Recent we've been very Japan centric in this series of looking at great KO's so this week we want to go as far from Japan as we can get, and look at a bout that took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas back in 2009. Not only was the bout at one of the best venues in the sport, but it was also one of the best KO's in recent memory. This was gorgeous, brutal, vicious, eye catching and a KO that even now, a decade on, is just as jaw dropping as it was at the time.
Manny Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36) vs Ricky Hatton (45-1, 32)
We don't really think we need to do much of an introduction for either man here. One is an icon of world boxing, and the other is one of the most popular British fighters in history. Despite that we will look, briefly, at the back story.
After Manny Pacquiao shocked the boxing world in 2008, beating Oscar De La Hoya in a legitimate upset, he was the hottest thing in the sport. Pacquiao had jumped from Lightweight to Welterweight and although Oscar was a faded force he was still expected to over-come the little Filipino. Instead Pacquiao put on a sensational performance, beating De La Hoya and become one of the biggest names in the sport, by a long way. Just 5 months later he went to Light Welterweight and took on the then IBO champion Ricky Hatton.
With world titles at Flyweight, Super Bantamweight, Super Featherweight and Lightweight Pacquiao was well and truly on the higher end of the pound for pound list before he beat De La Hoya, but that win cemented his place as a living legend. Ring Magazine had him at #1 pound for pound and it was hard to argue with that ranking given Mayweather had retired following his win over Hatton almost 2 years earlier.
Hatton, from England, had been the face of the 140lb weight class since beating Kostya Tszyu in 2005. He had moved up in weight, but had never looked as good at Welterweight as he had at 140lbs. He first dipped his toe at Welterweight to beat Luis Collazo, narrowly surviving the final round, and had returned there in 2007, suffering a 10th round TKO loss to Floyd Mayweather. Between those bouts he had returned to 140lbs, and resettled there, and he settled there again following the loss to Mayweather.
Although Hatton had lost to Mayweather he had maintained a high pound for pound ranking, with most having him in or around the top 10, and he was widely regarded as the best fighter at 140lbs. The weight suited him. He was physically imposing at the weight, powerful, and could bully opponents.
Although the bout was highly anticipated it turned into a massive mismatch with Hatton being dropped twice in the opening round. To his credit however Hatton managed to make his way into round 2.
To his credit Hatton actually had an acceptable round 2, for the most part, and it appeared that he may be getting a toe grip into the fight. At least it did until around 10 seconds before the end of the round.
With 11 seconds of round 2 left Pacquiao landed a thunder bolt of a left hand that landed bang on the chin. It couldn't possibly have landed cleaner. It was as on point as a punch could ever get.
The shot instantly turned out Hatton's lights. He was gone as his body went limp before he hit the canvas, hard. He was out cold and the referee quickly abandoned the count, knowing that he could have counted to 100 and the Englishman wouldn't have gotten back to his feet.
Medical staff at the venue quickly saw to Hatton, who recovered his senses. His then trainer, Floyd Mayweather Snr, suggest Hatton should retire which he actually seemed to do, for 3 years, before making an ill fated comeback in 2012 when he lost to Vyacheslav Senchenko.
As For Pacquiao he would remain a top level fight for more than a decade after this knockout, though sadly the knockouts did dry up and this was probably the most iconic of his early finishes.
We suspect you've all seen this one before, but it's one that you should probably see again...and again...and again. It is one of the best KO's in the sport's long history.
Not all great finish are clean knockouts. Sometimes we see a fighter take a huge shot, get dropped and some how get back to their feet. Although upright they have no idea where they are, what they are doing and there is no referee in their right mind who would let the fighter continue. Today we are going to look at one of those bouts in this week's "Reliving the Finish". It was a bout that probably could have been waved off when the recipient got dropped but the fighter's spirit on show, getting them on to their feet, was genuinely very impressive.
Takashi Miura (28-2-2, 21) Vs Billy Dib (39-3-0-1, 23)
By May 2015 Japan's Takashi Miura was proving himself as a top Super Featherweight. Although technically crude he was teak tough, had a great work rate, an incredible will to win and, most obviously, serious bang in his punches. The hard hitting Japanese southpaw had been dubbed "Bomber Left" due to how vicious his left hand was. He could be out boxed, he could be out sped and out thought. He was raw, defensively open, but that worked in his favour making opponent think he was easy to hit and allowing him a chance to catch them getting greedy.
