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 Takashi Uchiyama to former Filipino world champion Eric Jamili.
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 his success in the professional ranks Takashi Uchiyama was a very impressive amateur, who numerous titles in the unpaid ranks. That included a number of Japanese National titles, including one in 2002, at 60KG's. At the very same tournament we also saw Yu Kimura pick up a championship win, down at 48KG's.
2-As a professional Yu Kimura had an interesting and notable career after turning professional in 2006. His most notable achievement was winning the WBC Light Flyweight title, with an upset win over Pedro Guevara in 2015. Prior to that however he had been a key figure on the Japanese domestic scene and shared the ring with a number of notable Japanese fighters. They included Tatsuya Fukuhara, who he beat in 2013.
3-When we look back on his career Tatsuya Fukuhara will not go down as a legend, despite that he won the Japanese and WBO Minimumweight titles and was the face of boxing in Kumamoto for the best part of a decade. He also fought to a draw with Fahlan Sakkreeerin Jr and twice challenged Wanheng Menayothin for the WBC Minimumweight title, an was the opponent for Takuma Inoue's professional debut. That bout with Inoue came on a card headlined by Akira Yaegashi, in December 2013.
4-During his long and successful career Akira Yaegashi won world titles in 3 weight classes and had a genuinely excellent career. Sadly though he also suffered a number of painful losses, where his toughness and heart saw him taking prolonged punishment. The one strange exception to that was his IBF Light Flyweight title loss in 2017 to Milan Melindo. That bout saw Yaegashi being taken out in the first round by the talented Filipino.
5-Before winning the IBF Light Flyweight title Milan Melindo had won a number of minor titles, such as regional and youth belts. The first of those was the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title, which he won in October 2007. Interestingly the previous champion to Melindo was Donnie Nietes.
6-The excellent Donnie Nietes was always closely affiliated with the WBO, winning the WBO Minimumweight title in 2007 before later winning the WBO Light Flyweight and Super Flyweight titles. He was actually the second Filipino to win the WBO Minimumweight title, following in the footsteps of Eric Jamili, who won the belt in 1997. Interesting that title win saw Jamili become the first Filipino to win a WBO world title, at any weight.
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).