We thought that to end this series for the year we'd picked a KO that happened at the very of a year. With that in mind we had a look over the recent New Year's Eve shows and picked a KO that took place back in 2011. Although perhaps not the most iconic KO of all time, it's one that saw one man live up to his nickname, and sent another fighter into retirement. It did so in lightning quick and eye catching fashion.
Before we get on to the actual KO whilst this is the last "Reliving the Finish" for 2021 we do have a lot more of these planned for 2022 and we'll be back with the next one in a couple of weeks.
Takashi Uchiyama (17-0, 14) vs Jorge Solis (41-3-2-1, 30)
Dubbed "KO Dynamite" Takashi Uchiyama was one of those nasty fighters with incredible heavy hands. Technically he was a solid boxer-puncher, who liked to control range, lined up his thunderous right hand and take people out. Although never the quickest fighter or the most mobile he had a good boxing brain, brutal power and an under-rated chin. Sadly he would end his career with a pair of losses in 2016, though by then he was past his best at 36 and had been battling injuries for years.
Today we go back to his 4th defense of the WBA Super Featherweight title, which took place on December 31st 2011 at the Bunka Gym in Yokohama. Prior to this Uchiyama had defended the title against against the underwhelming pair of Angel Granados and Roy Mukhlis, as well as future world champion Takashi Miura. Despite those wins this bout was seen as a big step up, and the first time he would be defending the title against a known opponent.
His challenger on this occasion was Mexican veteran Jorge Solis. The 32 year old Solis was a 47 fight veteran who had been a well regarded fighter in his homeland and in the US. Although he lacked an elite level win he did hold notable victories over the likes of Cristobal Cruz, Orlando Soto, Miguel Roman, Monty Meza Clay, Likar Ramos and was a former WBA "interim" champion. He had also mixed in elite company, losing to Manny Pacquiao and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Strangely the loss for Solis to Gamboa had seen him lose the WBA interim title, though he would go on to face Uchiyama just 9 months later, leaving us to just wonder how good a bout between Uchiyama and Gamboa could have been. The contrasting styles of that match up would certainly have made for a compelling contest.
For the first 10 rounds we saw a rather solid and controlled performance from Uchiyama, who was winning the bout based mostly on his smart movement and criminally under-rated jab. He seemed like he wanted to out box Solis and had a lot of respect for the Mexican. It was solid but certainly not thrilling or action packed as a fight.
Despite the controlled effort from Uchiyama he had pretty much done what he wanted and was in a very clear lead on the scorecards. He could have cruiser though in round 10 he showed a willingness to go for a finish after hurting Solis midway through the round. Solis survived, but had began to have the fight beaten out of him.
Then we get into round 11.
The round had a delayed start due to something in Solis' corner, but it did little to help the Mexican who was quickly backed up and caught by a gorgeous, swift and brutal left hook. The shot instantly dropped Solis who was flat on his back.
In real time the shot barely looked like it had connected. It had however connected perfectly, sending Solis crashing to the canvas in what would be the final moments of his professional career.
The Mexican would never fight again after this.
As for Uchiyama the Japanese champion defended the bout a further 7 times, being upgraded to "Super" champion in 2015, before losing two bouts to Jezreel Corrales and retiring to open his own gyms.
Between 1996 and 2006 Japan's Jun Toriumi (24-6-1, 10) had a solid career that often goes over-looked in recent years, where many fans look back on a fighter for their record rather than their in ring activity, and their own personal achievements.
Toriumi may have lost around 20% of his career bouts but he still managed to carve out a genuinely successful career, winning the OPBF Super Bantamweight title in 2005, scored a win over Sornpichai Kratingdaenggym and shared the ring with the likes of Shigeru Nakazato, Hozumi Hasegawa and Nobuto Ikehara.
Although we're not here to give a full career synopsis of toriumi today, we are here to share some details about his career and life, as we bring you 5 Midweek Facts about Jun Toriumi!
1-Toriumi went to the Hanasaki Tokuharu High School. That's the same high school as numerous other notable boxers, including Takashi Uchiyama, Akinori Watanabe, Shinya Iwabuchi, Nobuyuki Shindo, Tsukimi Namiki and Kazu Arisawa. It really is hard to believe how many notable boxers have come through that single high school in the last few decades, and it's clear that the High School has strong links to the Watanabe Gym, given how many fighters from the school ended up at the gym.