After winning the WBC Super Featherweight title, in April 2013, Miura had defended the title against a trio of Mexican challengers, Sergio Thompson, Dante Jardon and Edgar Puerta. Those wins had seen him earn a moniker as the "Mexicutioner" to go alongside his "Bomber Left" nickname. In his fourth defense however he ended a run of facing Mexicans as he faced off with Australian challenger Billy Dib.
Coming into this bout Dib was a former IBF Featherweight champion who had made 3 defenses before losing the title to Evgeny Gradovich in 2013. He would lost a rematch to Gradovichi before moving up in weight and after picking up 3 wins got a show at Miura.
Although a talented fighter, and one of the biggest names in Australian boxing, Dib was the under-dog going in. Whilst the challenger had the speed and skills to ask questions of Miura it was assumed the natural difference in power and Dib's somewhat poor defense would prove to be the difference. It was assumed, sooner or later, that Miura's power would get to Dib and either stop him, or put him into a very negative mindset of trying to just survive.
From the off Miura took center ring whilst Dib tried to use his speed and movement to circle around the outside of the ring, and try to avoid the left hand of Miura. It was mostly negative stuff from Dib, but it was a tactic to see out the early storm and get a chance to get a read on Miura's power and timing. Dib was again rather negative in round 2, landing some shots and getting back on his toes. It was smart despite not being very entertaining, and whilst he may have done enough to claim the two rounds it very much felt like he was trying to fiddling his way to victory and avoid getting hit clean.
Although it was smart from Dib it was a tactic that was going to need to be changed at some point. It wasn't a tactic that could work for 12 rounds against Miura. Sooner or later the champion was going to land.
The wait to see Miura land clean didn't take long and came in round 3.
Midway through the round Dib moved into the corner. It was something he had done numerous times through the fight. This time however he had slowed just a touch, feeling the effects of some solid body shots from Miura earlier in the round. Miura then connected with a huge left, followed by a right and another left. Down went Dib, hard.
Somehow the challenger got back to his feet, but stumbled, before the referee decided to stop the contest. Credit to Dib for getting up, but he really had no idea where he was, and was stumbling like a drunk.
On live showing it seemed it had just been a thunder bolt of a left hand that had taken out Dib. On replay however the brilliance of the combination was shown. The first left had stiffened the legs of Dib who looked out, a follow up right hook and another left hand had then finished off the job in brutal and explosive fashion.
This was a gorgeous combination to finish off a frustrating challenger, and was proof of Miura's power, and the way he could close the show when he had his man hurt.
Sadly for Miura he would lose the title 6 months later to Francisco Vargas, in a 2015 Fight of the Year contender and never managed to reclaim the title. As for Dib he managed to get another world title fight himself, losing to Tevin Farmer in 2018 for the IBF title, though was widely beaten by the slippery American.
For today's "Reliving the Finish" we though we'd share quite an obscure KO from a Japanese domestic level bout from back in 2009. This is not a bout we expect many fans have seen, but the stoppage to it is worthy of being on a highlight reel. Notably it did feature a man we expect most fight fans to have heard of, and came when he was still a rising hopeful on the domestic scene. The recipient on the other hand wasn't really well known and never really did anything of note afterwards, despite continuing in ring with their career until 2013.
Hisashi Amagasa (12-3-2, 10) vs Koji Nagata (7-3-3)
At the end of 2014 Hisashi Amagasa's name became one of the most searched boxing names, with nobody outside of Japan really having any idea who he was when he was announced as the next challenger for Guillermo Rigondeaux. By the end of December 31st 2014 however his face was plastered everywhere on boxing websites. He looked a swollen, bloodied, beaten mess. He had twice dropped Rigondeaux but had paid the price and been left with some nasty facial injuries as a result.
Following that bout he would remain a figure of interest in the wider boxing world, getting a notable fight in the UK with Josh Warrrington in 2016 before fading back into international obscurity in his homeland.
