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).