2-As an amateur Toriumi ran up a solid 42-17 (13) record, and came third in two notable Japanese amateur competitions. As a result of his amateur record he was regarded as a genuine prospect when he eventually turned professional in 1996, aged 22.
3-As a youngster Toriumi was featured on the cover of "Men's Street", a Japanese fashion magazine. At the time he was regarded as a very good looking young man, which lead him to having that cover star role.
4-Following his retirement from the ring he became a manager a gym of a former stablemate, and then later set up his own gym, the "TEAM 10 COUNT" gym, which he founded in 2010. Incidentally he was given a 6 month suspension of his gym owner and managed licenses in 2020 due to breaching rules regarding fees.
5-The boxer isn't the only Jun Toriumi of note. Another Jun Toriumi is a well known figure in the field of pathology, and is a co-writer in a number of books regard pathology, including "Basics of Human Patholgy" and "Pathology and treatment". Sadly it's hard to find a significant amount about him, but several of his books are available on the Japanese Amazon.
When it comes to talking about Thai fighters from the 1990's and early 00's it's fair to say that Foijan Prawet (77-6, 46), aka Wethya Sakmuangklang, is not a name that many fans will know too much about. That's despite the fact that the Thai fought for the better part of 20 years, faced some genuinely notable names, challenged for a world title and had more than 80 bouts in his 16 year career that saw him travel around the globe.
The Thai fought from 1993 to 2009 and and really did fight some of the most notable fighters of his era, including a young Filipino by the name of Manny Pacquiao in 2001, the then WBC world champion Guty Espadas Jr and notably contender Rolly Lunas, and he also won the OPBF Super Bantamweight title.
Today we bring you 5 Midweek Facts about Foijan Prawet, as we look to shine a light on one of the forgotten Thai fighters of the 30 years.
1-Foijan wasn't the only boxer in the family. His brother, Kumarnthong Por Pluemkamol, also had success in the ring winning the OPBF Bantamweight title, in a massive upset win against Jun Toriumi in 2005. This makes them one of the very few sets of brothers to have won OPBF honours, and in fact they both also won the Thai national title
2-On the subject of his OPBF title reign, Foijan was the third Thai to hold the OPBF (or OBF) Super Bantamweight title and the first since since Prayurasak Muangsurin, who won the title almost 2 years before Foijan.
3-As is the case with many Thai fighter's there is some despite about Foijan's record. Boxrec lists him as being 77-6 (46) whilst Thai sources actually have him listed as being 78-6 (46).
4-If we accept his Boxrec record as correct, Foijan's away form is much more impressive than we usually see for Thai fighters. He went 7-5 away from home, including wins over Masakazu Sugawara, Hurricane Futa and Kyohei Tamakoshi and losses to Guty Espadas Jr, Manny Pacquiao and Rolly Lunas. On the other hand he did go a frankly ridiculous 70-1 at home in Thailand, with the one loss at home coming early in his career to Mongolian fighter Sukhbayar Nemekbayar.
5-Foijan was born on July 6th 1976. That's the same day as Ski Cross legend Ophélie David, American actor Bashir Salahuddin, award winning US journalist Mary Wiltenburg, mathematician Ioana Dumitriu, and Candian Ice Hockey players Greg Crozier and Chris Dingman.
One of the things we've strangely not featured many of in this series, so far, have been brutal body shots. Thankfully that changes today as we get to share a truly horrific body shot KO scored by a man who was fighting in his second professional bout, but would later go on to become a true legend of the sport. This was nasty, and rewatching it can genuinely make you feel sorry for the recipient, who just know was pissing blood for a week afterwards.
Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (1-0, 1) Vs Chucherd Eausampan (7-2, 4)
When he turned professional in 1989 Joichiro Tatsuyoshi was already a big deal. He was only a teenager but the Osakan press had covered him for a while, he had been a destructive amateur and had even battered future world title challenger Azael Moran in sparring 1987, whilst still an amateur. Following his his sparring session with Moran, which instantly went down in Japanese folklore, the press had followed Tatsuyoshi. He wasn't just a press figure however and his enigmatic charisma and confidence had grabbed the attention of the Japanese fans as well.
When Tatsuyoshi debuted in September 1989 he had made light work of Korean Sang Myun Choi and he returned to the ring in February 1990 to take on Thai foe Chucherd Eausampan, with the bout coming on the under-card of Mike Tyson's bout with Buster Douglas.
On paper this was a massive step up in class for Tatsuyoshi, but one that he was expected to pass with no issues. That wouldn't actually be the case, but more about that a little bit later.
