more to launch Yaegashi to cult hero than pretty much any of his other bouts. This also set up Yaegashi's historic bout with Kazuto Ioka.
4-Toshiyuki Igarashi (April 8th 2013)
Yaegashi became a 2-weight champion in 2013 when he defeated WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi. This bout not only saw Yaegashi claiming a second weight title but also avenging a number of amateur defeats to Igarashi in what was very much a rough and ugly bout. This isn't pretty, this isn't tidy, but it was engaging, bloody and once again saw Yaegashi trying to make a war of things in what was a rare ugly Yaegashi fight. Despite how ugly it was, as many Igarashi fights were, this was still action packed in a rare "fun but ugly" contest. The bout also lead to Yaegashi's memorable bout with Roman Gonzalez.
5-Javier Mendoza (December 29th 2015)
Whilst December 29th 2015 saw the long awaited return of Naoya Inoue, who had spent almost a year out of the ring after damaging his hand against Omar Andres Narvaez, it also saw Yaegashi getting one of his most important and impressive wins. The stalwart managed to over-come heavy handed Mexican Javier Mendoza to claim the IBF Light Flyweight title, becoming a 3-weight world champion in the process. On paper this was a really tough bout for Yaegashi, who had been stopped twice in 2014 and had only picked up two very low key wins following a defeat to Pedro Guevara in December 2014. What he did against Mendoza however was sensational, using his speed and skills to easily defeat the Mexican, who was lucky to see out the final rounds. The win was genuinely one of the most rounded performances from Yaegashi, and showed he still had it, despite being the wrong side of 30.
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