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 world champion Ji won Kim to the legendary Jung Koo Chang.
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-Although best known for retiring as an unbeaten world champion Ji Won Kim did hold 2 lesser titles before winning the IBF Super Bantamweight title later in his career. One of those belts was the South Korean Super Bantamweight title and the other was the OPBF Super Bantamweight title. Another man to have held that OPBF title is Filipino fighter Willie Lucas, who seemingly won the belt in just his 4th professional bout.
2-Filipino fighter Willie Lucas was fast tracked early in his career, reportedly beginning his career in 10 rounders. The reason he was moved so quickly was his amateur success, which had included winning a Bronze medal at the 1974 Asian Games. Another fighter who won a Bronze medal at those same Asian Games was Japan's Noboru Uchiyama.
3-Although he never turned professional, due to suffering injuries when he was an amateur, Noboru Uchiyama was a very talented amateur. He went to the Olympics, won the Asian Games Bronze medal and claimed a Silver medal at the 1975 Asian Championships. Another man who claimed a Silver medal at the 1975 Asian Championships was Thailand's Payao Poontarat, who did turn professional after his amateur success.
4-After turning professional Payao Poontarat had a short but notable professional career. He fought just 14 times in the paid ranks, but was fast tracked from his 1981 debut, fighting for an OPBF title in his third professional bout and winning the WBC Super Flyweight title in his 9th bout. Sadly for Poontarat his reign was a short one, and came to an end in a very controversial bout against Jiro Watanabe in 1984, in the first of two bouts between the two men.
5-Prior to his bouts with Poontarat Japan's Jiro Watanabe had won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, back in February 1980. He notably beat future world champion Koji Kobayashi in his Rookie final. Despite being the most famous of that year's winners Watanabe wasn't the only man to win the Rookie of the Year that year before winning a world title, another fighter who did just that was Katsuo Tokashiki.
6-The talented Katsuo Tokashiki won the WBA Light Flyweight title in his 16th bout, at the age of 21. Sadly his reign was a relatively short one, lasting less than 2 years before he lost the belt to nemesis Lupe Madera, in their third bout. In his final professional contest Tokashiki challenged the then WBC champion Jung Koo Chang, in what is a truly brilliant bout. Sadly Tokashiki suffer his sole stoppage loss at the hands of the Korean Hawk, before retiring at the age of 24. It also helped solidify Chang as an elite level Light Flyweight, with the bout serving as his 4th defense of the WBC title.
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).