Flyweight World Champions & Their Championship Fights (112lbs)
Although the flyweight class, created by the NSC in 1909, had produced several claimants it was only when Jimmy Wilde had beaten Joe Symonds on 14 February 1916 that solid recognition came his way. With Wilde recognised as the best in the world by the great majority in Britain and Europe, his meeting with Johnny Rosner, one of the best in America, should be seen as a world title fight. While I can only find 38 published contests for Rosner, most of them being no-decision bouts, he had mixed with very best in America, including Battling Reddy, Artie Simons, Pete Herman and Joe Tuber, and had twice taken newspaper decisions off the Young Zulu Kid. Wilde, who was well on the way to becoming a legend of the ring, was so light that he gave weight away to virtually everyone he fought. With just one loss to Tancy Lee in 119 published fights, he had already beaten men of the calibre of Bill Kyne, Eugene Husson, Alf Mansfield, Joe Symonds (2), Sid Smith (3), George Clarke, Tommy Noble and Sam Kellar. Despite the publicity engendered, Rosner, who was claiming the American title, had little right to call himself the leading man in the country according to Charlie Austin, the Mirror of Life’s American correspondent.
24 April 1916. Jimmy Wilde w rtd 11 (20) Johnny Rosner
Venue: The Stadium, Liverpool, England. Recognition: World. Referee: Eugene Corri.
Fight Summary: Articled for the world 112lbs title, the brave Rosner proved no match for the brilliant Wilde and was finally rescued when his corner threw in the towel. At no time did Rosner look like winning, despite him being a solid puncher, and cut over the left eye and taking a solid beating in almost every round it was a miracle that he managed to remain upright.
26 June 1916. Jimmy Wilde w rsc 11 (20) Tancy Lee
Venue: NSC, Covent Garden, London, England. Recognition: World. Referee: J. H. Douglas.
Fight Summary: Billed for the British, European and world titles, on winning Wilde put a second notch on the 112lbs Lonsdale Belt. Prior to the contest, Lee said that his main chance of winning would come if he could get Wilde against the ropes. Although he managed to do that on occasion the little man was able to slip away to batter Lee from the outside, often scoring at will. Finally, in the tenth, when Wilde, working the head and body, put Lee down for three long counts even though the Scot made it to the end of the round the writing was firmly on the wall. After being dropped for ‘six’ in the 11th Lee was immediately smashed down again by rights and lefts, and not before time he was rescued by the third man.
31 July 1916. Jimmy Wilde w co 10 (20) Johnny Hughes
Venue: Athletic Ground, Kensal Rise, London, England. Recognition: World. Referee: J. H. Douglas.
Fight Summary: Made at 112lbs, and billed for the British, European and world titles, the fight did not attract the Lonsdale Belt as it was held outside the auspices of the NSC. At the same time, Wilde’s European and world title claims were at stake. The contest itself was painfully one-sided as Wilde avoided almost everything coming his way before seeing Hughes off in the tenth round with a right to the jaw. Hughes, whose eyes were badly damaged early on, was warned for low blows that were probably more to do with his lack of vision.
18 December 1916. Jimmy Wilde w co 11 (20) Young Zulu Kid
Venue: The Stadium, Holborn, London, England. Recognition: World. Referee: J. T. Hulls.
Fight Summary: Although both men were announced as being within 112lbs it was noticeable that Wilde was much lighter than his opponent. Regardless of that, despite being an extremely game performer it was quickly apparent that the Young Zulu Kid (110½) was never going to bother Wilde, especially when he was dumped on the canvas in round two. Whether it was boxing or fighting the British champion was the master, and in the 11th round he set about the American with a vengeance. After the Kid was floored, heavy lefts and rights doing the damage, he got to his feet before being dropped again and then counted out following another barrage of blows from Wilde.
12 March 1917. Jimmy Wilde w rtd 4 (20) George Clark
Venue: NSC, Covent Garden, London, England. Recognition: World. Referee: J. H. Douglas.
Fight Summary: In defending his 112lb title claims, while winning a Lonsdale Belt outright, Wilde (102) did as he pleased with the unfortunate Clark (112), before deciding once the fourth round was underway that it was to be an early night. Punches to head and body from both hands soon had Clark on the floor, and on rising he was downed twice more before his corner threw the towel in to save their man from further punishment.
12 March 1920. Jimmy Wilde nd-w pts 12 Frankie Mason
Venue: The Coliseum, Toledo, Ohio, USA. Recognition: World. Referee: Edward W. Smith.
Fight Summary: Billed as a world flyweight title fight despite the Articles of Agreement calling for both men to be inside 108lbs, Wilde (106¼) won the 12-round press decision handily after doing all the forcing. He also showed great defensive powers, dodging, feinting and shifting before hitting back and overwhelming Mason (106¼). The referee claimed that he had never seen a fighter like Wilde, who was so willing to carry a fight to the opposition and mix matters throughout. According to miscellaneous reports Wilde had announced his retirement sometime during the weeks and months after losing to Pete Herman on 13 January 1921, thus relinquishing his world title, but I cannot find anything to substantiate that.
It was on 3 December 1922 that Wilde was reported as saying that he was ready to return to the ring after being inactive almost two years. Contacted by the promoter, Tex Rickard, with a view to coming to America to defend his title, it was not long before negotiations began in earnest. Despite that, the IBU stripped Wilde of his European title on 22 February 1923 due to inactivity and failed to recognise him any longer as world champion. With two previous points wins over Pancho Villa, one of them being a press decision, it would appear that Frankie Genaro had the ‘Indian Sign’ over the little Filipino. That was backed up when Genaro (110½) outpointed Villa (109½) over 15 rounds at Madison Square Garden on 1 March 1923 to take the latter’s American title. The result, however, was generally seen as being unjust, and when the promoter, Tex Rickard, finally signed up Wilde on 5 March 1923 it was not Genaro who was selected to meet the world champion but Villa. Prior to meeting Wilde, Villa had put together 77 bouts, comprising 60 wins, three draws, three defeats and 11 no-decision contests.
18 June 1923. Pancho Villa w rsc 7 (15) Jimmy Wilde
Venue: Polo Grounds, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: GB/NBA/NY/Lineal. Referee: Patsy Haley.
Fight Summary: Despite being a pale shadow of a once great fighter, Wilde (109½) went down like a true champion at 1.46 of the seventh round, fighting on empty and showing tremendous courage. Initially both men were cautious, but after the bell rang to end the second session Villa (110) connected with a tremendous right to the jaw, and Wilde, with his hands at his side, had to be carried to his corner in a bad way. Coming out for the third on shaky legs, although Wilde took the fight to the Filipino his punches lacked bite. Despite everything, including having to take back-handed blows to the head which were deemed to be legal in New York but could, arguably, have led to disqualification elsewhere, Wilde continued to trade with his stronger opponent before being punched around the ring at will in the sixth. The end was by now inevitable, and with both eyes almost closed Wilde continued to pile in during the seventh until a short right hook dropped him face down in a neutral corner. No count was necessary as the referee immediately stopped the fight, Wilde being carried to his corner by his seconds. A true legend of the ring, a man who in his prime could give weight to anyone, this was only Wilde’s fourth defeat.
Following Villa’s victory the IBU recognised him as the world champion, while hoping he would defend against the European title holder, Michel Montreuil.
12 October 1923. Pancho Villa w pts 15 Benny Schwartz
Venue: Fifth Regiment Armoury, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Recognition: World. Referee: Harry Ertle.
