Having had a bit of fun last week looking through the history of the PABA Lightweight title we thought we'd go through the weights this week and look at the even wackier history of the PABA Heavyweight title. Prior to being deactivated, when the WBA rid themselves off the PABA, the title had been held by a number of future word champions and was fought for a lomg way from Asia.
Before we get started with this weeks "Did You Know...", we'll just quickly explain a little bit about the PABA. It was the Pan Asian Boxing Assocation and the idea was that it would be the WBA's answer to the well recognised, and successful, OPBF. The title doesn't currently exist, with the WBA moving away from the PABA when then re-named it's self before seemingly faded in to a black hole, but for a time it was seen as the secondary regional only to the OPBF belt.
Of course, Heavyweights in Asia aren't a common thing, but that's hardly an excuse for some of the things we saw here.
With that out of the way, let us bring you "Did you know... the PABA Heavyweight title"
-The first ever fight for the PABA Heavyweight title was in....England! That's where future world champion Oleg Maskaev won the belt, stopping Russian born Kazakh Nikolay Kulpin.
-The second man to win the title was Hungarian born British-Australian Joe Bugner, who won the title at the age of 46! He won the belt in 1996, 29 years after his debut and 23 after fighting Muhammad Ali! Amazingly Bugner would win the title for a second time in 1998 at the age of 48!
-As mentioned Oleg Maskaev's first reign began in the UK, his second, in 1998, began in the US! He claimed the title a second time in Louisiana, when he blasted out Toakipa Tasefa inside a round. He would later defend the belt successfully in the US twice, before losing it to Canadian Kirk Johnson. Yes we had a Candian holding an Asian title, that he won in the USA!
-American fighter Rob Calloway won the belt in 2005, and made a single defense, defending it back at home in the US!
-Staying with non-Asian champions German based Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez won the belt in 2007. So too did did US based Nigerian Friday Ahunanya.
-In the title's later years it was was fought for in the Czech Republic, Germany, Serbia, Montenegro and Chile, among other places.
-During it's rather odd life span the title was held by a strong for future Heavyweight world title holders. There was Maskaev, as mentioned, along with Nikolay Valuev, Ruclsan Chagaev and Joseph Parker
-Despite being the "Pan Asian" title the only Asian fighters to claim it were Oleg Maskaev, who was born in Kazakhstan and represented Uzbekistan as an amateur, and Ruslan Chagaev, who was Uzbek born fighter who later relocated to Germany.
-In 2002 Nikolay Valuev defended the title in South Korea, beating a then 3-0 Taras Bidenko! This fight can be seen below!
Newer fans to the Asian scene likely won't remember the PABA title, which was the WBA's answer to the OPBF. The title has been completely killed off in the last few years, being replaced by other affiliated WBA regional titles, but for around 20 yaers we would see PABA title fights on a regular basis, particularly in Thailand.
For today's Did you know... we look at the relatively short lived, yet rather notable, PABA Lightweight title, which was fought for through out Asia and had several notable champions, and contenders.
-The first champion was future Mongolian world champion Lakva Sim! That alone is pretty notable but even more amazingly he won the belt in 4 rounds on his debut back in December 1998! So Sim, unlike most fighters, actually debuted in a 12 round regional title fight!
-Whilst Sim holding it is pretty notable it was actually won by a number of Mongolian fighters. There was Sim, Zorigoo Sosorbaram and Sukhbayar Nemekbayar, the 1st, 3rd and 5th champions respectively.
-The first 4 bouts for the title all ended with a stoppage, in fact 7 of the first 8 did!
-Prawet Singwancha's 13 defenses of the title were the most, by far...in fact no one else had more than 2 defenses of the belt!
-Despite being the "Pan Asia Boxing Association" title, it was once fought for in Germany! It was in the European country that German based Azeri fighter Azad Azizov won the belt.
-Two future world champions have held the title at some point. There was Lakva Sim, as mentioned previously, and Eduard Troyanovsky
-On the subject of Eduard Troyanovsky, he defended the title against a trio of Colombian fighters, Walter Estrada, Orlen Padilla and Luis Zambrano
-In 2015 there was also an Argentinian trying to win the belt! That was Leonardo Esteban Gonzalez fought George Kambosos Jr for the "interim" title, and was stopped in 3 rounds.
-One of the champions, relatively early in the title's lifespan, was David Kosawara. Kosawara, like Lakva Sim, won the belt on his debut, but would later blow up, and fought as heavy as 260lbs later in his career, almost double the Lightweight limit!
-Ahmad Abbybastnov only recorded bout was in a PABA title fight. The Uzbek was stopped in 2 rounds when challenging Prawet Singwancha in 2002.
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).