During the long and storied history of professional boxing the sport has had it's share of scumbags, criminals, murderers, and total pieces of shit. The sport draws in the dregs off society. It is a sport forever associated with poverty, hunger, drive, gambling, alcohol and drugs. Rightfully, or wrongly, the sport is seen as sordid, dirty, and disgusting. With that in mind we will be talking about one of the sports more sordid figures here, though we won't be focusing on what he did out of the ring and instead just a single bout of his from 2005.
Whilst we will, one day, go into the career and life of Edwin Valero, the Japanese promoted Venezuelan who killed his wife, today isn't that day, and instead we're going to just look at one of his senational KO's and the reason we, as boxing fans, were so excited about him during his career.
Edwin Valero (15-0, 15) vs Hero Bando (14-7-6, 8)
After making his professional debut in 2002 Edwin Valero went on a sensational run to begin his career, scoring a string of first round T/KO's. Whilst some of his early competition was dreadful, legitimately dreadful, he had began stepping up his quality of opponents in 2005. Later that year he made his Japanese debut, beginning a long association with the country. By this point Valero was 15-0 (15). He had never seen the bell to end round 1, and had already picked up wins in Venezuela, USA, Argentina, and Panama.
For his Japanese debut Valero was up against Hero Bando. Whilst far from a world beater Bando was a decent and accomplished Japanese fighter who had fought against some decent domestic talent. He had been stopped a couple of times, once by the tremendously hard hitting Yuji Watanabe and once by Ryuta Miyagi, but he was certainly no push over. In fact later in his career he went 12 rounds with Takashi Uchiyama, in an OPBF title fight, and 9 rounds with Seiichi Okada, in a Japanese title fight.
Bando was expected to take Valero beyond a round. He was expected to be a test for the Venezuelan. And then we saw Valero do what Valero was doing to everyone else.
Valero came out swinging and after just 15 seconds he put Bando down. Bando got back to his feet but was quickly under pressure as Valero was proving himself to be legit. Bando fought back, out of desperation, but it didn't work and he was taking real punishment until a huge, looping, wide right hook connected clean and sent Band down face first. Prompting the doctor to wave off the contest immediately.
This was proof that Valero really was a dynamite puncher. Bando hadn't just been stopped but was still shaky when he hgt helped to his feet.
As mentioned after this fight Bando went on to have bouts for Japanese and OPBF titles. On the other hand Valero went on to become a 2-weight world champion, winning world titles at 130lbs and 135lbs before his death in 2010, with a record of 27-0 (27), makings him one of the very few world champions to end his career having never tasted defeat as a professional.
Some of the best stoppages come from fighters we don't regard as punches. Today we get to look at one such example from 2006 that helped to prove that a man who wasn't stopping people, genuinely could punch. Not only that but he had really nasty power when he landed the perfect shot. The bout has a genuinely dramatic ending, and sadly it lead to the eventual end for one man, who was never the same, whilst it help boost the other to being one of the biggest names in Asian boxing for around a decade.
Hozumi Hasegawa (19-2, 6) vs Veeraphol Sahaprom (51-2-2, 35) II
In 2005 Japanese fighter Hozumi Hasegawa put him a fantastic and mature performance to over-come Thai great Veeraphol Sahaprom in their first bout. The contest saw Hasegawa become the WBC Bantamweight champion, claiming his first world title. The win for Hasegawa ended a 14 defense reign of the Thai, who had held the title for more than 6 years, and gave Sahaprom his first loss in over 9 years. It was a big upset at the time and a win that really put Hasegawa on the map.
Having lost his title and his long unbeaten run Sahaprom returned to Japan in 2006 to try and reclaim the belt and get revenge over Hasegawa.Following the loss he had gone back to Thailand, picked up 5 wins, stopping 4 of his 5 foes, and had rebuilt some of his aura. He was, however, now 37 and had had 55 pro boxing bouts to go alongside a very long Muay Thai career. He was still a top fighter, but very much a man who had seen better days.
As for the 25 year old Hasegawa this was set to be his second defense following a win over the very poor Gerardo Martinez in September 2005. It was a chance to prove his title win wasn't a fluke and prove that he really was world class.
