Today we post our first "Did You Know" article, where we look at the IBF Minimumweight title, which has seen more than 20 champions during it's history, which began in 1987. It's certainly not one of the most well respected titles but is certainly a belt with an interesting history and quite a lot of obscure facts!
1-The first bout for the title took place in June 1987 and saw Kyung Yung Lee stopping Masaharu Kawakami. Officially this was Kawakami's debut, though sources have stated that he did fight under the IBF Japan organisation, and on the on-screen graphic for the bout it is implied Kawakami had had previous bouts and had an 88% KO record
2-The third ever bout for the title saw Samuth Sithnaruepol defeat In Kyu Hwang with a 15 round decision in August 1988. This was the last ever world title bout fought over 15 rounds, and came almost 7 years after the tragic bout between Ray Mancini and Deuk Koo Kim, which had lead to the WBC cutting the length of titles bouts to 12 rounds.
3-Former IBF Minimumweight champions Manny Melchor (38-35-6, 6) and Nico Thomas (29-23-6, 18) both failed to win more than 50% of their professional bouts. Thomas, who held the title for just over 3 months in 1989, won exactly 50% of his career bouts whilst Melchor, who held the title for just over 3 months, won just over 48% of his career bouts. As a result they have two of the worst win rates of any world champions in history!
4-The first decade of the title saw the title exclusively being fought for in Asia, with title bouts in Korea, Thailand and Indonesia. Those 3 countries hosted the first 36 IBF Minimumweight title bouts, and it wasn't until 1998 that the bout was taken outside of Asia. Amazingly after it left Asia, with Zolani Petelo, it would take until 2004 for it to return to the continent.
5-It is the only world title to be held by 2 separate Indonesian fighters, with Nico Thomas and Muhammad Rachman both holding the belt!
6-In 2013 Katsunari Takayama became the first Japanese fighter to hold the title, winning the belt in Guasave against Mario Rodriguez. This was third time lucky for Takayama, who had seen his first challenge for the belt end with a No Contest, and his second was a decision loss, both against Nkosinathi Joyi.
7-Having just mentioned Takayama it's worth noting he is one of two men to have held the title more than once. The other Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, who lost the belt on the scales in May 1996 before reclaiming it less than 2 months later.
8-Ratanapol Sor Vorapin is the only man to have defended the belt more than 10 times! He managed 12 defenses in his first reign alone, and then added 6 more during his second reign for a total of 18, which is more than double of the second most, 7 defenses by Fahlan Sakkreerin Sr.
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).