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 Koji Kobayashi to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
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-The talented Koji Kobayashi is best known for winning the WBC Flyweight title, when he beat Frank Cedeno in early 1984. His reign was however a short one losing in his first defense to Gabriel Bernal. With that loss he became the sixth successive champion to lose the belt without making a successful defense. Another man included in that unfortunate run was Mexican fighter Freddy Castillo.
2-Remarkably Freddy Castillo was only the second Mexican to win the WBC Flyweight title, which has since been won by Gabriel Bernal, Jorge Arce, Juan Hernandez and Julio Cesar Martinez. The first Mexican to win the title was a genuine legend however, and that was Miguel Canto, who ran up an amazing 14 defenses during his legendary 4 year reign between 1975 and 1979.
3-There is no denying the fact that Miguel Canto is one of the greatest Flyweights in the history of the sport. "El Maestro" was a boxing genius and a true world champion. He won the belt in Japan before defending it in Mexico, Venezuela, USA, Japan, Chile and eventually losing it in South Korea. One of the fighters he defended the belt against was Susumu Hanagata, who challenged Canto in May 1976.
4-Fight fans globally probably aren't too familiar with Susumu Hanagata, but in Japan he is a revered figure who was not just a fighter but also a gym owner and has been a major player with in the governance of the sport in Japan, working within the JBC. He is one of the most respect men in Japanese boxing and is someone who really did do it all in the sport, including winning the WBA Flyweight title. Notably he was also the last man to ever beat the legendary Masao Ohba, doing so in 1968 before losing in a rematch to Ohba in 1972.
5-Sadly Masao Ohba passed away when he was still a very young fighter, he was only 23 at the time and was the reigning WBA Flyweight champion. Now, almost 40 years after his death, he is still remembered as one of the best Japanese fighters of all time and someone who was taken far, far too early. As a result of his untimely death he is known as the "Eternal Champion". With 5 defenses of the WBA title he set a record for the title before his death that wasn't beaten until Santos Benigno Laciar's second reign in the 1980's, with Laciar later recording 9 defenses.
6-Argentina's brilliant Santos Benigno Laciar held the WBA Flyweight title twice in the 1980's, losing the belt in his first defense the first time around before recapturing the title and recording 9 defenses between 1982 and 1985. He then moved up in weight and won the WBC Super Flyweight, a title later held by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
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).