Through the first 8 rounds the bout was an intriguing one with not much splitting the men up to that point. In fact if anything it seemed that whilst Hasegawa had had a good start Sahaprom was starting to build some momentum through the middle rounds and was starting to come on come on Hasegawa began to throw less, move less and fight the wrong fight against the more physical Sahaprom.
Then we got to round 9 and we got to the finish. It was a blink and you miss it finish. As the two men both threw about 10 seconds into the round Sahaprom dropped to the canvas from a right hand of Hasegawa, following a jab. He tried to beat the count, but his body didn't do what he wanted it to, instead his legs betrayed him, and he ended up on his back.
Watching the shot "as live" it looked somewhat innocuous, like it shouldn't have dropped a legend like Sahaprom. Then we saw the replay and it showed just how perfect the shot was.
The replay showed that the right landed perfectly as a counter Sahaprom's own right hand narrowly missed the target. Whilst it didn't look amazing "live" it had Sahaprom' s coming into the shot, it landed perfectly, and took out the Thai in excellent, fashion. This was brilliant.
With the win Hasegawa legitimised his reign and went on to record a further 8 defenses before later becoming a 3-weight world champion. As for Sahaprom this was pretty much the start of the end for him. Whilst he did score 15 wins before losing in a world title eliminator in 2008 to Vusi Malinga, in what was Sahaprom's last big fight as a professional boxer.
Although they do happen KO's in amateur boxing aren't a regular thing, especially not brutal KO's. That means that when they do happen they are often something beautiful, exciting and brutal. Today we get to share one of those, and amazingly it came in the final of the World Boxing Championships back in 2013. Not only that but it came in a bout between two men who fought a number of times in major competition, but this was the only one of their bouts to end with a brutal finish.
Mahammadrasul Majidov vs Ivan Dychko
Insanely powerful Azer Mahammadrasul Majidov had really made his name in 2011, when he claimed Gold at the World Amateur Championships, beating the likes of Erislandy Savon, Ivan Dychko, the man we'll speak more about in a few moments, and Anhtony Joshua.
Majidov looked like he had rocks in his hands, but was slowly, and a little bit clumsy. When he hit he hurt, but it seemed like he could be out boxed. That's what we ended up seeing in the 2012 Olympics, when he was beaten by Italian great Roberto Cammarelle in the semi-finals. In 2013 he was looking to become a 2-time World Amateur Champion and reached the final with no issues at all, and actually got revenge over Cammarelle.
In the final he was up against brilliant Kazakh Ivan Dychko, who had won bronze in the 2012 Olympics, just like Majidov, and had also won silvers at the AIBA Youth Championships in 2008 and Asian Games in 2010. He was regarded as a brilliant talent and looked like he was on the way to becoming one of the major faces of amateur boxing. In the 2011 World Amateur Championships he had lost a decision to Majidov in the semi-final and was looking to avenge that loss 2 years later when he got a second shot at the Azeri in a World Championships.
Dychko, unlike Majidov, looked like a very polished boxer-puncher. He moved like a natural athlete, despite being a giant, standing at 6'9". He looked, in some ways, like a future super giant for the professionals, following in the footsteps of other huge athletic fighters like Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis, both of whom were notably shorter than him.
The bout actually began well for Dychko. He had done enough to win the first 2 rounds, and heading into round 3 it appears he was finally going to get a big victory over the big Azeri. He was up 20-18 on the scorecards of all 3 judges and just had to avoid being knockdown Majidov however wasn't going to just hand over gold and just seconds into the round he cornered Dychko.
That's where we start here, with Majidov dropping Dychko hard about 15 seconds into the round. The Kazakh giant got back to his feet, he looked shaken but was up for seconds with Majidov landing another monster right turning Dychko's lights out before a sneaky left helpd him down for a second time.
Whilst the Kazakh wasn't unconscious he needed assistance getting to his feet and looked shaken when he was taken over to his chair in the corner.
This isn't the most stunning of KO's, compared to some of the clean knockouts, but given this was amateur boxing, this was a World Amateur Championships final, this was amazing.