Fight Summary: Billed for the championship, Schwartz (109¼) fought a purely defensive battle, clinching at every opportunity, after Villa (110¾) had dropped him in the second round and knocked him through the ropes on three other occasions. Although under terrific pressure in the 15th as Villa looked to find the finisher, Schwartz managed to make it to the final bell. Despite going down by a wide margin on the referee’s scorecard, Schwartz made a great many friends when taking the champion’s best shots without flinching.
30 May 1924. Pancho Villa w pts 15 Frankie Ash
Venue: Nostrand AC, Henderson’s Bowl, Brooklyn, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: World. Referee: Ed Purdy.
Fight Summary: Try as he might Villa (112) could not put Ash (110½) down, despite working the body well and attacking the challenger throughout, and ultimately settled for a unanimous points win. With a big reach advantage, Ash, who finished with a badly cut mouth, made it difficult for Villa, but because his blows were too light to keep the Filipino at bay he was forced to suffer a beating in order to see the fight out.
2 May 1925. Pancho Villa w pts 15 Clever Sencio
Venue: Wallace Field Stadium, Manila, Philippines. Recognition: World.
Fight Summary: In what was a boring fight, due to the men never really extending themselves, Villa (110) was the master of his challenger in virtually every round despite Sencio (111½) throwing more punches, many of which lacked quality. The decision in Villa's favour was unanimous
The title became vacant when Villa died from a poisoned tooth infection on 14 July, ten days after boxing the future welterweight champion, Jimmy McLarnin (l pts 10 at Oaks Ballpark, Oakland, California on 4 July) at catchweights, and it would not be until 21 January 1927 when Elky Clark and Fidel LaBarba came together that the world title was settled once again. Following two more successful defences of the European title in England for Clark (30 wins, five draws and 11 defeats), against Kid Socks and Francois Moracchini, he and LaBarba were finally matched to unify the world title. Having won the Olympic Games flyweight title in 1924 at 18 years of age, LaBarba had turned pro on coming home and had run up 17 wins, four draws, two defeats and two no-decision affairs in 25 contests. Apart from losing to Jimmy McLarnin (2) and drawing with the same man, along with Newsboy Brown (2) and Young Nationalista, he had beaten Georgie Rivers (3), Clever Sencio and Frankie Genaro for the American version of the world title.
21 January 1927. Fidel LaBarba w pts 12 Elky Clark
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: World. Referee: Patsy Haley.
Fight Summary: Strangely scheduled for 12 rounds and not 15, the shorter distance did not do the little Scot, who was a notoriously slow starter, any favours. Several times in his career Clark had proved that he could finish an opponent off in the final stages of a 20-rounder, while the shorter course obviously suited the American. The New York Times fight report stated that Clark (111½), a human punch-bag, was battered to a unanimous points defeat over 12 monotonous rounds of a fight that would decide the world championship. Clark was floored five times in all, but with LaBarba (111½) lacking a kayo punch he somehow managed to survive. Afterwards, LaBarba claimed that he had hurt his right hand in the eighth round, but for the game little Scot it was the end of the road, being forced to retire with eye damage and general ill-health.
By now, LaBarba was having difficulty making 112lbs, and after officially relinquishing the title on 25 August in order to further his studies at Stanford University, the Californian Boxing Commission, the National Boxing Association (NBA) and NYSAC, and later Britain and the IBU, all looked to find a successor. With just two losses to Johnny Hill and two draws blemishing his 45-fight record, following a first-round win over Frankie Genaro for the NBA title on 2 March 1929 Emile Pladner was proclaimed by the IBU as world flyweight champion on 20 March 1929. Having unified the NBA/IBU title, Pladner should be recognised as holding my version of the 'world' title. A tough little fighter with a punch to match, Pladner had beaten Francois Moracchini (3), Michel Montreuil, Frankie Ash, Izzy Schwartz, Ernie Jarvis and gained revenge over Hill. Further to Genaro’s defeat at the hands of Pladner, they were quickly matched again. An Olympic champion from the 1920 Games, the skilful, fleet-footed Genaro had participated in 98 contests, winning 59, drawing six and losing 13, along with 20 no-decision affairs. Having taken the NBA title from Frenchy Belanger on 6 February 1928, he had made three successful defences, once against Belanger and twice against Steve Rocco before losing his honours to Pladner on 2 March 1929. He had been a leading contender for some time, having beaten Johnny Rosner (2), Charley Phil Rosenberg (2), Pancho Villa (2), Terry Martin, Memphis Pal Moore, Bushy Graham, Kid Williams, Ruby Bradley (2), Tommy Hughes, Frisco Grande and Johnny Vacca, as well as several other well-known names. He had also been turned back by Fidel LaBarba in an earlier crack at the title.
18 April 1929. Frankie Genaro w disq 5 (15) Emile Pladner
Venue: Winter Velodrome, Paris, France. Recognition: IBU/NBA. Referee: Henri Bernstein.
Fight Summary: Ahead on points, and into the fifth round, Genaro (110½) was put down by an unintentional low blow for a count of ‘nine’. Unfortunately, Pladner (111) failed to learn from the let off, quickly flooring the American again with a punch that landed on the protector and cost him the fight. Pladner’s world title reign lasted just 47 days, the shortest on record at that time.
17 October 1929. Frankie Genaro w pts 15 Ernie Jarvis
Venue: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London, England. Recognition: IBU/NBA. Referee: Matt Wells.
Fight Summary: Although the promoter, Jeff Dickson, was not officially licensed by the BBBoC at the time, Genaro (111½) was recognised by the NBA and IBU as being their champion, and it was their belts he was defending against Jarvis (111¾), who had stepped in at short notice as a replacement for the tragic Johnny Hill. Countering the aggressive Jarvis’ every move with good footwork and an effective left jab, Genaro got away to a flier. By round 12 it was clear that only a kayo could secure victory for the game, ever-pressing Englishman, who had carried a badly cut left eye since the second. Making a tremendous effort in the 13th, Jarvis hurt Genaro to the body, but after the champion came right back the pair finished an absorbing contest, battling it out toe-to-toe before the referee raised the latter’s hand in victory. Following the fight, both Jarvis and the referee, Matt Wells, were suspended by the BBBoC, although the bans were lifted when Dickson was invited by the Board to become a licence holder a few months later.
18 January 1930. Frankie Genaro w rtd 12 (15) Yvon Trevidic
Venue: Winter Velodrome, Paris, France. Recognition: IBU/NBA. Referee: Curt Guttmann.
Fight Summary: It was soon clear that the champion was too experienced for the young Frenchman, who gave his man all the trouble going but was countered effectively from both hands. Trevidic (111) had his best round in the ninth when driving Genaro (110) before him, but repeated right hooks opened a cut over his left eye in the tenth round. Further pressure saw his eye almost closing in the 11th with blood coming from his nose and mouth. In the 12th Trevidic was badly shaken by a series of left hooks, and after floundering around he stumbled back to his corner at the bell to be retired by his seconds during the interval.
10 June 1930. Frankie Genaro w pts 10 Frenchy Belanger
Venue: The Coliseum, Toronto, Canada. Recognition: IBU/NBA. Referee: Lou Marsh.
Fight Summary: Even though Belanger (111½) made an aggressive start with relentless body punching putting him in front at the half-way stage, Genaro (111) came back strongly over the last third, showing superb ring-craft, to win the unanimous decision. Surprisingly, in view of the verdict, Genaro’s victory was described in The Ring magazine as him having a close call in defence of his titles.
