One of the ideas in this series was to show not only the most amazing KO's that people will have seen but also show off some really obscure and brutal ones. Today we think we've got one of the best obscure KO's that we've shared, and it really is a beauty from December 2001. Not only is this a brilliant KO but it came in an upset and came in a meaningful contest for an OPBF title, making it all the much better!
Yong In Jo (12-3, 7) vs Akihiro Kanai (15-0, 12)
In April 2001 South Korean fighter Yong In Jo lost the OPBF Super Bantamweight title to Osamu Sato with a 12 round decision defeat to "Hulk" at Korakuen Hall. Just 8 months later he returned to Japan in an attempt to reclaim the title, which Sato had vacated. He was hoping to become a 2-time OPBF champion to add to his two South Korean domestic title reigns, but was the under-dog here, travelling to face an unbeaten and heavy handed fighter.
Although not a well remembered name now a days Akihiro Kanai was regarded as a real prospect in 2001. He had won his first 15 bouts, with 12 stoppages, including a 5th round TKO over Akira Ebisuoka and a 10 round decision over Cruz Carbajal. The bout with Jo would be his first title bout, but it was one he was expected to win as he continued to progress towards bigger and better fights. The hope was that the then 23 year old Kanai was something special, and that he was getting Jo at just the right time, following his loss to Sato.
What we ended up getting was a viciously short, exciting and explosive contest that lasted just over 2 minutes and ended with a truly brilliant finish from the Korean, who was in Japan with a point to prove.
The opening few seconds were tense, but it didn't take long for both men to begin throwing leather. Around 30 seconds in Jo landed a solid right hand, that should have served as a warning for Kanai. Instead the Japanese fighter decided to stay at mid range, and look for his own power shots. Kanai managed to land a solid left hook on the Korean, who's head snapped as the two unloaded. Sadly for Kanao the shot didn't seem to hurt Jo as expected and soon afterwards Kanai's legs were buckled.
The intensity didn't slow down as the two men unloaded bombs in what was nothing short of a shoot out, with Kanai going down from a brutal left hook, the second that Jo landed in quick succession. Kanai got to his feet but had no plan B as Jo rushed in for the finish.
After missing a huge left hand Jo kept the shots go and landed with another brutal left hook. The shot landed as clean as it could, with Jo putting his weight into the shot and dropping Kansai, who crashed face down into the canvas.
The referee didn't hesitate, waving the bout off immediately to help get Kanai medical assistance. He was out cold and the referee could have counted to 100.
Kanai would receive medial attention in the ring, but left under his own steam, just looking a bit shaken.
Thankfully for Kanai he would bounce back from this loss, but he would come up short in a Japanese title fight in 2003 and fail to ever come close to living up the potential that many felt he had. He would hang them up in 2005, before fighting in a 1-off come in 2008, retiring for good with a record of 24-2 (18)
Despite this brutal win Jo's career was over less than a year after it. He would win a non title bout in 2002, over Jaime Barcelona, before losing in his first defense, in May 2002, to Shigeru Nakazato. That would be his final professional contest before leaving the sport with a 14-4 (8) record.
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).