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 a former Thai world champion to a former Japanese world, as we connect Indonesian boxing great Chris John to multi-time Thai world title challenger Terdsak Kokietgym.
J1ust 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-Indonesian fighter Chris John is arguably the most significant fighter from the country. Although he was only a 1-time world champion, unlike Elly Pical who was a 3 time champion and Muhammad Rachman who was twice a world champion, he had the longest reign, most world title defenses and most significant single reign. In fact comparing his reign of the WBA Featherweight title to the other reigns by Indonesian fighters is pretty unfair given how much stronger John's reign was. Before he won a world title John had a number of wins of note, the most notable of which was his 2002 win over Ratanachai Sor Vorapin.
2-Following his loss to John in 2002 Ratanachai Sor Vorapin went on to win the WBO Bantamweight champion. He won the title in 2004, when he beat Cruz Carbajal, and would lose it in his second defense, to Jhonny Gonzalez in October 2005. Gonzalez would himself lose the title to Gerry Penalosa.
3-The Penalosa name is one of the most iconic in Filipino boxing, and Gerry was one of three fighting brothers, from the second generation of the family to fight. Gerry, along with Dodie Boy and Jonathan were all sons of Carl Penalosa, who fought in the 1960's.
4-Whilst Carl Penalosa wasn't as successful as some of the fighters that followed in his footsteps, including Gerry and Dodie Boy, he was actually a pretty solid fighter in his day, despite what he records states. Notably he defeated future world champion Pedro Adigue Jr for the Filipino Lightweight title in 1963. Whilst he lost it in his first defense, in a rematch with Adigue, that was a big win, and one that now, almost 60 years later, stands out as a great win.
5-Now, years on from Penalosa's reign, the current Filipino Lightweight champion is Roldan Aldea, who has held the title since 2018 and has defended the title twice. Although not a star Aldea is certainly an interesting fighter and someone who has proven to be an upset minded boxer-puncher, as we saw last year when he stopped Mikhail Alexeev.
6-In 2015 Roldan Aldea made his international debut, and lost in 4 rounds to multi-time world title challenger Terdsak Kokietgym. Although he never won a world title Terdsak did challenge the likes of Takahiro Ao and Steve Luevano for full versions of world titles and battled Juan Manuel Marquez and Orlando Salido for interim titles in a 14 year, 68 fight career.
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).