For this KO we need to rewind way before all of that however and send ourselves back to May 2009. Amagasa, then aged 23, took on domestic foe Koji Nagata. At the time Amagasa was seen a long, rangy fighter with power. He had won 12 of his 17 bouts and stopped 10.
Nagata on the other hand was a 24 year old who had lost on debut before reeling off a 7 fight unbeaten run. Heading into the Amagasa fight things had started to cool down again for Nagata, who had gone from 5-1-2 to 7-3-3. He lacked power, but was a capable fighter. Not a future champion, but a capable fighter all the same.
Through 6 rounds Nagata had given the taller, longer Amagasa some real issues, he had held his own for the most part and even tested Amagasa's chin with some solid shots up top. Amagasa, to his credit, stayed in to the bout, and had belief in his power, but his skills, which were never great, were certainly not impressing. Nagata looked several levels above Amagasa in terms of skills, but lacked the power needed to make Amagasa really pay for his mistakes.
Sadly for Nagata his good work was all undone mid way in round 7 when Amagasa landed what was probably the punch of his career. The shot was a brutal left uppercut that landed clean. The shot landed through the guard, snapping back the head of Nagata who crashed on to the canvas. The shot just turned out the lights on Nagata who stayed down for quite some time. The towel came in from his corner mid way through the count.
To help Nagata a stretcher was brought into get him out of the ring safely, and thankfully there was no linger issues for him.
Despite Nagata having no long term issues he wouldn't return to the ring for 9 months, defeating Tomo Kawai on his ring return. Sadly for him however his career never really took off, and he retired in 2013 with a record of 9-7-4. As for Amagsa, he would win Japanese and OPBF titles, as well as have fights with Rigondeaux and Warrington, before retiring with a 33-7-2 (21) record and later becoming a trainer at one of the gyms that Takashi Uchiyama set up.
We often focus on the most recent fights in a lot of our series, and the reality is that we prefer the higher quality footage that we get. There are, however, legends from the past that we think every fight fan has to love. The men in question may not have been the best that their division has ever given us or all time greats but that doesn't take away from the fact they had something special about them. In this week's "Reliving the Finish" we look at a KO that ended the final world title reign of one of these legends and damn near forced him to retire.
Koichi Wajima (31-4-1, 25) Vs Jose Duran (59-4-9, 21)
The man in question is Koichi Wajima, if you've never seen him before you really need to. Pretty much every fight we was in resembled a Rocky movie, with Wajima fighting in a style that seemed part hyper active child, part Kangeroo and part Frog. His fights were typically dramatic, exciting, and full of hayemakers, by both him and his opponents. He wasn't what we would describe as a polished fighter, but he was so unusual and unorthodox that he was pretty much impossible to prepare for with sparring. He used a patented "Frog Jump Punch", which was literally what you'd imagine, had incredible and will win and a style that was very energy intensive.
During the 1970's Wajima was a 3-time Light Middleweight champion with his final reign only being a short one. It began in February 1976, when he won the WBA title, and ended that May when he came up against Jose Duran.
Although not as legendary Jose Duran is an often forgotten Spanish fighter who was a very notable fight back in the 1970's. Heading into this bout with Wajima he gone to the Olympics, in 1968, won the Spanish national title and the European title. In his only previous world title bout he had lost a decision to Miguel de Oliveira, in 1975.
Aged 30 entering this bout Duran likely knew that this wasn't going to get another shot like this. By now Wajima was 33, his style and toughness had taken a toll on him and although not "chinny" he did get hit a lot and there were question mark about his durability. From his 4 previous losses he had been stopped 3 times, with 2 of losses coming in his previous 4 bouts.
Duran got off to the start he would have wanted and took control of the bout quite early, dropping Wajima in round 2 with a right hand and out boxing the older, smaller, shorter, crude man. Wajima was down again in round 14, from a a brlliant combination to the head from Duran.
One thing Wajima always had was heart and that was his downfall in still being in the bout was we entered round 15.