Last time out in this series we looked at a body shot KO, this week we are back to head shots, facing planting victims and a genuine hidden gem of a KO from Japan that deserves a lot more people seeing it than we thing have already witnessed it. In the grand scheme of things is a pretty obscure KO but a brutal one all the same, and surprisingly it came in a rematch of a bout between two men who had gone 10 rounds with each other just over a year earlier.
Satoru Suzuki (12-3, 7) vs Mitsuharu Yamamoto (12-7-4, 5) II
In April 2000 Satoru Suzuki took a 10 round decision win over Mitsuharu Yamamoto in what was, at the time, a credible step up in class for Suzuki.
Just 4 months after that win Suzuki won the Japanese Middleweight title, stopping Naotaka Hozumi in 8 rounds, and made his first defense in November 2000, blowing out Ikuo Yamanaka. He was taken the distance in his second defense, winning a close and competitive bout against Minoru Horiuchi, before rematch Yamamaoto in June 2001.
Whilst Suzuki had gone from strength to strength, winning the Japanese title and making a couple of defenses, Yamamoto had struggled. He had beaten former OPBF title challenger Sung Chun Lee, but also been stopped by former Suzuki foe Naotaka Hozumi, who stopped him in 7. He seemed to be coming to the end of his career, and despite not having a lot of fights he had taken a lot of punishment.
For Yamamoto this was likely to be his last chance. He had already come up short in bouts for Japanese and OPBF titles and was seemingly only getting a shot on the back of going 12 with Suzuki in their first bout. He certainly hadn't done anything since to earn a crack. For Suzuki this was a chance to stop one of the few men who had managed to last 10 rounds with him.
The first round was a rather good one, given that most opening rounds are a bit tame. It felt more like round 11 in their rivalry than round 1 of fight #2. It wasn't all action packed but there was some intense moments with both men letting heavy shots go. To his credit Yamamoto was the one coming forward, proving himself to be a real handful, despite his poor recent form. Sadly for Yamamoto however his effort didn't yield much in terms of results.
In round 2 we again saw the challenger giving things a go, and mid way through the rounds he had Suzuki near the ropes. He seemed to think he had a chance of getting to the champion, but was instead caught by a right hand, and soon afterwards a left, which left him wobbling. Suzuki sensed a finish was there and let loose with a salvo of head shots. Yamamoto managed to create some space before an uppercut caught him, and then a dynamite right hand. The right hand sent Yamamoto crashing to the canvas. He took a few seconds to before moving, only to look totally lost as he regained consciousness but had no idea where he was.
This is one of the many KO's that look amazing in real time and is well worth checking out the slow mo for as well, showing just how clean the finishing shot was.
Sadly for Yamamoto this would be his final professional bout. As for Suzuki he would go on to hold the Japanese Middleweight title until 2003, and then reclaim it in 2005. When he hung up the gloves Suzuki had amassed an stellar 23-6 (15) record and been one of the top Japanese Middleweights from 2000 to 2005.
We spoke recently about KO's where a fighter goes down face first, and how graphic they look. We've also mentioned how a fighter can get to their feet and not really have any idea where they are. They are two types of KO and today we look at another type, a body shot KO. A shot where the victim is essentially rendered in so much agony from a shot to the body that they can't beat the count, and sometimes can't even attempt to get to their feet. Today we're going to look at a rather obscure body shot KO, but a brutal one all the same.
Yuji Gomez (9-0, 8) vs Siengthip Sitsyasei (3-6, 1)
Although not too well known in the west Eugenio Gomez, better known as Yuji Gomez, was a Japanese based American born fighter who made a reputation a destructive fighter on the Japanese Featherweight scene. In his first 9 bouts only one had gone beyond a round, and that was his 4 round decision win over Hirotaka Aiuchi in 1999. Gomez was ripping through fighters for fun and was destroying both domestic fighters and visitors. In 2000 he had scored 3 opening round wins before taking on Thai foe Siengthip Sitsyasei.
