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 Thai world champion Veraphol Sahaprom, to Japanese star Naoya Inoue.
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-Former 2-time Bantamweight champion Veeraphol Sahaprom had a genuinely excellent professional boxing career, going a stellar 66-4-2 (46) during his time in the sport, which ran from 1994 to 2010. During his career he was stopped 3 times with the final one of those stoppages coming in 2008, when he was stopped in 4 rounds by South African fighter Vusi Malinga, in what would actually be Sahaprom's final loss in professional boxing.
2-The talented Vusi Malinga was one of the more notable South African fighters of his era, fighting some of the top fighters in and around the Bantamweight. They included Sahaprom, Hozumi Hasegawa, Leo Santa Cruz, Stuart Hall and Gavin McDonnell. Sadly he failed to pick up a world title but did pick up a number of minor titles, including the WBC International Bantamweight title, a belt that was also held by Thailand's Rocky Chitalada.
3-The hard hitting Rocky Chitalada racked up an impressive 16-3 (15) record during his short career, that spanned from 1985 to 1988. On the same card as Rocky's debut fans also saw the criminally under-rated Noree Jockeygym, aka Visan Thummong. Sadly it wasn't a day to remember for Noree, who suffered his first career loss on the show.
4-One of the most remarkable fights featuring Noree Jockeygym saw him travel over to Japan and suffer a loss to the then rising Japanese star Naoto Takahashi, with Takahashi looking a beaten man in round 2 before turning things around in round 3. Notably the two men would rematch the following year, with Noree exacting revenge over Takahashi, who looked shot fighter in their rematch.
5-Although not a well known fighter in the West Naoto Takahashi was one of the most popular Japanese fighters in the mid-to late 1980's and early 1990's. He was known as the "Prince of the Reversal", due to his amazing comebacks, but sadly his career was cut short due to a brain injury suffered in 1991. After his in ring career was over Takahashi worked with Jyoji Morikawa at the JB Sports gym. That's the same Jyoji Morikawa who created the brilliant Hajime No Ippo series, and in fact based a character on Takahashi!
6-In recent years Jyoji Morikawa has continued his success with Hajima No Ippo, the JB Sports gym and has also had his art work featured on the front cover of Ring Magazine. That Ring magazine cover was actually a Morikawa drawn piece of Naoya Inoue that he did in 2019, in one of the most unique Ring magazaine covers of all time.
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).