In the final round Wajima kept coming forward, he was tired, absolutely exhausted, and even more wide open than usual. With less than a minute of the round gone Duran took advantage of Wajima's almost non-existent defense and planted a gorgeous straight right hand on to the chin of the Japanese icon, sending him crashing down.
Some how Wajima tried to get up but his effort was never going to be enough as the referee completed the 10 count.
Duran was crowned as the new champion, though sadly his reign was a short one losing to Argentinia's Miguel Angel Castellini just 5 months later. Sadly Wajima would return to the ring, and suffer another stoppage loss in 1977, to Eddie Gazo, before hanging them up for good. By then Wajima was well and truly a legend and had been one of the top Japanese sports stars of the 1970's.
Today we head back just a few years, to December 2017, to share one of the most remarkable, strange and destructive KO's of recent years. It was one that came as a surprise, to everyone, and saw the old adages of "protect yourself at all times" and "fight to the bell" play out in real time. It also ended in what a big upset and shook up the Japanese Featherweight scene at the time.
Takenori Ohashi (14-4-2, 9) vs Kosuke Saka (16-3, 13)
Entering the bout Takenori Ohashi had done little to earn a title fight, but he was getting a shot at Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka. On paper this might have looked like a fair evenly matched bout but in reality few gave Ohashi any real chance.
The 28 year old Ohashi had started his career well, but lost in the East Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2010, being stopped in a round by Coach Hiroto. Following that loss he had gone 9-3-2 (4) with stoppage losses to Tatsuya Takahashi and Tsuyoshi Tameda. In his 6 bouts heading into his title fight he had gone 3-1-2 (2).
Whilst his form was was up and down Ohashi really had the same problem as many other punches. He was slow. Really slow. He hit like a mule, but was slow, could be timed, and had very predictable movement. Thankfully for him he really could punch. As we'll see here, and in a future "Reliving the Finish" that we have planned for later in the year.
Saka on the other hand had been on a tear. He had suffered his first loss in the 2012 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, to Masayuki Ito, and his other losses had both come in 2014, losing to Jun Hamana and Hiroshige Osawa. Following those losses in 2014 he had gone 8-0 (8) and stopped the likes of Ryuto Kyoguchi, Takafumi Nakajima and Shota Hayashi. Coming in he had all the momentum, he was in great form, destroying people and was looking to make his first defense of the Japanese Featherweight title.
Saka was aggressive, high octane, a pressure fighter who let his hands go and broke people up. His shots lacked the lights out power of Ohashi's, but he was quicker, sharper, threw much more leather, and beat people up.
Sometimes however we get upsets, and sometimes they come because a fighter has a lapse in concentration. That is exactly what happened here, in very eye catching fashion.
Before we get to the ending we do need to point out that through the first 4 rounds Ohashi was out performing all pre-fight expectations. He had more than held his own with Saka, which was a surprise in it's self. We then got into round 5.
For much of round 5 Ohashi was landing the better punches, he even seemed to rock Saka early in the round, but never looked close to stopping the champion. That was until the very, very end of the round.
When the clacker went to signify 10 seconds left in the round Saka misheard it, assumed it was the bell and turned his back on Ohashi whilst heading to his corner. Ohashi saw his chance and from behind landed a legal, and massive right hand on a defenseless and unsuspecting Saka.
Unsurprisingly Saka hit the canvas, hard. Again Ohashi could hit like a mule and giving him a free shot like this was always going to end the fight. To his credit Saka tried to get up, managing to sit up, but he had no idea where he was as the referee finished his count.
Officially Saka was counted out at 3:06 of round 5.
It seemed unfair, it seemed harsh, but it was totally fair and totally brutal. It was a sickening way for Saka to lose the title, but sharp thinking saw Ohashi capitalise and become the new champion with a career defining win.
Despite the win Ohashi's reign was a short one, losing in his first defense to Taiki Minamoto in April 2018. As for Saka he would rebuild and in 2019 claimed the Japanese Super Featherweight title, by stopping Masaru Sueyoshi, to become a 2-weight Japanese champion.
It's often been said that the "little guys can't punch", but the reality is that anyone in the sport can punch. Even those little guys with a low knockout rate can still punch. Today we intend to prove that by showing off one of the best knockouts of 2014. Not only was it a great knockout but it came from a guy who had been seen as a puncher, and it was a genuine beauty.