When Genaro was matched to meet Midget Wolgast, the NYSAC recognised world champion, the world title would be at stake.
26 December 1930. Frankie Genaro drew 15 Midget Wolgast
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: World. Referee: Patsy Haley.
Fight Summary: Most ringsiders thought Wolgast (111¾) had won at least ten of the rounds, but although there were many exchanges to head and body a great deal of the punches concerned lacked power and did no damage. Genaro (111), who was cut over the right eye in the first round, fought one of his cagiest battles, proving wise in the art of defence. He also had the ability to draw the lead to get in counters, while Wolgast produced quantity, if not quality. Both men were adept in the art of tying an opponent up at close quarters, which led to hardly any sustained action, and a contest that was supposed to find a universally recognised champion ultimately failed to do so.
25 March 1931. Frankie Genaro drew 15 Victor Ferrand
Venue: The Bullring, Madrid, Spain. Recognition: IBU/NBA. Referee: Rene Schemann.
Fight Summary: At the finish Ferrand (110½) was four points ahead on the scorecards, but under IBU rules the challenger had to have a lead of at least five points for the title to change hands, the decision being announced as a draw. The fight itself saw Genaro (109½) outspeeded and outscored early on before hitting his stride to recover some lost ground. However, it was not nearly enough, Ferrand looking a good winner. Following the decision there was a noisy demonstration by many of the 35,000 fans in attendance, the referee having to be escorted away by the police after cushions, stones and even a large rock rained down on the ringside area.
30 July 1931. Frankie Genaro w co 6 (15) Jackie Harmon
Venue: Lakewood Arena, Waterbury, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: IBU/NBA. Referee: Billy Conway.
Fight Summary: Although Harmon (110) was both courageous and aggressive he was outboxed by Genaro (111) from start to finish. Thus it came as no surprise when the challenger was counted out at 1.30 of the sixth round, having been nailed by a left hook.
3 October 1931. Frankie Genaro w pts 15 Valentin Angelmann
Venue: Sports Palace, Paris, France. Recognition: IBU/NBA. Referee: Curt Guttmann.
Fight Summary: Originally, Genaro (111) had been matched to make a defence against Young Perez, but after the latter was taken ill a week before the fight was due to take place, Angelmann (111¾), a stocky, tough and determined box-fighter, was substituted. Grateful for the opportunity, and performing with much credit, the young Frenchman gave Genaro all the trouble he could handle in a hard-fought battle, which was reflected by the majority decision that allowed the latter to hold on to his titles.
Always on the move, full of vigour and drive, Young Perez would be Genaro’s next challenger. With just four losses in 56 contests, he had quickly reversed a kayo defeat at the hands of Joe Mendiola and had beaten Valentin Angelmann (w pts 15 at the Wagram Hall, Paris on 11 June) in an eliminator.
26 October 1931. Young Perez w co 2 (15) Frankie Genaro
Venue: Sports Palace, Paris, France. Recognition: IBU/NBA. Referee: Francois Devernaz.
Fight Summary: Fast and clever, Perez, the French champion, made good use of the opportunity afforded him when scoring heavily with body shots in the opening round to shake Genaro (111) up considerably. Sensing that this was his time, Perez (109) charged out of his corner at the start of the second and treated Genaro, who suffered making the weight, to much of the same. There was no restraining the challenger, and following a left to the jaw the titles changed hands on the 1.50 mark, leaving the American to claim that he had misjudged the count.
On 9 April 1932, the NBA wrote to Perez advising him that if he did not sign up for a defence shortly he would be stripped, but there was no real progress despite the BBBoC continuing in their efforts to get Jackie Brown, the British and European flyweight champion, a crack at the title. It was not as if Perez was inactive, but he was by now walking a tight rope with the NBA, even though he somehow continued to be recognised by them. However, on 18 August 1932, with their patience strained, when the Association ordered him to defend against Brown the fight was made shortly after. Before meeting Perez, England’s Brown would successfully defend his British and European titles against Jim Maharg (w disq 8 at King’s Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester) on 19 September 1932. Brown, who had won 60, drawn five and lost ten contests up to that point, was a good all-round fighter with a punch.
31 October 1932. Jackie Brown w rsc 13 (15) Young Perez
Venue: King’s Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester, England. Recognition: GB/IBU/NBA. Referee: Marcel Falony.
Fight Summary: Prior to the 13th round there had been no knockdowns and fortunes for both men had fluctuated, it still being anybody’s fight. Into that session, however, Brown (111½) smashed home a right to the jaw followed by a left hook and another right, and Perez (110¾) was down. Getting up at ‘five’, the champion was being pounded incessantly against the ropes until the referee stopped the contest after his corner threw the towel in to save him from taking further unnecessary punishment.
12 June 1933. Jackie Brown w pts 15 Valentin Angelmann
Venue: Olympia, Kensington, London, England. Recognition: GB/IBU/NBA. Referee: Antonio Villa.
Fight Summary: Boxing brilliantly, especially with the left, Brown (111) got away to a flyer, and although the challenger was a tough nut to deal with the speed of the Manchester man’s punches were often bewildering if not hurtful. In the final third of the contest, after Brown tired and slowed as would be expected, Angelmann (111¾) got back into the fight but unable to impose himself on the champion he went down on points according to the referee.
11 December 1933. Jackie Brown w pts 15 Ginger Foran
Venue: King’s Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester, England. Recognition: GB/IBU/NBA. Referee: P. J. Moss.
Fight Summary: A good winner on points, the champion’s left hand and remarkable speed were too much for Foran (109¼), who despite being cut over the right eye in the 11th and out of his depth at times never gave up. Always looking to mix it with Brown (112), Foran had some successes, mainly in the latter stages, but was never able to sustain an attack. At the final bell, the referee had no hesitation in holding up Brown’s arm.
18 June 1934. Jackie Brown drew 15 Valentin Angelmann
Venue: King’s Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester, England. Recognition: GB/IBU/NBA. Referee: Mario Del Fante.
Fight Summary: Carrying the fight to Brown (111¾) from the opening bell, Angelmann (112) showed marked improvement from their earlier contests as he chased his rival around the ring, the only surprise being that the champion remained on his feet for the full 15 rounds. Brown, who finished badly marked-up and appeared weak with no snap in his punches, was clearly outboxed, but when the Italian referee’s decision of a draw was given the crowd let their feelings known.
After Brown was sent to prison for four months for assault on 6 July, he was stripped by the NBA for contravening their rules. Regarding the Brown v Angelmann contest, it appeared obvious to most in attendance that Brown had lost, and just under a year later, on 6 June 1935, he forfeited IBU recognition at their annual conference for failing to meet the Frenchman in a return match. The fact that Brown had already signed for a defence against Benny Lynch was given no due consideration. Lynch had earned his right to a crack at Brown, having fought a 12-round draw with him at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow on 4 March 1935. He had then beaten Tommy Pardoe on a 14th-round retirement at the Embassy Rink, Birmingham on 15 April 1935 in an official eliminator. Having taken part in 95 contests since turning pro in 1931, losing just nine times, Lynch was unbeaten in his last 35. A superlative box-fighter with power in both hands, especially to the body, among top men he had defeated were Jim Maharg, Bert Kirby, Maurice Huguenin, Angelmann, Pedrito Ruiz and Tut Whalley.
9 September 1935. Benny Lynch w rsc 2 (15) Jackie Brown
Venue: King’s Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester, England. Recognition: GB. Referee: Moss Deyong.
