With a host of big Heavyweight bouts coming up in the next few months, and a huge one this weekend, we thought this week's "Did You Know" should concern a Heavyweight bout, and why not go back to one of the first Heavyweight title bouts held in Japan!
With that in mind we decided to look at 1973's clash between Heavyweight champion George Foreman and Puerto Rican born challenger Jose Roman, which took place at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo.
-Foreman won the bout in the opening round, to record his first defense of the WBA and WBC Heavyweight titles.
-The bout came after a 7 month lay off for Foreman, the longest of his career up to this point, though no where near the 10 year lay off he had from 1977 to 1987.
-The fight was the first ever World Heavyweight title bout held in Japan, and would be the only one held there until Mike Tyson stopped Tony Tubbs in 1988!
-The bout was shown on NET TV in Japan. This channel was the renamed Nihon Educational Television. In the years since the bout the channel has been renamed several times, and is now known as TV Asahi.
-Foreman's purse for the fight was $1,000,000, that was 10 times bigger than Roman's purse of $100,000
-It was the third time Roman had faced an opponent called "George" after wins over George Ford and George George Holden. In the years that followed Roman would go on to beat George Jerome, twice, leaving his record against George's at 4-1 (3)
-It took almost 15 years for the next round 1 T/KO defense of the Heavyweight titles, with Mike Tyson stopping Michael Spinks inside a round in 1988. In the time between the bouts James "Bonecrusher" Smith and Michael Dokes had both managed to claim the WBA title inside a round, but there hadn't been an opening round blow out defense.
-On a similar note this was the first time the titles had been defended in the opening round since Muhammad Ali's controversial second bout with Sonny Liston
-Roman entered the bout as the #9 ranked challenger by both the WBC and the WBA.
-This was Roman's only world title fight and his only fight in Asia. More remarkably he was the first Puerto Rican to challenge for a world title!
-On the under-card Ricardo Arredondo stopped Morito Kashiwaba to retain the WBC Super Featherweight title. This was Arredondo's fifth bout in Japan, the country that he won the title in in 1971. He would return to the country twice more and lose in both of those there, making this his final win in Japan.
-Foreman would return to Japan more than 20 years later, beating Crawford Grimsley of the IBA Heavyweight title. This bout, the Grimsely one, was a bout that didn't take place under the auspices of the JBC but instead the ill fated IBF Japan, hence it being listed as an "unsanctioned show"
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).