Suguru Muranaka (20-2-1, 6) vs Yusuke Sakashita(12-4-2, 7)
Although not a big name fighter we were big fans of Suguru Muranaka when he was in the ring. He was a battling little guy with a great work rate, an exciting style, and incredible physical strength. Sadly he was also someone who failed to keep his weight under control and missed weight a frightening number of times, and was almost certainly having the success he had thanks to being a giant weight bully. Later in his career he would move up to Bantamweight and fail to make weight there.
Despite issues with weight Muranaka's best run came at Flyweight, where he had taken the Japanese title in 2013, with a win over Takuya Kogawa, and then defended it with a TKO win against Masayuki Kuroda. By that point it was clear he could fight. He may never have looked like a future world champion but he was a very solid fighter who was riding a 14 fight unbeaten run, going 13-0-1 (4) during that stretch.
In his second defense of the Japanese Flyweight title Muranaka took on the relatively unknown Yusuke Sakashita. Although Sakashita would later win regional honours he had done little to up to this point in his career outside of winning the 2011 All Japan Rookie of the Year. Sadly follow his Rookie of the Year win Sakahsita had suffered a couple of losses in 2012 and his career seemed to be leading no where far when he got the call to face Muranaka.
Despite being the clear under-dog Sakashita had fought well over the first 7 rounds and was running Muranaka really close. He had put in a fantastic effort and was giving the champion genuine fits.
Sadly for Sakashita with just over 20 seconds of round 8 remaining all of his good work was deleted in an instant.
With Sakashita backing off Muranaka feinted with the left, drawing a jab from Sakashita, before launching a massive over-hand right as a counter. The shot landed clean on the jaw of Sakashita, who's head swivelled on his shoulders. He was out in an instant and crashed backwards, on to the canvas, falling in a really nasty way, with the referee instantly waving off the contest.
This was a gorgeous, brutal KO scored by a man who had only scored 6 stoppages in his previous 23 bouts.
Sadly for Muranaka this was the highlight of his reign and he would lose the title 6 months later on the scales. From there on his career never really hit the heights expected of him. In 2017 he did get a world title fight, but lost a very clear decision to Kal Yafai in the UK.
Sakashita on the other hand would rebuild from this loss and later go on to claim, and defend, the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title.
We love knockouts. Anyone who has followed this series over the last year or so will know that we really love knockouts, seeing them, watching then, replaying them and sharing them. Sadly we need to admit some fighters best KO's aren't their most seen, most watch or most well known. With that in mind this week we want to look one of the less well known KO's by a Kazakh star. This came before the fighter in question became a global star, but is a great sign of what we would later see on a bigger stage!
Gennady Golovkin (21-0, 18) vs Lajuan Simon (23-3-2, 12)
In one corner was "GGG" Gennady Golovkin, a man we would come to all enjoy watching fight. This however wasn't the Golovkin who was ripping up the Middleweight division in the US. Instead this was the Golovkin chasing an opportunity, fighting almost in the depths of boxing a long, long way from the glitz and glamour of Madison Square Garden. This was a 2011 Golovkin. A Golovkin who's biggest win up to this point was against Kassim Ouma. He was a man being avoided in Europe and ignored in the US.
In the opposite corner was the tough, but past his best, Lujuan Simon. The American, who was 32 at this point, had never been stopped but had come up short against the likes Arthur Abrahama and Sebastian Sylvester and Dionisio Miranda. He was rugged, had a bit of name value, but was known as being a step below that of a genuine world class fighter.
Coming in to the bout Golovkin has amassed 18 KO's in 21 bouts. He had stopped his previous 8 in a row and was typically doing so in a round or two. What few would have expected was that he would do the same here against a man who had taken Abraham the distance.
The expectation was that Golovkin would win. Of course he would. But that he would be taken rounds. The thought process was that as long as he had a better result than Abraham he'd be able to put pressure on some fighters for an opportunity, and stop fighting the likes of Milton Nunez and Nilson Julio Tapia.