Fight Summary: Dominating the fight from the opening gong, Lynch (110¾) put Brown (111¾) down five times in the first round and six in the second, although several were not scored as knockdowns as Brown was up immediately without a count on several occasions. With left hooks to the body taking their toll, there was no doubt that the champion had gone to the well once too often in making the weight. However, as resolute as ever, it was only when he was on his way to being floored for the 11th time and his legs were giving out that the referee rescued him after he held up his hand in an act of surrender. The fight had lasted just four minutes and 42 seconds.
16 September 1936. Benny Lynch w co 8 (15) Pat Palmer
Venue: Shawfield Park, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: GB. Referee: Jack Smith.
Fight Summary: Boxing in front of 40,000 fans Palmer (112) did reasonably well up until the seventh round, when the champion’s body attacks began to take their toll. Under pressure in that session, he was saved by the bell after being downed by a left hook. Coming out for the eighth it was now just a matter of time, and after Lynch (111¼) landed a left hook to the solar plexus and followed up with another, this time to the jaw, Palmer took the full count. On 14 November it was announced that Lynch would be meeting Small Montana, the NBA champion, in a match that would decide the flyweight championship everywhere but within the confines of the IBU.
19 January 1937. Benny Lynch w pts 15 Small Montana
Venue: The Arena, Wembley, London, England. Recognition: GB/NBA/NY. Referee: C. B. Thomas.
Fight Summary: A brilliant contest of skill coupled with heavy punching saw Lynch (111½), whose body punching, left swings and hooks were a feature, make a fast start to keep in front of his rival. Regardless, Montana (107½), who was always in the fight, was never disgraced. There was no doubt that Montana could also hit hard, but Lynch, who fully deserved the referee’s decision, would not be denied. Roared on by 12,000 fans both men put everything in to it to fully earn the plaudits that followed.
13 October 1937. Benny Lynch w co 13 (15) Peter Kane
Venue: Shawfield Park, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: GB/NBA/NY. Referee: Barrington Dalby.
Fight Summary: Down in the first, Kane (110¾) came back strongly to hold his own before Lynch (111¼) took over in the tenth. The next three rounds saw the little champion landing punch after punch and in the 13th, after being put down heavily, Kane somehow got up only to be smashed down for the full count, another right doing the damage.
Lynch forfeited all of his titles both in Britain and America when weighing in six-and-a-half pounds overweight for a championship match against Jackie Jurich at Firhill Park on 29 June 1938. Having already been postponed twice after Lynch suffered an injured elbow in training, the fight went ahead with Jurich counted out in the 12th round. Despite the result, because Lynch took to the ring as a fully-fledged bantamweight Nat Fleischer, of The Ring magazine, argued that Jurich should have been crowned champion in accordance with the rules of boxing, especially as he was the number one challenger. As far as the magazine was concerned Jurich was the world champion and was shown as such. On 28 July 1938, the NYSAC suggested that if Kane, Jurich, the top man in the world according to The Ring, Small Montana, Little Dado and Katsumi Morioka went into a series of eliminators they would recognise the winner as champion. Ignoring all the advice, the BBBoC matched the heavy-hitting Kane, who had inadvertently been left out of The Ring ratings, with Jurich (36 wins, three draws and three defeats) for the vacant title. Realistically, Kane should have been ranked at number two, which would brought my version of the 'world' title into play. This was done without the support of the NBA, NYSAC or IBU, while the claims of the Filipino eight-stoners, Dado and Montana, were strongly supported by California. Prior to meeting Jurich, Kane had run up a record of 46 (36 inside the distance) wins, one draw and one defeat, and had beaten top men such as Joe Curran, Tiny Bostock, Praxille Gyde, Jim Maharg, Enrico Urbinati, Ernst Weiss (2), Valentin Angelmann, Eugene Huat, Pierre Louis, Joseph Decico, Phil Milligan, Maurice Huguenin, Nicolas Petit Biquet and Jimmy Warnock.
22 September 1938. Peter Kane w pts 15 Jackie Jurich
Venue: Anfield Football Ground, Liverpool, England. Recognition: GB. Referee: Eugene Henderson.
Fight Summary: Surprisingly, instead of making his normal two-fisted start to a fight the hard-hitting 20-year-old Kane (111¼) outboxed Jurich (111½) in orthodox fashion, proving too strong when scoring six knockdowns in all. Despite being unable to find the finishing punch, the young Englishman fully deserved the referee’s decision while looking to be a star of the future.
Eventually, Kane too found that he was beginning to struggle with making the weight. Still, it came as a surprise when he announced on 8 May 1939 that he was relinquishing the GB version of the title in order to campaign as a bantamweight. Eventually, when the top-ranked Jackie Paterson was matched to fight Kane, who had come back strongly as a flyweight to become the division’s number two, the BBBoC, supported by the NYSAC, matched them to contest the vacant world title. Due to the status of the two men it should also be seen as involving my version of the 'world' title. Paterson had been top-rated by The Ring magazine since March 1940, having won the British flyweight title when beating Paddy Ryan (w co 13 at the Cartyne Greyhound Track, Glasgow on 30 September 1939) and the British Empire crown on defeating Richie Kid Tanner (w pts 15 at the King’s Hall, Belle Vue, Manchester on 11 March 1940). A big-hitting southpaw, Paterson had a record of 42 (28 inside the distance) wins, three draws and five defeats.
19 June 1943. Jackie Paterson w co 1 (15) Peter Kane
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: GB/NY. Referee: Moss Deyong.
Fight Summary: With Kane still able to make eight stone, and following several good wins at the weight, he took on the heavy-handed Paterson in a fight seen by Britain and the NYSAC as being for the vacant championship. Looking every inch the future of the division, Paterson (111¾) jumped on Kane (112) right from the start, putting the unfortunate former champion down within seconds before finishing him off with another right to the jaw, the count being completed with just 61 seconds on the clock.
The first southpaw to win a version of the world flyweight title, Paterson was eventually recognised by the NBA after they had stripped Little Dado on 14 October, and then by the IBU, soon to be reformed as the European Boxing Union (EBU), when boxing resumed after the war in Europe had been concluded in 1945.
10 July 1946. Jackie Paterson w pts 15 Joe Curran
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland. Recognition: World. Referee: Moss Deyong.
Fight Summary: Too one-sided to be considered a great fight, Paterson (112), despite having difficulty making the weight, was the master of the heavy-punching challenger, Curran (111), scoring two knockdowns to fully warrant the referee’s decision. Both men were cut around the eyes.
Paterson forfeited NBA recognition on 30 July 1947, having thrice pulled out of title defences against Dado Marino. Following that, The BBBoC stripped Paterson of the British, British Empire and world flyweight titles, but due to Paterson gaining an injunction in the High Court on 15 October the BBBoC was forced to reinstate him as champion. Finally, Paterson was matched against Monaghan, who had beaten Marino for the NBA version of the vacant title. A pro since 1932, and possessing good power and boxing ability, Monaghan would take to the ring a 63-fight record comprising 48 wins, seven draws and eight losses.
23 March 1948. Rinty Monaghan w co 7 (15) Jackie Paterson
Venue: King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Recognition: World. Referee: Tommy Little.
Fight Summary: Floored and cut in the second round, Paterson (111¾) was a shell of his former self having struggled to make the weight. Despite that he had come back into the contest before he was smashed to the floor by a right hand in the seventh. Getting up at ‘nine’, the champion was hammered around the ring by Monaghan (110¾) until he sunk to the canvas to be counted out.
