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 world title contender Yoshihiro Kamegai to North Korean Olympic Silver medal winner Kim U Gil
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-Although a limited fighter Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai built himself a cult following for his exciting, hard hitting wars, his energy and out put and his titanium chin. In his most notable bout he faced one of his hero's, and multi-weight world champion, Miguel Cotto for the WBO Light Middleweight title. Whilst Kamegai lost, he did manage to fight in a world title bout before finally hanging up the gloves.
2-Of course Miguel Cotto did fight other Asian fighters. His bout with Manny Pacquiao is one of his most notable, but his rivalry against Muhammadqodir Abdullaev is one that crossed between the amateurs and professional ranks. Famously Abdullaev beat Cotto in the amateurs, before Cotto avenged the result in the pros.
3-The amateur win for Muhammadqodir Abdullaev over Miguel Cotto came in the first round of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where Abdullaev won a Gold medal in the Light Welterweight division. Another fighter who picked up a Gold medal at the 2000 Olympics was Kazakh Light Middleweight Yermakhan Ibraimov, who scored a notable victory against future professional Middleweight world champion Jermain Taylor.
4-Prior to winning gold at the 2000 Olympics Yermakhan Ibraimov had also competed at the 1996 games, where he beat Markus Beyer on route to a Bronze medal. He wasn't the only Kazakh boxer picking up a medal in Atlanta, with Light Heavyweight Vasily Jirov going on to win the Gold medal, thanks to wins against the likes of Antonio Tarver and Troy Ross.
5-Along with his Olympic Gold medal at the 1996 games Vasily Jirov was also awarded the Val Barker trophy as the best boxer at the Olympics. A prior winner of that award was Kenyan fighter Philip Waruinge, who won it in 1968. Waruinge, who later fought in Japan as Philip Nakayama, only claimed Bronze at the Olympics, but was widely regarded to have been robbed in the semi-finals against local fighter Antonio Roldan, hence how he picked up the the Val Barker trophy despite failing to even make the final.
6-The 1968 Olympics wasn't the only one where Philip Waruinge competed. In fact he had fought in the the 1964 Olympics, losing to Heinz Schulz in the round of 16, and then return to the Olympic stage in 1972 where he took a Silver medal. Another man who won a Silver medal at the 1972 Olympics in Munich was North Korean Light Flyweight Kim U Gil. What's rather notable about Gil's medal is that it was the first Olympic boxing medal for a fighter representing North Korea.
(Image credit - Teiken)
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).