To go along with our regular Sunday feature, "10 facts you probably didn't know about..." we've decided to try a similar feature here looking at something a little bit different. The OPBF. Here bring you "10 facts you probably didn't know about... the OPBF"
1-The OPBF was originally founded in 1952 as the OBF, the Oriental Boxing Federation, which it continued to be called until November 1977. It wasn't related to the previous Oriental Boxing Federation (OBF), which had existed before World War 2. It changed it's name after Australia and New Zealand were approved to join, necessitating the addition of "Pacific" to it's name.
2-It was set up by Japan, Thailand and the Philippines, with Korea joining in 1957
3-The OPBF themselves recognise the first OBF champion as Filipino legend Gabriel "Flash" Elorde for his October 18th win over Hiroshi Horiguchi, for the OBF Bantamweight title. In total Elorde fought in 23 OPB title bouts during his legendary career, and he actually fought against the second ever OBF champion, when he challenged Larry Bataan in May 1953 for the OBF Featherweight title. Elorde is also the first OBF champion as recognised by the WBC, who are the world title body associated with the OBF/OPBF.
4-Interestingly Boxrec lists the first OBF champion as Chamroen Songkitrat, who they say won the OBF title Lightweight title on October 13th 1952 with a win over Speedy Cabanela on October 13th 1952. From what we can find Chamroen's reign wasn't officially recognised until March 1953, when he stopped Masashi Akiyama, making him the fourth OBF champion, not the first.
5-The 21 defenses of the OPBF Middleweight title by Jae-Doo Yuh, from 1971 when he beat Cassius Naito to when he retired in 1978, is the most of any champion. Strangely Boxrec list him as having 22 defenses of the belt. The confusion with boxrec here is that the March 30th1975 bout against Nobuyoshi Ozaki, the second bout between the two men, isn't regarded as an official title defense. Regardless of the confusion he's the only fighter to have had 20 or more defenses of an OBF/OPBF title.
6-The "Gentle Giant" Rev Santillan, a Filipino who fought from 1995 to 2010, is the only man to be hold an OPBF title 4 times. He managed to win, and lose, the OPBF Welterweight title 4 times between 2001 and 2008. Interestingly he would fight numerous rematches during that time frame and went 1-1-1 with Hiroshi Watanabe, losing the belt and reclaiming it from Watanabe, losing the belt and regaining it from Kazuhiko Hidaka and losing twice to Motoki Sasaki
7-The OPBF began to recognise women's boxing in 2009, and had no connection to the OPFBA. Despite only being official recognised in 2009 they did recognise Susie Ramadan's 2008 victory over Michelle Preston as the first OPBF female title bout, and when the two rematched in 2009 Ramandan did record the first ever OPBF female title defense.Despite recognising female boxing there are only 11 weight classes recognised, from Atom to Welterweight excluding Light Welterweight.
8-Roman Kovalchuk, who won the OPBF Cruiserweight title in 2000 and defended it once, is the only European fighter to have won an OPBF title. He was from Ukraine.
9-On a similar note Xiong Zhao Zhong is the only Chinese fighter to have held an OPBF title, having won the OPBF title in 2015 with a win over Crison Omayao. Strangely he never defended the title.
10-Several reigning OPBF champions have been beaten by debutants. These include Akio Shibata, who was stopped by Ryota Murata, and Sae Chul Kang, who was beaten over 10 rounds by Ki Soo Kim
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Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).