Although Eausampan isn't too well known he would distinguish himself as a genuinely notable journeyman on the Asian scene. Prior to travelling to Japan for this bout he had won the Thai Bantamweight title, before losing first defense against future world champion Daorung Chuwatana. As well as the loss to Daorung his only other set back had come in Indonesia to Wongso Indrajit, with both of those losses being 10 round decision losses.
On paper few expected Tatsuyoshi to lose, but they did expect him to need to go rounds, and have his stamina tested against a tough, but somewhat limited, Thai.
In the first round Tatsuyoshi was surprisingly dropped, being put down by a huge left hook from the Thai. Prior to the knockdown Tatsuyoshi was in control, but the knockdown instantly gave Eausampan a huge boost in confidence. Tatsuyoshi wasn't particularly hurt but was embarrassed.
Coming out for the second round Tatsuyoshi came out with a point to prove, whilst Eausampan looked to strike, thinking the Japanese youngster was a bit chinny. The aggression of the Thai left him taking risks, and left him open. Tatsuyoshi would find a home for his uppercuts to the mid-section and with just over 2 minutes of the second gone he would land the perfect body shot.
The finishing shot was a left uppercut to the body. It left Eausampan rolling on the canvas and Tatsuyoshi walked over his man, waving at him as he did so. It was as if Tatsuyoshi wanted him to get back up and take more punishment, they knew there was no chance of anyone getting back up after the shot.
After this bout Tatsuyoshi would go on to have a legendary career and become the face of Japanese boxing for much of the 1990's. Even now, well after his last fight, he's a figure of admiration and named as an inspiration as to why youngsters take up the sport. The effect of his career in the current Japanese boxing scene really cannot be over-stated and his still a huge influence in the sport.
Sadly for the Thai this began a massive downturn in his career and he would only pick up a single win after this loss. He would prove his toughness, hearing the final bell against the likes of Kiyoshi Hatanaka, Daorung Chuwatana, twice, but punishment did accumulate and he ended up being stopped a number of times later in his career.
Between 1979 and 1989 Korean fighter Seung Soon Lee (31-4, 23) managed to have a solid career, winning 31 of his 35 career bouts. During his days in the ring he notably won the South Korean Welterweight title, as well as the OPBF Welterweight title, he scored a win on US soil, stopping Sergio Sanchez, and even ended up landing a world title fight in 1989.
Sadly Lee's career is best remembered internationally for his penultimate bout, a quick loss to Mark Breland, but prior to that he had had a distinguished career in the East.
Today we plan to shine a light on Lee's career as we bring you 5 Mid Week Facts about Seung Soon Lee, as we remember the often forgotten Korean fighter.
1-On December 7th 1980 Lee won the Korean Rookie of the Year, beating Taek Jong Jung in 3 rounds.
2-Lee's 10 year career, spanning from 1979 to 1989 was a strange one in a number of ways, one of which was his activity level. Given he fought 35 times in his career it would be fair to assume that he was fairly busy through his career. After all an average of 3.5 fights a year would make sense. Instead however he squeezed in more than 25% of his total career bouts in 1980 alone, with 9 bouts from January 1st 1980 to December 31st 1980. This was a stark comparison to 1988, when he fought just once, or 1986 and 1989, years where he fought twice.
Similar, in some ways, is the fact that Lee's losses are also not evenly distributed through his career. He lost on his debut, before reeling off 29 straight wins, then finished his career with 3 losses in 5 bouts.
3-Staying on the subject of his losses Lee actually beat everyone he faced other than Mark Breland and Hyung Duk Choi, his debut opponent. His second loss came to Young Kil Jung, who he had beaten twice earlier in his career, and his final loss came to Jun Suk Hwang, who he had also beaten earlier in his career, in fact he had stopped Hwang in 1987.
4-Going into his 1989 bout with Mark Breland for the Welterweight title, Lee was ranked #2 by the WBA, a ranking that like we see now a days made absolutely no sense at all. Some things never changed. Amazingly Lee was also paid a reported $60,000 for the bout. Given it lasted 54 seconds he was essentially paid $60,000 for less than a minutes work! Nice!
5-For those interesting Lee does actually hold a world record! At the time of writing, his 54 second loss to Breland is the shortest ever bout for the WBA Welterweight title. In fact it's one of only two bouts for the belt to have been stopped in the opening round, the other was Donald Curry's win over Roger Stafford in 1983. That bout lasted 48 seconds longer than Lee's with Breland.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect former Korean world title challenger Seung Soon Lee to former Kazakh amateur stand out Ivan Dychko.