It's fair to say that few will know anything about Siengthip Sitsyasei. He had fought for the Thai Super Bantamweight title in 1991 and then seemingly vanished from boxing for 8 years before returning in 1999 and losing to In Jin Chi, Yuji Watanabe and Eiichi Suguma, all by stoppage. Coming in to his first with Gomez his record was, reportedly, 3-6 with his last win coming more than 9 years earlier against Nungthai Sitamporn.
For all intents and purposes this was a mismatch. The rampaging Gomez was taking on a limited fighter who was without a win in years and was picking up stoppage losses. That however didn't mean Gomez was going to take it lightly on the Thai. Instead Gomez wanted his 7th straight opening round stoppage.
From the off Gomez was aggressive and about a minute into the fight he has Siengthip on the ropes. From there he let his shots go, landing one left to the body, a right uppercut slipped through the guard, as the Thai bent over a left glanced his head then another left to the body. Down went the Thai and nobody needed to count. Siengthip wasn't getting up. Instead he was left writhing in agony at damn near being split in half from the two devastating left hooks to the mid-section.
Whilst this isn't the biggest KO, or the best it's one of those finishes that leaves you wincing knowing that Siengthip will be urinating blood the following day and will not be on solid food for a while. His insides will have felt this one for a few days afterwards.
The sport has a lot of different type's of KO's, but it's fair to say that one of the favourites for fans is where the recipient face plants the ring. For whatever reason they always look extra brutal, vicious and nasty. When a fighter goes down face first it rarely matters how they were sent down we can be pretty sure they aren't beating the counting. Today we get to share a rather obscure face first KO from 2003 that we don't think many in the West will have seen, but it's a brutal finish and deserves to be seen by all.
Masakazu Satake (18-2-4, 11) vs Richard Reina (10-0, 9)
By October 2003 Japanese fighter Masakazu Satake was edging towards a big bout. The Light Welterweight had recorded 9 defenses of the OPBF title, and had, just a fight earlier, scored an eye catching win over Filipino fighter Dindo Castanares, which we covered recently in this series. He seemed within touching distance of his US debut but still had a job to do and couldn't afford to see his momentum drop so close to a big fight.
Looking to derail Satake's rise was unbeaten Venezuelan puncher Richard Reina, who had taken out former Satake opponent Dindo Castanares in just 2 rounds 3 months before facing Satake. Although still a relative novicee Reina was regarded as a promising fighter, who had scored 9 straight stoppages, taken the Venezuelan title, and had blasted 6 opponents out in the opening round. Not only had Reina been racking up wins in Venezuela but he'd also scored wins in Colombia and Japan.
The first round of the fight was a relatively quiet one, though there was a point mid way through where Reina caught Satake and seemed to make the Japanese fighter fully aware that he was dangerous. Satake did however box well through the round, fought smartly and used his foot work to avoid too many exchanges with the hard hitting visitor.
In round 2 we again saw Reina on the front foot, throwing calculated bombs whilst Satake boxed and moved picked his spots and showed real respect of Reina's power. That was until late in the round when Satake managed to rock Reina, who seemed to look for a breather on the ropes. Satake sensed something and applied pressure before luring Reina to throw a right hand, and drop his guard. Almost instantly Satake came back with a right hand of his own, right on the chin.
Instantly the lights turned off and Reina crashed against the canvas falling face down in brilliant catching fashion.
Sadly for Satake he would go 1-2 after this fight before hanging up the gloves following a loss to Jung Bum Kim. Reina on the other hand would go 2-3 before retiring with a 12-4 (11) record, never looking the same after this brutal KO loss.
One of the most bizarre things about this sport is how a fighter reacts to having their senses scrambled. We all love the clean KO, where a fighter is flat out on the canvas, but sometimes things don't go that way. Another one we see is a fighter who, for all intents and purposes, is awake, but there senses are so screwed up that their legs and brain aren't quite in sync. They are are up right but have no idea where they are, where they want to be, or even who they are. Today we feature a finish that makes it seem like the recipient got drunk off a punch. They are stood up, but their legs really have no idea where they are, what they are doing, or what they are connected to.