Golovkin however wanted to prove a point and with just over 2 minutes of the opening round gone Golovkin found a gap for a left hook up top. It landed clean as a whistle as he pivoted and caught Simon perfectly as he came in himself. It was a blink and you miss it shot, but it was perfect.
Simon instantly crashed to the canvas, where he lay motionless for a moment before trying to sit up. He had no idea where he was or how his body worked for a few seconds, as the referee gave Simon the 10 count.
This was a KO that got some buzz in Europe, Boxnation showing the bout in the UK, but sadly it was another 9 months before Golovkin made his US debut, prior to which he had another pointless and easy win over the over-matched Makoto Fuchigami.
Whilst we all know that Golovkin would go on to become a star in the years that followed this win Simon actually fought once more, almost 2 years later, and was stopped by J'Leon Love in 6 rounds, before retiring.
Last time out in "Reliving the Finish" we covered a bout between two debutants in Korea, this time we go a little bit more high profile as we look at a world title bout in Monaco featuring one of the biggest names in the sport over the last 10 years and a popular challenger. The bout certainly not the biggest or most notable bout every, but it was certainly a fight with some international attention and appeal, and one that had media interest from around the boxing world.
Gennady Golovkin (25-0, 22) vs Nobuhiro Ishida (24-8-2, 9)
In March 2013 Kazakh destroyer Gennady Golovkin faced off with Japanese veteran Nobuhiro Ishida in Monte Carlo.
At the time Golovkin was the WBA "regular" and IBO Middleweight champion and was carving out a growing reputation on the global scene as a dangerous boxer-puncher. He had made his US debut the previous September, stopping Grzegorz Proksa and had then beaten Gabriel Rosado into submission in January, also in the US. Following those wins US TV were getting behind him, but he wasn't just fighting in the US as he looked to keep one of the busier schedules of any world champion in the sport.
As one of his non-US bouts Golovkin travelled to Monaco, something he ended up doing again in 2014 and 2015.
In the opposite corner to the hard hitting Kazakh was Ishida, a man best known for his monstrous upset win over James Kirkland in 2011. Sadly since the win over Kirkland Ishida had failed to build on his momentum, but had enough value in is name to face both Paul Williams and the then WBO Middleweight champion Dmitry Pirog in 2012, losing both bouts by decision.
Despite those losses Ishida had proven he was tough, he was durable and the hoipe was that he would extend Golovkin, who had stopped 12 opponents in a row.
Obviously that didn't happen.
The first two rounds had seen Golovkin out box, out speed and out skill Ishida, but he showed the Japanese fighter a lot of respect. He backed off in the first round, picked his shots and scouted Ishida, getting a read on the Japanese fighter. Golovkin put his on the gas in round 2, but Ishida was still holding his own never looked in any real trouble. That was until round 3.
In round 3 Golovkin moved up another gear. He was letting his hands go more and putting more on his shots. Gone were the jabs at range, replaced by uppercuts and hooks up close.
Just over 2 minutes into the round Golovkin landed a brutal right hand as Ishida was going backwards. Usually going backwards would have taken something off the impact, but here it did little. Ishida fell backwards, like he'd been clobbered by a baseball bat, and his backwards momentum sent him partly through the bottom two ropes. His legs in the ring, his upper body outside of it.
Immediately the bout was waved off.
It was a wonderful sight, and a slightly scary one until Ishida regained his bearings.
In the years that followed this bout Golovkin would go on to become one of the biggest names in the sport, landing a string of big fights and adding the WBC and IBF titles to his collection. Ishida on the other hand returned to Japan and had a run at the Japanese Heavyweight, losing a close decision before retiring to set up his own gym in Neyagawa, Osaka.
When it comes to great KO's there are a number of different ways of looking at things. There is the feeling that for a KO to be something special it needs to be at the highest level, and be massively important to the sport at large. We, however, take a different view and feel that the knockout should be judges on it's own merit, irregardless of the quality of the fighters. It is, after all, the KO we're focusing on, not the event, the fighters, or even the fight. With that in mind we want to share one of our favourite KO's from 2019, as we relive the finish!
