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 a former Thai world champion to a former Japanese world, as we connect Venice Borkhorsor and Japanese bad boy Jiro Watanabe.
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-In the early 1970's Venice Borkhorsor was the WBC Flyweight champion, winning the belt in 1972 before vacating it to move up in weight. Another Thai southpaw who held that title was Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, who pretty much monopolised the title during his pomp.
2-The legendary Pongsaklek Wonjongkam had a number of notable rivals, but his biggest rivalry was with Daisuke Naito. The two men fought 4 times during their rivalry, and it really was a well matched 4 bout series.
3-Talking about 4 bout series between Thai and Japanese fights at world level it's impossible not to mention just how amazing the 4 fight series between Veeraphol Sahaprom and Toshiaki Nishioka. That series saw the two men battling for the WBC Bantamweight title, and although Nishioka failed to win any of the 4 bouts it helped establish him as a top contender, and helped further strengthen Veeraphol's reputation as an top tier fighter.
4-Another legendary rivalry at Bantamweight was between the iconic pairing of Eder Jofre and Fighting Harada, both of whom are widely considered the best their nations have ever had. Jofre, a brilliant Brazilian, only ever lost to Harada, with both of his defeats coming to the Japanese great.
5-Prior to beating Eder Jofre for the unified Bantamweight titles Fighting Harada had already established himself as a solid fighter and had previously won the WBA Flyweight title, way back in 1962, more than 2 years before his first bout with Jofre. Prior to winning a world title however Harada's first notable achievement as a professional was winning the 1960 All Japan Rookie of the Year, beating future friend and world champion Hiroyuki Ebihara in the final.
6-Another All Japan Rookie of the Year Flyweight winner, who beat a future world champion in the final, was Jiro Watanabe. Watanabe won the 1980 tournament, stopping future WBC Flyweight champion Koji Kobayashi in the final.
(Images courtesy of JPBF and Komthai)
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).