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-During his career Seung Soon Lee won two titles, the most distinguished of those was the OPBF Welterweight title, which he won in 1987 when he stopped Jun Suk Hwang. Lee's reign only lasted a matter of weeks, with him winning the title on February 15th and losing it on March 29th, in his first defense. On the same day that Lee lost the title Japan's Takuya Muguruma won the WBA Bantamweight title over in Japan.
2-Although not too well remembered now a days Takuya Mugurma, dubbed the "Endless Fighter", was one of the most exciting Japanese fighters of the 1980's. His world title reign was a short one, losing in his first defense, but he was an all action fighter who had sensational bouts with Chan Yung Park and Wilfredo Vazquez. Despite that fans may have seen Muguruma in recent years as he has been working alongside second generation fighter Juiki Tatsuyoshi, helping train and develop Tatsuyoshi.
3-The heavy handed Juiki Tatsuyoshi made his debut on April 16th 2015 at the Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, a venue that is now known as the EDION Arena Osaka. The main event of the card that featured Tatsuyoshi's debut saw Shinsuke Yamanaka retain the WBC Bantamweight title with a 7th round KO win against Diego Ricardo Santillan.
4-Before winning the WBC Bantamweight title Shinsuke Yamanaka had previously held the Japanese Bantamweight title, winning that title in June 2010. As the Japanese national champion he made just a single defense, stopping Ryosuke Iwasa in an incredible battle in in the 2011 Champion Carnival.
5-In 2021 Ryosuke Iwasa attempted to become a 2-time IBF Super Bantamweight champion, though fell short when he lost by TKO to Murodjon Akhmadaliev at the Humo Arena in Tashkent.
6-Whilst Murodjon Akhmadaliev's rise through the professional ranks has been incredible it needs to known that he was an excellent amateur who achieved a lot of success in the unpaid ranks, including winning a silver medal at the 2015 AIBA World Championships. Another man who won silver at that very same tournament was Kazakh Super Heavyweight Ivan Dychko.
Between 2006 and 2017 Japan's Kentaro Masuda (27-9, 15) made for some brilliant fights as an under-reated, heavy handed and rugged Super Bantamweight and Bantamweight. Although never a world beaten Masuda was a 2-time Japanese national champion who scored notable wins against the likes of Yu Kawaguchi, Konosuke Tomiyama, Tatsuya Takahashi and Yushi Tanaka.
Sadly for Masuda having 9 losses on his record standsout as and leaves many to suspect he wasn't a good fighter. The reality however is that he had to learn on the job, and he lost 2 od his first 3 bouts, and 3 of his first 6. He also came across a number of solid fighters, such as Hidenori Otake, Ryosuke Iwasa, Shohei Omori, Mark John Yap and Takuma Inoue, and as a result suffered losses to very good fighters.
Although his name won't come up regularly in conversation he is someone we are big fans of, and with that in mind let us bring you 5 Midweek Facts about Kentaro Masuda, as well as sharing one of his fights at the end of the article.
1-Before becoming a professional boxer Masuda competed in Kyokushin, which is a full contact martial art. He was actually genuinely impressive at Kyokushin and came third in Japan at an All Japan competition.
2-In a June 2012 interview with Boxmob Masuda stated that Ryosuke Iwasa was going to be a world champion in the "near future". Although it took a bit of time for this to actually happen his prediction did come true, in 2017 when Iwasa stopped Yukinori Oguni to win the IBF Super Bantamweight title.
3-During his 36 fight career Masuda never competed in January. That was the only month during his 11 year career that he never fought in. A big reason for that is likely due to the fact he fought in December on 8 different occasions, meaning that that without fighting in back to back months, he was rarely available for a January bout.
4-After retirement Masuda has remained involved in the sport and became a trainer. He has been teaching both Karate and boxing. He has worked at Akifumi Shimoda's gym ad Yuichi Kasai's, done personal training and helped with the development of Miyo Yoshida, who he knew before she became a boxer, and taught Karata. He also opened up his own boxing in 2021, called RAD Boxing, which is focused on teaching kids from 4 years old to 6th grade.
5-Masuda shares his birthday with American actor Brian Michael Smith, American world champion rower Cara Stawicki, country singer Eric Paslay, controversial Chinese weight lifter Liu Chunhong, Jewish animator Adam Bizanski and and American actor Max Goldblatt.
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).