5 April 1949. Rinty Monaghan w pts 15 Maurice Sandeyron
Venue: King’s Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Recognition: World. Referee: C. B. Thomas.
Fight Summary: Giving a tremendous display of boxing, Monaghan (110¼) won a clear, if not emphatic, decision over the French challenger. There were no doubts in the mind of the referee, and Sandeyron (111), finishing with a cut and swollen face, could thank his supreme conditioning as the reason he was not floored. On winning, Monaghan took over Sandeyron’s European title which had also been at stake.
30 September 1949. Rinty Monaghan drew 15 Terry Allen
Venue: King’s Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Recognition: World. Referee: Sam Russell.
Fight Summary: In a contest where there was much missing, the champion forced the fight for most of the time while Allen (111¾) was content to box at distance. Apart from the second round when Allen dropped Monaghan (111¼) for ‘eight’ with a precision right cross there was never a great deal in it, and had the challenger stepped up his work-rate it could have been a different result. At the final bell, Monaghan walked over to the referee and held his hand out but was sent back to his corner until both men were called to the centre of the ring to have their arms raised. Along with Monaghan’s world and European titles, Allen’s British and British Empire titles had been at stake.
When Monaghan retired as undefeated champion on 23 March 1950, the two leading contenders, Terry Allen (2) and Honore Pratesi (1), the French champion, were matched for the vacant world and European titles. The contest would also involve my version of the 'world' title. Pratesi, who already had a victory over Allen to his name, had also beaten top-class flyweights such as Louis Skena (2), Tino Cardinale (2), Raoul Degryse, Charles Bohbot (2) and Mustapha Mustaphaoui, and had 17 wins, three draws and five defeats on his record. Allen was a worthy opponent, having outscored Monaghan over eight rounds of a catchweight contest at The Arena, Harringay, London on 7 February, and gone on to defeat Norman Tennant on points over 12 rounds at Dens Park, Dundee on 8 June in an official British and British Empire title eliminator. In 59 contests, of which he had lost just four times, Allen had also beaten Mickey Jones (2), Tommy Burney, Jackie Bryce, Jimmy Gill and Dickie O'Sullivan (2).
25 April 1950. Terry Allen w pts 15 Honore Pratesi
Venue: The Arena, Harringay, London, England. Recognition: EBU/NY. Referee: Moss Deyong.
Fight Summary: The fight saw Allen (111¾) not only excelling at long range to keep the onrushing, flailing Pratesi (110) at bay, but always being prepared to get inside when required. Almost punch-perfect throughout, he fully deserved the verdict handed out by the referee.
Initially unsupported by the NBA as a championship contest, the Association eventually gave their blessing to the winner on the proviso that Dado Marino, despite regularly fighting among the bantams and sustaining three losses in seven contests during 1949, should be considered as the leading challenger, and that the winner should meet him in defence of the title with the least possible delay. At that moment in time, having participated in 60 contests since 1941, Marino had won 48 and drawn one.
1 August 1950. Dado Marino w pts 15 Terry Allen
Venue: The Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii. Recognition: World. Referee: Walter Cho.
Scorecards: 22-19, 23-18, 22-18.
Fight Summary: An attacking fighter and good body puncher who benefited from fighting among the bantams, after Marino (112) needed two trips to the scales to make the required 112lbs he was expected to be weakened. He was not. Both men finished with cuts over the eyes, and although there were no knockdowns the challenger proved the heavier puncher of the two, with Allen (111½) the more mobile.
1 November 1951. Dado Marino w pts 15 Terry Allen
Venue: The Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii. Recognition: World. Referee: Walter Cho.
Scorecards: 27-15, 26-15, 27-15.
Fight Summary: Although Allen (111¼) generally forced the fight he was continuously beaten to the punch by Marino (112), who paced himself superbly. Neither man took a count, but the challenger was hindered by a cut over the right eye from the second round onwards.
The Japanese fly and bantamweight champion, Yoshio Shirai, would be Marino’s next challenger, having stopped him inside seven rounds of a non-title contest at The Stadium, Honolulu on 4 December. Shirai, who had been fighting for pay since 1943, fully warranted his opportunity with 35 wins and three draws from 43 contests.
19 May 1952. Yoshio Shirai w pts 15 Dado Marino
Venue: Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Kuniharu Hayashi.
Scorecards: 149-145, 146-139, 149-146.
Fight Summary: Even though not a classic the fight was grimly contested with Shirai (111¾) making the most of his height and reach advantages and never allowing Marino (112) time to settle. There were no knockdowns. By his victory, Shirai became the first Japanese-born fighter to win a world title, thus opening the door for a whole raft of future champions.
15 November 1952. Yoshio Shirai w pts 15 Dado Marino
Venue: Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Isamu Itu.
Scorecards: 146-128, 149-132, 149-132.
Fight Summary: Battered non-stop throughout, Marino (112) was on the verge of being knocked out on several occasions, but somehow managed to rally and come through. Shirai (111), who won the unanimous decision, used his reach expertly to dominate the former champion in front of 25,000 fans. Following the contest, Marino, a grandfather, announced his retirement from the ring.
18 May 1953. Yoshio Shirai w pts 15 Tanny Campo
Venue: Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Kuniharu Hayashi.
Scorecards: 148-142, 148-143, 148-142.
Fight Summary: Shirai (112), who picked up the unanimous decision from the judges, had to come from behind to retain his title after Campo (111¾) had continually forced the fight until the final three rounds. A light hitter, the challenger’s strategy was to attack the body before tying the champion up, while Shirai used his left to advantage whenever he could get any kind of space to manoeuvre.
27 October 1953. Yoshio Shirai w pts 15 Terry Allen
Venue: Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Isamu Itu.
Scorecards: 149-136, 150-146, 150-130.
Fight Summary: This one appeared much closer to the reporters than to the judges. There were no real highlights and no infighting, with the challenger, Allen (112), not given the opportunity to work on Shirai’s body by a referee who broke up all close-quarter milling. It was also noticeable that Shirai (110½) often used the open glove.
24 May 1954. Yoshio Shirai w pts 15 Leo Espinosa
Venue: Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Isamu Itu.
Scorecards: 147-145, 149-145, 141-142.
Fight Summary: Espinosa (111) got in the first telling punch in the third round, prior to opening up a cut over the champion’s right eye in the sixth. Seemingly behind coming into the 13th, Shirai (110¾) opened up with both hands, and although being met head on by the challenger he impressed two of the judges enough to get the nod.
Having earlier boxed a draw with Shirai over ten rounds at the Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina on 24 July, Pascual Perez, the former Olympic gold medallist from the 1948 Games, had earned his chance. Although unbeaten in 24 contests he was mainly unknown due to the fact that he had never ventured outside of Argentina. However, steadily moving upwards, the Shirai result took him to number one in the world according to The Ring magazine. With stamina in abundance the five-foot Perez had stopped 21 opponents in his first 24 contests, Shirai (twice) and one Juan Bishop being the only men to last the distance.
26 November 1954. Pascual Perez w pts 15 Yoshio Shirai
Venue: Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Jack Sullivan.
Scorecards: 142-139, 146-139, 143-139.
Fight Summary: Giving away five inches in reach to the champion, Perez (109¼) attacked continuously to cut back the champion’s early lead that had been built up by the jab, and floored Shirai (112) heavily with a vicious left uppercut in the 12th round. Thereafter, Shirai was battered from pillar to post, being glad to hear the final bell.
