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 former Japanese world champion Akinobu Hiranaka to former Thai great Veeraphol Sahaprom.
Just 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-Before turning professional and winning a world title Akinobu Hiranaka was a solid amateur and competed at the 1984 Olympics, as a Welterweight. Another fighter who competed in the same division at the same Olympics was Indonesian fighter Francisco Lisboa.
2-It's fair to say that Francisco Lisboa isn't a particularly well known fighter, though he did manage to do quite a few notable things, including getting international experience in the US, Japan and South Korea and won the OPBF Light Middleweight title in 1988 with an upset win over Carlos Elliot. In one of his final bouts, in 1991, he faced Young Kil Jung.
3-Korean fighter Young Kil Jung is likely known by international fans for 2 bouts. The first is his 1988 loss to Lloyd Honeyghan, where he was KO'd off a low blow, and the second was his 1989 bout with Marlon Starling, which he lost by wide decision. Prior to those bouts he had held both the Korean and OPBF titles at Welterweight, before later claiming the OPBF title at 154lbs. He lost that title after 6 defenses, the same number of defenses that Tadashi Mihara had managed between 1979 and 1981.
4-On November 7th 1981 Tadashi Mihara did something very few Japanese fighters have ever done, won a world title at 154lbs. He claimed that title by narrowly out pointing Rocky Fratto over 15 rounds. The previous Japanese fight to claim a world title at the weight was Maashi Kudo, in 1979.
5-It's fair to stated that Masashi Kudo is the second most successful Japanese fighter at 154lbs, behind Koichi Wajima, and during his reign as the WBA champion he managed to record 3 world title defenses. Before winning the world title he had also notched up 8 defenses of the Japanese Middleweight title, between 1975 and 1978. Since his reign only 1 man has recorded more defenses of the Japanese Middleweight title than Kudo, and that was Satoru Suzuki, who notched 9 defenses.
6-During his Japanese title reign most of Satoru Suzuki's defenses came at Korakuen Hall. One of the ones that didn't was his 4th defense, which saw him scoring a 2nd round KO win against Naoki Kawahara at the Arena in Yokohama. In the main event of that show fans saw Thailand's Veeraphol Sahaprom successfully retain the WBC Bantamweight title, with a draw against Toshiaki Nishioka.
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).