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 Pancho Villa to Muangchai Kittikasem.
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-Filipino boxing great Francisco Villaruel Guilledo, better known as Pancho Villa, will always be one of the sports biggest "what if's...". Whilst he was the first Filipino world champion and is still regarded as one of the greatest Filipino fighters he did pass away at the tragically young age of 23 and even with 87 bouts to his name there is a feeling he still had a lot more to give the sport. Villa was one of the fighters who had a song named after him on "Ghosts of the Great Highway".
2-"Ghosts of the Great Highway" was a 2003 release by American musical quartet Sun Kil Moon. The album isn't too well known, even by boxing fans, but it is a notable album and features tracks named after 3 boxers. As mentioned one of those was Pancho Villa, another was the tragic Deuk Koo Kim.
3-Deuk Koo Kim famously died after a bout with Ray Manchini in 1982 for the WBA Lightweight title. Sadly Kim's entire career is pretty much over-shadowed by his death but his actual career had seen him win the OPBF Lightweight title prior to facing Mancini. Kim had made 3 defense of the OPBF title before facing Mancini. Another fight who defended that same title 3 times was Shinichi Kadota.
4-Shinichi Kadota made his debut at the Kokugikan, in Tokyo, on April 30th 1967. On the same card as the show were several notable fighters picking up wins. One of the was Masao Oba whilst another was Takeshi Fuji, who beat Sandro Lopopolo to win the Light Welterweight throne in the main event of the card.
5-When he won the Light Welterweight throne, taking the unified WBC and WBA titles, Takeshi Fuji became Japan's 4th world champion, their first at 140lbs and the first non-Japanese to win a world title whilst fighting out of a Japanese Gym. He was born not in Japan, like the 3 prior Japanese world champion, but in Hawaii, where he was a third generation Japanese-American. The second non-national Japanese world champion was Yuri Arbachkov, who was a Russian fighter fighting out of the Kyoei Gym, who won the WBC Flyweight title.
6-Yuri Arbachakov's reign as the WBC Flyweight champion ran from 1992 to 1997. He won the title by stopping Thailand's Muangchai Kittikasem, in 8 rounds.
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).