30 May 1955. Pascual Perez w co 5 (15) Yoshio Shirai
Venue: Korakuen Stadium, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Haruo Ishiwatarido.
Fight Summary: A battered wreck that was once a world champion, Shirai (111½), who had been given a real working over by Perez (108¼), was counted out at 2.59 of round five immediately prior to the bell. It came as no surprise when Shirai announced his retirement immediately afterwards.
11 January 1956. Pascual Perez w pts 15 Leo Espinosa
Venue: Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: World. Referee: Hiram Nunez.
Fight Summary: Perez (107¾), who retained his title on receiving the unanimous decision, was always in charge although it was never easy, Espinosa (111½) proving himself a tough handful. Despite taking a count of ‘four’ in the eighth round and carrying a badly cut cheekbone, the Filipino continually fought back, revealing a clever defence in doing so.
30 June 1956. Pascual Perez w rsc 11 (15) Oscar Suarez
Venue: Penarol Stadium, Montevideo, Uruguay. Recognition: World. Referee: Juan Galindo.
Fight Summary: Floored for an ‘eight’ count in the fifth round, Perez (108) came right back to grind Suarez (111) down and force the referee to stop the contest after his corner had thrown throw the towel in during the 11th. With both men cut, there was no doubting that the champion had been shocked into a fightback.
30 March 1957. Pascual Perez w co 1 (15) Dai Dower
Venue: San Lorenzo Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: World. Referee: Alfonso Araujo.
Fight Summary: Knocked out inside two minutes and 48 seconds, Dower (111¼), who had no excuses, was shell-shocked after being put down flat on his back by a left-right to the jaw. The warning signs were there just moments earlier. Perez (107) had promised a quick start, fearing that if the challenger was allowed to settle he could be outpointed. There would be just two more fights for Dower following this shattering defeat.
7 December 1957. Pascual Perez w co 3 (15) Young Martin
Venue: Boca Juniors Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: World. Referee: Hiram Nunez.
Fight Summary: Coming out fast, Martin (112) gave the champion all he could handle in the first two rounds, but then the lights went out at 2.05 of the third. The challenger’s southpaw stance presented Perez (108¼) with no real problems, being made to measure for the right hand that put him down for the full count.
19 April 1958. Pascual Perez w pts 15 Ramon Arias
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: World. Referee: Ben McCullan.
Scorecards: 141-139, 147-144, 147-139.
Fight Summary: Shocked by Arias (111) in the second round, Perez (107½) fought back to open a bad cut over his rival’s left eye in the fourth which turned the fight in his favour. Try as he might, the game challenger, who at the finish was half blinded by his own blood, was unable to find the punches to batter the champion from his crown, finishing weary but glorious in defeat.
15 December 1958. Pascual Perez w pts 15 Dommy Ursua
Venue: The Stadium, Manila, Philippines. Recognition: World. Referee: Frank Carter.
Scorecards: 145-142, 146-142, 149-141.
Fight Summary: Although possessing a powerful left hook, Ursua (112) was never given the room to exploit it as the champion dictated the pace throughout to win handily. Showing no little skill, Perez (109¾) was content to keep his bull-like rival at bay with the use of accurate lefts and rights. Two records were broken for a flyweight fight in this one - 40,000 in attendance and Perez receiving a purse of £14,000.
10 August 1959. Pascual Perez w pts 15 Kenji Yonekura
Venue: The Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Joaquin Arvas.
Scorecards: 150-137, 145-139, 146-140.
Fight Summary: Dominating the fight, having floored his rival for a 'seven' count in the second round, Perez (107½) again proved his amazing powers of stamina and clever strategy. Yonekura (111¾), who was cut over the right eye in the sixth, tried his utmost, landing some heavy punches, but it was not enough to win the championship.
5 November 1959. Pascual Perez w co 13 (15) Sadao Yaoita
Venue: Ogimachi Pool, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Juan Notali.
Fight Summary: Having been outpointed by Yaoita (112) earlier in the year, Perez (107) proved to be too strong over the championship distance for his young challenger. Getting involved in a slugging match was not really to Yaoita’s advantage, a short right to the jaw putting him down in round 13 to be counted out with 55 seconds on the clock.
Perez’s next opponent would be Pone Kingpetch, who was highly rated by The Ring magazine after winning the vacant Orient title when beating Danny Kid. He then successfully defended it against Hitoshi Misako before handing his belt back on 13 May 1958. Other good men Kingpetch had beaten included Dommy Ursua, Masaji Iwamoto and Manuel Armenteros. Tall for a flyweight, Kingpetch’s long left jab had been a vital weapon when defeating 19 of 22 opponents, and he was no slouch when it came to fighting his corner.
16 April 1960. Pone Kingpetch w pts 15 Pascual Perez
Venue: Lumpinee Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: World. Referee: Lorenzo Torrealba.
Scorecards: 145-143, 137-148, 140-147.
Fight Summary: A gruelling contest saw Kingpetch (110¾) make good use of his reach advantage to tot up points from long range, while Perez (112) looked to get inside. From the tenth round onwards both men were bleeding from eye wounds, and at the final bell it was very tight. On winning, Kingpetch became Thailand’s first ever world champion.
22 September 1960. Pone Kingpetch w rsc 8 (15) Pascual Perez
Venue: Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: World. Referee: Mushy Callahan.
Fight Summary: Despite starting well, Perez (110½), cut under the left eye, was practically out on his feet and not fighting back when the contest was stopped at 2.32 of round eight. It was not so much that Kingpetch (111½) was hitting him at will, but the fact that the former champion had come to the end of his tether.
27 June 1961. Pone Kingpetch w pts 15 Mitsunori Seki
Venue: Kuramae Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Cheaur Chaksuraks.
Scorecards: 147-138, 147-138, 144-145.
Fight Summary: Although Seki (112) started well, employing an accurate left jab, Kingpetch (111¾) proved to be the stronger of the two when using sustained attacks to the body which eventually paid dividends as the challenger slowed towards the end.
30 May 1962. Pone Kingpetch w pts 15 Kyo Noguchi
Venue: Kuramae Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Sang Hiranyalekha.
Scorecards: 147-136, 148-138, 146-130.
Fight Summary: Noguchi (110½) gained the upper hand early in the fight, being on even terms by the eighth round, but from there on he was not at the races as Kingpetch (112) took complete control to retain his title. Both men finished with cuts after Noguchi had braved a battering to reach the final bell.
Fighting Harada, with 26 wins and one defeat on his tab would be Kingpetch’s next challenger. As Harada was ranked at number ten, the WBA (formerly known as the NBA) approved the bout under certain conditions, one of them being if he won he would have to defend against Kingpetch in Bangkok, Thailand within 90 days. Although he had beaten Kyo Noguchi and Hiroyuki Ebihara, the inexperienced Harada had recently lost his unbeaten record to Edmundo Esparza and was not expected to cause an upset.
10 October 1962. Fighting Harada w co 11 (15) Pone Kingpetch
Venue: Kuramae Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Sang Hiranyalekha.
Fight Summary: Harada (111¾) was just too relentless for Kingpetch (112), who was counted out at 2.59 of the 11th round after being hit by a stream of punches to head and body. Kingpetch, badly cut over the left eye in the fifth, tried hard but was constantly under pressure as he was driven to the ropes. He also lacked a powerful enough punch to get out of trouble. On winning, Harada became the youngest ever flyweight champion, at 19 years of age, but had never fought outside Japan.
