Another week is here and the team at Asian Boxing have again been tasked with answering a "Who...?" question. This week we are looking at fighters who failed to reach their potential, as the guys answer the question:
"Who... failed to live up to your expectations in the last 20 years?"
Lee: "There are so many fighters that fit into this category from all over the world. I wish I could have picked a Korean here, but the reality is the first man that springs to mind is actually a Filipino, and one who is still technically active. But is very much a "bust" for me. That is Marvin Sonsona.
When Sonsona turned professional there was real buzz in the Philippines, and the way he was moved quickly and aggressively in the first few years of his career was really exciting. Less than 2 year after his debut he had stopped veteran Wandee Singwancha and just a fight later he won the WBO Super Flyweight title beating Jose Lopez in Canada. He was 19 at the time and looked almost nailed on to be the next big Filipino boxing star. Then things went wrong, he missed weight for his first defense, got beat by Wilfredo Vaquez Jr the following year, and his career went off the rails.
After 2010 we only saw him sporadically. He should real class in his win over Akifumi Shimoda in Macao and looked amazing for 5 rounds in a rematch with Vazquez Jr, but then stunk out the joint for 5 rounds. Since then there has been nothing positive from Sonsona who has gotten old, fat, and looks unlikely to ever come close to being the fighter he had the potential to be.
I'll be harsh. He's the biggest wasted talent of the last 20 years in my opinion."
Takahiro: "In 2013 Hikaru Marugame turned professional and I was very, very excited to see him fight in the pros, because was a stand out amateur.
In 2017 however Muragame fought for the last time. His professional record was 6-3-1 (4). He had so much potential, but never came anywhere close to that potential.
What few Western people will know is just how good of an amateur Muragame was. In the unpaid ranks he went 60-14, he won the National Athletic Meet and the All Japan Championship in the amateurs and also competed at the 2009 World Amateur Championships.
Those amateur achievements seemed like they were going to put Muragame on the fast track to the top of the sport. Sadly however he did almost nothing with his career. He won his first 5 bouts, the went 1-3-1 in his last 5 bouts before retiring.
He did fight some notable fighters, including Reiya Abe and Kinshiro Usui, but never managed to even fight for a title.
I had so many hopes for Muragame, but he fell so very, very, very short."
Scott: "A few years before this site was set up there was a number of exciting Japanese prospects that managed to get me interested in the Japanese boxing scene. One of those was a youngster by the name of Yohei Tobe, who was 23 at the time of his debut. On his debut he beat the Korean national champion, Jin Ki Jung, then he beat the experienced Wandee Singwancha in his second bout and then former world title challenger Kohei Kono in his third bout. Within just 10 months of his debut he was 3-0 (2) with two notable wins.
By this point I was doing research on him and I was really excited about the youngster, and learned he had been a decent amateur with more than 40 wins and had been a 2-time winner at the National Polity.
After learning that I got so excited about Tobe. I thought he was going to be a star. I thought he was going to be the future of Japanese boxing and a future world champion. Then he went 1-1-1 in his next 3 fights, losing to Ryo Akaho in an OPBF title bout and fighting to a draw with Richard Pumicpic. He managed to rebuild from those set backs, winning the Japanese Super Flyweight title and the WBA International title, but never came close to a world title fight.
Whilst there were certainly bigger prospects, and brighter hopefuls than Tobe I don't think there was anyone I had bigger hopes of than Tobe, who really did fall short of my expectations. He wasn't awful, not by any stretch, but he certainly failed to achieve what he seemed capable of."
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