Masakazu Satake (17-2-4, 10) vs Dindo Castanares (12-0-1, 9)
In 1999 Masakazu Satake claimed the OPBF Light Welterweight title, taking a close decision over Jong Kil Kim. He would defend the title numerous times whilst moving towards bigger bouts. During his reign he proved he could box or fight running up 8 defenses before April 2003. Included in those defenses were wins over notable fighters, like Rick Yoshimura and Hiroyuki Sakamoto. Despite being the champion though he hadn't been thought of as a KO artist, with just 10 early wins in his first 23 bouts. He would later go on to prove he did have genuine fight ending power, especially in 2003.
Part of what changed perception about Satake was his April 2003 bout against Filipino challenger Dindo Castanares.
Coming in Castanares was an unbeaten with a record that suggested he had solid pop in his shots. He hadn't scored any wins of note, and was stepping up, but seemed full of confidence and was certainly not there to just make up the numbers. He want the Oriental title. What ended up happening sadly began the downfall of his career and left him proving his toughness but having a rather remarkable KO loss to his name.
Through the first 7 rounds Satake boxed well and, for the most part, controlled the action against a man there to take his title away. Although Castanares was stepping up massively he wasn't embarrassing himself, and was giving a very credible effort, despite coming off second best against the champion. He seemed to be building his self belief and confidence, and although clearly behind he was giving the champion a genuine test.
And then we got to round 8, which was another round that saw the Filipino testing the champion, coming forward and being a nightmare for the more naturally talented champion. That nightmare came to an end with just over 70 seconds of the round left, as Satake landed a right hook high on the head of Castanares. The Filipino recovered to his feet quickly, but stumbled one way, then another, and another, as the referee continued the mandatory 8 count. Castanares continued to some how remain up right whilst stumbling all over the place. It was clear that whilst he was up he wasn't fit to continue. In fact looking at him, he likely would have failed a sobriety test. He looked drunk, as his body tried to get a hold of where he was.
This wasn't the most brutal of finishes, but was still a brilliant finish with a rather unique reaction from the man who was stopped. Sadly after this bout Castanares was never the same, going 4-6-1 before retiring from the sport. As for Satake he wouldn't really fight on much longer going 2-2 after this fight, though he did score a KO that we'll look at in the next "Reliving the Finish" in 2 weeks time!
After sharing a number of videos in this series where the Asian fighter scored the spectacular finish we've decided it's only fair to mix things up and in this "Reliving the Finish" we look at a recent KO that saw the Asian fighter left flat on his back after a short, but brutal bout in Australia.
Jon Jon Jet (10-0, 8) Vs Luke Boyd (7-0, 7)
The Asian fighter in question was Indonesian fighter Jon Jon Jet, a promising youngster with power of his own. In his 10 bouts up to this point Jet had stopped 8 opponents, with 7 of those 8 stoppages coming in the first 3 rounds. The 25 year old was one of the few Indonesians who seemed to be heading in the right direction, but was desperately in need of a step up in class. Rather than stepping up he leaped up from low level domestic competition to hard hitting international level fighters as he travelled to Australia and took on rock fisted Australian Luke Boyd.
Although Boyd wasn't a big name the 32 year old was a brute, a crude, big punching brute who had fought at a higher level than Jet. Although not a very good boxer Boyd had that nasty power, and knew that, at this sort of level, that power could be a game changer. Prior to facing on Jet he had scored 5 wins in the opening round, and his only bout that went beyond 2 rounds saw him taking out Robert Trigg, who had been out boxing him, in the 6th round.
On paper it seemed hard to imagine this one going the distance and from the first bell neither man looked like they wanted this one to go long. Sadly for Jet his power couldn't bother Boyd. Boyd's power however did hurt Jet, and did so quickly.
Just seconds into the fight Jet felt the power of the Australian and backed off. That didn't stop Boyd from going for the kill, getting Jet into the corner and unloading a vicious onslaught. Jet managed to battle his way off the ropes but quickly ate a single right hand right in the chin, sending him down, hard, to become the 8th victim of Boyd and his power.
This is brutal finish of a man who simply out of his depth against a monster puncher. A very nasty finish and one of 2019's most under-rated and under-seen KO's.