With a 90-day return agreement in place, Harada and Kingpetch were signed up to meet again in January 1963.
12 January 1963. Pone Kingpetch w pts 15 Fighting Harada
Venue: National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: World. Referee: Sang Hiranyalekha.
Scorecards: 72-67, 71-67, 69-69.
Fight Summary: Kingpetch (111¼), despite being handicapped by eye injuries, fought much better than in their previous contest when becoming the first flyweight champion to regain the title on the result. Although Harada (111), also cut up, again made the pace he was counter-punched effectively, eventually giving way to the challenger’s superior boxing. However, there was much controversy surrounding the fight, the Harada camp complaining bitterly that because of the unruly crowd it took their man 25 minutes to get to the ring. With the prospect of a further fight between the pair imminent, within a month of the contest Harada stated that he would not be looking to enforce the return clause as he was now moving up a weight division.
Another defence was eventually announced for Kingpetch, against Hiroyuki Ebihara, but had to be postponed when the champion sustained a hand injury in training. With Kingpetch looking lethargic in training, the overriding reason for the delay was thought to be a matter of him having difficulty in making the weight. Ranked at number three by The Ring magazine, Ebihara had 36 wins from 38 contests on his record, having beaten Tsuyoshi Nakamura (2), Katsutoshi Aoki, Johnny Jamito, Ray Perez and Chartchai Chionoi.
18 September 1963. Hiroyuki Ebihara w co 1 (15) Pone Kingpetch
Venue: The Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: World. Referee: Sang Hiranyalekha.
Fight Summary: On following in the footsteps of Yoshio Shirai and Fighting Harada, the fast-moving, hard-punching Ebihara (112) won the championship inside two minutes and seven seconds, a southpaw left to the jaw doing the damage. Moments earlier, Kingpetch (110¾), who had landed only two punches, had taken a mandatory ‘eight’ count. With a gentleman’s agreement in place for a return, and Ebihara stating that he was happy to meet Kingpetch in Bangkok, the match was quickly made.
23 January 1964. Pone Kingpetch w pts 15 Hiroyuki Ebihara
Venue: Rajadamnern Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: World. Referee: Saard Kinsrisock.
Scorecards: 71-68, 73-67, 71-73.
Fight Summary: This time there were no knockdowns as Kingpetch (112) jabbed his way to victory, never letting Ebihara (112) get his punches off and controlling the action whether leading or countering. Both men sustained eye injuries.
Early in December, having not defended for nearly a year, both the WBA and WBC, which had been formed on 14 February 1963, ordered Kingpetch to defend against the number one contender, the European champion, Salvatore Burruni. At the same time, the EBU were threatening to strip Kingpetch themselves if a deal was not put together immediately. The upshot was that Kingpetch and Burruni, who had lost just three times in 80 fights and was unbeaten in his last 57, would meet in April 1965.
23 April 1965. Salvatore Burruni w pts 15 Pone Kingpetch
Venue: Sports Palace, Rome, Italy. Recognition: World. Referee: Ramon Berumen.
Scorecards: 74-63, 72-68, 75-54.
Fight Summary: Pressing throughout, Burruni (111¾) outhustled and outskilled the brave but badly bruised Kingpetch (111¼) to win going away. Whether it was in defence or attack, the Italian challenger was the master, being praised for his tactics by Kingpetch following the fight.
Burruni forfeited recognition from the WBA on 1 November and from the WBC on 19 November after failing to defend against their leading challenger, Hiroyuki Ebihara, within the given deadline. However, Burruni, who was still recognised by the NYSAC, EBU and Britain, would continue to defend the lineal title.
2 December 1965. Salvatore Burruni w co 13 (15) Rocky Gattellari
Venue: The Showgrounds, Sydney, Australia. Recognition: EBU/NY/Lineal. Referee: Harold Valan.
Fight Summary: Ultimately too cagey for his inexperienced rival, Burruni (112) allowed Gattellari (111¼) to use up energy while he stalked him, looking to unload with heavy punches. Fairly even up until the 12th round, Burruni was badly cut by the left eye. Realising he had little time in which to get to the challenger, who was also cut on the left eye, Burruni opened up in the 13th to knock his man to the canvas with a tremendous right. Somehow Gattellari arose, but after being knocked down for the third time he was counted out at 2.25 of the round.
Burruni would next defend the lineal title against a one-time victim, Walter McGowan, a fleet-footed Scot with 20 wins to his name from 25 contests. While not known for his power, McGowan was a superlative boxer who could box with the best of them.
14 June 1966. Walter McGowan w pts 15 Salvatore Burruni
Venue: The Arena, Wembley, London, England. Recognition: EBU/GB/NY/Lineal. Referee: Harry Gibbs.
Fight Summary: Showing great ability when clearly outpointing Burruni (110), the little Scot followed in the footsteps of fellow Scots, Johnny Hill, Benny Lynch and Jackie Paterson, in winning the world title at the weight. Despite being cut at the side of the right eye, McGowan (111¾) skilfully stayed on the outside peppering the champion with left jabs, while Burruni tried desperately to land countering blows. The final bell ended with the referee holding McGowan’s hand aloft after one of the best displays of classic left-hand boxing seen from a small man.
A pro since 1959, Chartchai Chionoi would be McGowan’s first challenger. Chionoi, who had taken part in 52 contests, had won 40, drawn twice and lost ten times, but had beaten Burruni and Ernesto Miranda in the past year. With few frills he was an improving fighter with a punch, and was a dangerous opponent for McGowan.
30 December 1966. Chartchai Chionoi w rsc 9 (15) Walter McGowan
Venue: Kittikachorn Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: EBU/GB/NY/Lineal. Referee: Sang Hiranyalekha.
Fight Summary: Once McGowan (110) was badly cut on the bridge of the nose from an accidental head butt in the second round there was no way he would last the distance. Sensing that the title was his for the taking, Chionoi (111), a tough, rugged box-fighter, took full advantage of the situation when constantly hitting the injured area. Although the little Scott was by far the better boxer it soon became apparent that the challenger was the stronger of the two, and when McGowan’s vision made it impossible for him to see properly the referee stepped in to rescue him with 50 seconds of the ninth round completed.
26 July 1967. Chartchai Chionoi w co 3 (15) Puntip Keosuriya
Venue: Kittikachorn Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: EBU/GB/NY/Lineal. Referee: Cheaur Chaksuraks.
Fight Summary: Making a quick start, Chionoi (111) soon had the challenger’s number before knocking him out at 2.35 of the third round following a straight right to the jaw. It had been thought that Keosuriya (111) would survive into the middle rounds at least but it was not to be.
19 September 1967. Chartchai Chionoi w rsc 7 (15) Walter McGowan
Venue: The Arena, Wembley, London, England. Recognition: EBU/GB/NY/Lineal. Referee: Ike Powell.
Fight Summary: Boxing quite beautifully, McGowan (111¼) treated Chionoi (110¼) to a steady stream of left hands before picking up a badly cut left eye in the fifth round. Magnificently, the challenger went for the kill in the sixth, battering Chionoi all over the ring to have him on the verge of a stoppage, but on picking up another cut in the seventh the referee was forced to call a halt at 1.04 of the round.
28 January 1968. Chartchai Chionoi w rsc 13 (15) Efren Torres
Venue: City Bullring, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: EBU/GB/NY/Lineal. Referee: Arthur Mercante.
