For this edition of Remarkable Rounds we're looking at one of the most one sided rounds ever, but it was a round that set the stage for what would later become one of the most astonishing comebacks we've ever seen. This is a round from 1977, and came in front of a super hot crowd in Panama as a Korean warrior faced a rising teenage star for the newly created WBA Super Bantamweight.
Soo Hwan Hong (39-4-3, 13) vs Hector Carrasquilla (11-0, 11)
Korean fighter Soo Hwan Hong was a 27 year old who had made his debut way back in 1969, actually fighting to a draw in his debut. In the years that followed he managed to make a good name for himself, winning the South Korean, OPBF and WBA Bantamweight titles. His biggest career win, up to this point, had been a big win in South Africa against Arnold Taylor for the WBA Bantamweight title in 1974. Sadly his reign didn't last long, and he ran into the brilliant Alfonso Zamora in 1975 before losing a rematch to Zamora in 1976. The following year he moved up in weight won a world title eliminator in a 12 round bout with Futaro Tanaka in October the following month travelled to Panama for this bout.
Aged just 17 Hector Carrasquilla was seen as one of the rising stars of Panama. He had made his debut in 1976 and had rapidly risen through the ranks. His first 9 bouts all finished in the first 2 rounds and he looked like a sensational prospect. In his 10th bout he was taken 7 rounds by Andres Torres but continued his destructive run and then he booked his place in a title fight by stopping Jesus Esparragoza in 3 rounds in August 1977.
On paper this was meant to be the coronation of Carrasquilla. He was fighting in front of huge support at the Gimnasio Nuevo Panama, Panama City and in round 2 that coronation looked like it was about to happen.
The first part of the round started with Carrasquilla boxing really well behind his jab before Hong managed to get inside. Being inside may have neutralised Carrasquilla's jab but not his power and about 70 seconds into the round Hong was dropped. The crowd went crazy anticipating another early win for the local star. Hong got up, but was down for a second time only 20 seconds later. Again Hong got up, ready to continue and he took the fight immediately to Carrasquilla, looking to smother the local, before being dropped a third time.
Once again, Hong would get up, then he would be dumped down for a fourth time. With more than 30 seconds left to survive it seemed we were set for Panama to crown it's new king and the two traded bombs to the bell.
This was sensational stuff from Carrasquilla, with his power, and Hong, with his heart and determination. This is a round that needs to be seen and is part of a great fight that amazingly saw Hong bounce back to win giving us one of the best, and most surprising, comebacks ever.
With our recent facts articles all focusing on single fighters we've decided to do one with a twice this weekend as we look at Asian fighters who won a world title but failed to win their professional debuts! We were surprised to find so many of these, but there was actually quite a few, in fact there was more than 25 world champions from Asia who either lost on debut, or drew on debut. Many of these aren't big names, but on the whole they all deserve a lot more attention than they get
1-Whilst we found lots of champions who have debuted in 6 rounders and even a few who debuted in bouts scheduled for 8, such as Naoya Inoue very recently. It is rare, so rare in fact that we could only find two world champions from Asia who debuted in an 8 rounder and lost, before winning a world title. The first of those was Frank Cedeno, the British Filipino fighter who beat Charlie Magri in Wembley for the WBC Flyweight title in 1983, we'll get on to the second later in this article!
2-Korea's second ever world champion Soo Hwan Hong, who is also the first Korean to win titles in more than 1 weight class, draw on his debut to the debuting Sang Il Kim. Coincidentally his career also ended on a draw, as he fought to a stalemate with fellow former world champion Dong Kyun Yum, in what was Hong's 51st bout. That was also Yum's final bout. Incidentally Sang Il Kim's record is 0-1-1.
3-Former WBA Super Flyweight champion Hyung Chul Lee lost 3 of his first 4 bouts, including his debut. Strangely his career ended going full circle and he would also lose his final 2 bouts, both against Alimi Goitia, with only 1 loss in the middle of his career. He would end up with a career record of 19-6 (15)
4-China's first ever male world champion, Xiong Zhao Zhong, fought to a draw on debut. Aged 23 at the time Zhong fought to a 4 round draw with Lingfeng Yu. Yu ended his career 0-6-1, and his only non-loss was the bout to Zhong!
5-Another world champion who fought to a draw on debut was Kwanthai Sithmorseng, who fought to a draw with Nakhon Muensa in June 2005. Kwanthai last fought in June 2019, and despite a draw on his debut he had now gone 56 straight fights without another draw, going 49-7 since that debut draw.
6-Our research suggests that Sho Kimura is the only Asian world champion to have been knocked out on debut! Even more surprising is the fact that Kimura has since built a reputation on being an incredibly tough competitor with a great gas tank. Not the type of fighter you'd think was blown away in 75 seconds on debut!
7-Filipino fighter Manny Melchor retired with a record of 38-35-6 (6), following a loss on his debut. This record makes the former IBF Minimumweight champion one of the very few world champions with a sub 50% winning record.
8-Staying with Manny Melchor, he won just 1 of his first 9 bouts! Starting his career 1-6-2. Things actually took a long time to get better for the Filipino who was 8-8-2 (2) after 18 bouts and didn't have more wins than losses until his 27th bout, when he beat Angelo Escobar to advance his record to 13-12-2 (4)
9-Incidentally the man that Melchor beat for the IBF Minimumweight title, Fahlan Sakkreerin Snr also lost on his debut, losing an 8 round decision, to Chana Porpaoin, who was fighting for just the second time. What makes this bout rather remarkable is that BOTH men would go on to win world titles! Porpaoin would would be a 2-time WBA Minimumweight champion whilst Sahlan would be an IBF Minimumweight champion. Yes, Fahlan was the second of the fighters to lose in an 8 rounder on debut, though of course the more notable fact here was who he lost to!
10-Korean fighter Sung Jun Kim strangely began his career 0-1-1, with his debut being a loss and then his second being a draw, both to the same opponent, In Soo Lim. As with some of the other opponents mentioned these were Lim's only bouts Kim also had a loss and a draw, later in his career, to Hong Soo Yang, and ended his career in 1982 with a loss, book ending his career with losses.
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).