Last time we did one of these we spoke about magic moments in boxing, and then went on to share Yuichi Kasai knocking the gumshield out of Osamu Nagaishi's mouth in brilliant KO. Today we have another similarly obscure but brutal moment, though this time it's from South Korea, feature two debutants and probably the smallest ring we've ever seen. This was one of those gems that 99.9% of the boxing community will never have seen, whilst those who have seen it have likely rewatched it. Several times.
Jin Su Kim (0-0) Vs Andrew Silva (0-0)
In one corner was Korean teenager Jin Su Kim, an 18 year old southpaw from Ansan who was making his professional debut. Stood at 5'10" he had a long and lanky frame at Welterweight, and towered over his opponent.
That opponent was Korean based Canadian Andrew Silva, a 26 year old who looked like a man compared to the boy he was up against. Silva, like Kim, was also making his debut but at 5'5" he was giving away significant height and reach to the youngster.
The reality is that very little was known about either man at the time. In fact back in May 2015, when the bout took place, Silva was known by just his first name of "Andrew", causing further intrigue into the bout among the curious of the hardcore.
When the referee was giving the two men their instructions two things were clear. The ring was tiny and Kim looked like he was a foot taller than Silva. Their may have only been 5" difference in height but it looked more. The two men looked like they belonged in very different weight classes.
From the opening bell Kim looked to use his physical advantages boxing at range, not an easy task in such a small ring. Silva came forward trying to rough up the youngster but nothing in the first 2 minutes hinted at what we were about to see.
Almost out of nowhere Kim landed a perfect 1-2, with his straight left instantly turning off Silva's lights as the Canadian's crashed face first into the canvas. He was out cold down for quite a few seconds before his team helped him.
We don't imagine many have seen this KO, despite the fact it took place more than 5 years ago, but it's one that really does need to be seen, rewatched and relived! It's that good!
One of the truly brilliant things about this sport is how many amazing moments are completely obscure and unknown by the wider boxing world. The little moments that we want to share, the little moments that deserve to be watched time and time again. The moments that are, for all intents, buried deep in the history of this amazing sport we all follow. We might all find the sport annoying and irritating at times, but the reason we watch are for those magical moments that fill you with a sense of satisfaction. Today we have one such moment that is buried deep within boxing history, but is something we feel will given every fight fan that feeling they get when they see something special happen in the sport.
And oh boy is this a lost moment from 1989.
Yuichi Kasai (1-0, 1) v Osamu Nagaishi (0-0)
We suspect hardcore fans may recognise Yuichi Kasai's name. The talented Japanese fighter would run up a 24-4-1 (15) record during his professional career that ran from 1989 to 1997. His career saw him fight in 3 world title bouts, lost to Wilfredo Vazquez in 1994 and Antonio Cermeno in 1996 and 1997, all in bouts for the WBA Super Bantamweight title. After finishing his in ring career he would go on to become a noted trainer in Japan and is still very highly regarded for his training work.
After making his debut, against Unchain Kaji, Kasai's second opponent was Osamu Nagaishi.
From what we understand Nagaishi was making his debut, though Japanese records on boxrec from this time are incomplete, and really little was known about him. Even now, more than 30 years on from this bout, we really don't know much about Nagaishi.
The first round of the bout had been relatively undramatic with both men looking happy to box at range and use their jabs. It was relatively drama-less, until the final 30 seconds, but Kasai did look the better boxer and was the one pressing for the most part. It wasn't an exciting round, but that wasn't a surprise given it was two men with just a combined single professional bout between at the time.
In round 2 Kasai moved through the gears, realising that Nagaishi had little to really threaten him with. The future world champion kept backing up his foe and was proving to be the much better fighter, with Nagaishi trying to fighting back and create space. Kasai managed to hurt his man mid way through the round and Nagaishi then took a solid combination. He backed up again, looking to recover but Kasai followed him and launched this monstrous right hand that sent Nagaishi's gumshield into the 10th row and flattened his man.
This as a clean a KO shot you're likely to see, and with gumshield flying it really does make for one of those magic moments.
This is a finish to relive and we get lucky as their was a slow motion replay as well showing the gumshield fly in brilliant fashion.
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).