Ho Joon Jung (0-0) Vs Si Woo Lee (0-0)
Low level action can be really easy to over-look, and often gets next to no love from fans, especially when it's two low level fighters from the East. As a result this can result in great KO's not being seen by enough fans. We certainly feel that was the case in August 2019 when the debuting pair of Ho Joon Jung and Si Woo Lee faced off at the Yanggu Square in a KBC Rookie of the Year bout.
Aged just 15 coming into the bout Jung was a true boxing baby. Whilst we do see a fair few teenagers turning professional in Asia, few turn pro as young as he did and in fairness few were expecting anything of note from him here.
Si Woo Lee was a few years older than his teenager foe but he was just as inexperienced as Jung and there was little available about him as well. He was essentially in a 50-50 novice bout, against a teenager.
Fighting outdoors in what looked like a local fair or something the two young men touched gloved to begin the fight and slowly tried to figure out the opponent. It wasn't the most exciting of contests early on, though Lee quickly took control of center ring. Jung looked more polished, but for the first minute there was little to think were going to see anything too spectacular.
And then the end came, suddenly.
About 80 seconds into the bout the two men stood toe to toe. Lee let his shots go whilst Jung's defense allowed him to avoid them. The Jung turned the tables, landed a gorgeous right-left. Lee was out cold and still standing. As his body shut off he fell forward, onto the shoulder of Jung, who stepped back, sending the unconscious Lee face planting the ring. This was genuinely gorgeous, brutal and brilliant.
For those who think the quality of the fighters involved in a bout matters to a KO, they are missing out things like this, one of the best KO's in recent years!
A lot of the bouts we feature in this series are relatively recent bouts, but today we've decided to go back in terms to 1972 for one of the strangest knockouts we've seen and one at the very highest level of the sport. This was from a Featherweight world title bout, and was a brilliant KO by a man who ripped up the script and scores a huge upset. In the opposite corner was a technically excellent fighter, but one with a weak chin, which proved to be an issue here.
Kuniaki Shibata (35-2-3, 22) vs Clemente Sanchez (38-7-3, 25)
In one corner was brilliant Japanese technical Kuniaki Shibata, one of the most well schooled Japanese fighters from the 1960's and 1970's. Shibata was a great technician, with a fantastic and piston like jab, but he was also blessed with one of the worst chins of any world class Japanese fighter in history. His trainer, and Japanese training legend, Eddie Townsend tried to get him to fight in a way that helped him protect his chin, which had let him down in both of his losses up to this point.
At the time Shibata was the WBC Featherweight champion, having upset the legendary Vicente Saldivar in Mexico in 1970. After his title win he had defended the belt twice before taking on Clemente Sanchez.
Sanchez was much less well known and with 7 losses in 38 bouts he was, understandably, the under-dog for what was his first bout outside of Mexico. On paper this was a big step up in class for Sanchez. Despite his competition being limited, and a number of losses on his record, he was certainly a decent fighter and had scored wins against the likes of Raul Cruz and Tahar Ben Hassen. Coming into this he had been on a fairly destructive run stopping his last 7 and had scored 13 stoppages in his previous 14 bouts. That run had seen him go from a pretty average looking 25-7-2 (12) to a much more impressive looking 38-7-3 (25).
The bout started as a pretty interesting battle between two men looking to take control of the bout and through two rounds it was incredibly close and competitive. Neither guy would really manage to differentiate themselves in either of the first two rounds, with one many having success and the other come back at them. Then we got to round 3.
The round was relatively close until until Sanchez landed a thunderous 1-2, with the right hand sending Shinbata to the seat of his pants. He quickly tried to get to his feet, and for a moment it looked like he was going to be able to continue. Just seconds later however Shibata stumbled, before falling, ending up flat on his back where he took the 10 count.
Despite getting to his feet, Shibata was out cold in what seemed like a delayed reaction knockout. A very weird and unique ending to the bout, which deserves to be seen, and re-seen.
Whilst we know this won't be the only KO like this, it is still a rather odd finish.
Sadly for Sanchez he would the title on the scales before his first defense, whilst Shibata would later go on to have two more reigns as a world champion, both at Super Featherweight.
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).