Fight Summary: In a war of attrition, Torres (111½), cut over the left eye and floored in the second, was eventually stopped by Chionoi (109¾) at 1.23 of the 13th round due to the injury, which took 15 stitches to repair. None of this failed to stop the challenger from coming forward in a non-stop slugging match, the referee even having him ahead at the time of the finish.
In October, further to Horacio Accavallo’s abdication of the WBC title, it was announced that the WBC, supported by the EBU, Britain and the NYSAC, would recognise a coming fight between the top-ranked Chionoi and Bernabe Villacampo, rated at number three, as being for their version of the title.
10 November 1968. Chartchai Chionoi w pts 15 Bernabe Villacampo
Venue: Charusathiars Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/Lineal. Referee: Veeravat Hiranyalekha.
Scorecards: 71-66, 71-69, 71-67.
Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant WBC title, and with continuing support from the EBU, BBBoC and NYSAC, the lineal champion, Chionoi (111¼), was handicapped when cut on the right eyebrow in the second round. The challenger, Villacampo (112), tried to force matters, but was cleverly outmanoeuvred by the experienced Thai in a fight where there was far too much clinching.
An exciting, hard-hitting fighter who had won 58 of 64 contests, 38 of them inside the distance, Efren Torres would be next for Chionoi. Listed as the leading challenger by The Ring magazine, although twice losing to Hiroyuki Ebihara he had defeated Eduardo Mojica (2), Pascual Perez and Leo Zulueta. He would also be getting the opportunity to put a defeat by Chionoi behind him.
23 February 1969. Efren Torres w rsc 8 (15) Chartchai Chionoi
Venue: City Bullring, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: WBC/Lineal. Referee: Arthur Mercante.
Fight Summary: Apparently weight-drained and carrying a badly swollen left eye from the second round onwards, Chionoi (110) was unable to withstand the continuous flow of left jabs, left hooks and right crosses thrown by Torres (111) before being rescued by the referee towards the end of the eighth, his eye closed shut. With Torres working the eye there was no way the champion was going to survive, and he was being battered around the ring at will at the closure.
28 November 1969. Efren Torres w pts 15 Susumu Hanagata
Venue: The Bullring, Guadalajara, Mexico. Recognition: WBC/Lineal. Referee: Ray Solis.
Scorecards: 149-147, 149-147, 147-143.
Fight Summary: Hanagata (112) had outpointed Torres (112) in a ten-round non-title fight in June, but was unable to repeat the performance over 15, being rocked with vicious counter punches in both the early and later rounds. Strong in the middle sessions, the challenger staggered Torres several times without making it count, the fight ending with both men throwing overarm punches in what had turned into a brawl.
Selected as Torres next challenger, having lost his WBC title to the Mexican 13 months previously, Chartchai Chionoi would be bringing a record of 50 wins, two draws and 13 defeats to the table. Rated as the sixth best man in the division he was still too dangerous an opponent to take lightly.
20 March 1970. Chartchai Chionoi w pts 15 Efren Torres
Venue: National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/Lineal. Referee: Arthur Mercante.
Scorecards: 145-141, 148-142, 147-144.
Fight Summary: In command for most of the fight, Chionoi (112) surprised many with his speed and punch variety, being good value for his title-winning performance. Although there were no knockdowns, Torres (112), bleeding from a cut above the left eye from the fourth onwards, had to sustain some heavy blows before making it to the final bell.
Erbito Salavarria, the OPBF champion, was selected for Chionoi’s first defence, having beaten Ric Magramo, Tsuyoshi Nakamura and Berkrerk Chartvanchai in recent contests. A tough competitor, Salavarria had participated in 36 fights, winning 29 of them.
7 December 1970. Erbito Salavarria w rsc 2 (15) Chartchai Chionoi
Venue: Army Sports Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/Lineal. Referee: Chung-Young Soo.
Fight Summary: After an even first round, Salavarria (111¼), the Orient champion, struck violently when knocking Chionoi (111¼) down three times in the second to enforce an automatic stoppage under the three-knockdowns-in-a-round ruling, with just 1.48 on the clock. Regardless of the regulations, the champion would never have made it to the end of the second round as he was out on his feet when rescued.
30 April 1971. Erbito Salavarria w pts 15 Susumu Hanagata
Venue: Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines. Recognition: WBC/Lineal. Referee: Pedro Flores.
Scorecards: 76-64, 74-68, 73-66.
Fight Summary: In making a successful defence, Salavarria (110½) was always in command, scoring with sharp left jabs and counters whenever Hanagata (112) got within range. To his credit, despite always running second best Hanagata never gave up. There were no knockdowns.
20 November 1971. Erbito Salavarria drew 15 Betulio Gonzalez
Venue: Luis Aparicio Stadium, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC/Lineal. Referee: Mills Lane.
Scorecards: 148-147, 145-147, 146-146.
Fight Summary: The occasion belonged to Gonzalez (110½), who carried the fight to the champion, Salavarria (112), throughout, hurting him several times in what was an exciting battle between well-matched fighters.
Salavarria forfeited WBC recognition on 29 December when it was discovered that he had used an illegal stimulant during the contest. However, he was still recognised as the lineal champion. In looking to regain his WBC title, now in the hands of Venice Borkhorsor, Salavarria would be meeting a strong southpaw with 32 wins from 33 fights, who had victories over Harry Hayes and Fernando Cabanela.
9 February 1973. Venice Borkhorsor w pts 15 Erbito Salavarria
Venue: Kittikachorn Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/Lineal. Referee: Sutee Promchairak.
Scorecards: 150-138, 150-140, 150-136.
Fight Summary: Winning every round, Borkhorsor (111) cruised to victory, working the body over with hooks and uppercuts, and cutting Salavarria (110) up. The champion was just not strong enough to keep his rival at bay and did well to survive to the final bell.
Borkhorsor relinquished his WBC and lineal titles on 10 July to campaign as a bantamweight. On 8 January 1975, the second-ranked Shoji Oguma’s first defence of the WBC title would be against the division’s number one, Miguel Canto, and would involve my version of the 'world' title. Oguma, a southpaw, had won the WBC title when defeating Betulio Gonzalez on 1 October 1974, and coming into the fight with Canto had 21 wins and two defeats on his slate. The smaller man by three inches at 5’0½”, Canto would not let it bother him. Despite losing two of his first three contests, and being beaten in a title challenge against Gonzalez, he had run up 39 wins and three draws from 46 contests prior to his meeting with Oguma.
8 January 1975. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Shoji Oguma
Venue: Miyagi Sports Centre, Sendai, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Scorecards: 147-145, 149-145, 147-147.
Fight Summary: Making a cautious start, Canto (111) used the ring well and proved too experienced for the champion, despite Oguma (111¾) scoring with solid punches. Although Canto was on the floor four times in all, they were all classified as slips, while the southpaw champion was dropped in round 13. Contested at an extremely fast pace it was always close and could have gone either way, but at the final bell it was Canto’s mobility and sharper punching which swung it.
24 May 1975. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Betulio Gonzalez
Venue: National Stadium, Monterrey, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Scorecards: 147-144, 149-146, 144-145.
Fight Summary: Boxing well, using speed and footwork to keep away from danger and countering cleverly against an aggressive challenger, Canto (111) was value for his win. Gonzalez (112) was always dangerous but was unable to pin Canto down.
23 August 1975. Miguel Canto w rsc 11 (15) Jiro Takada
Venue: Carte Clara Stadium, Merida, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Juan Miranda.
Fight Summary: Extremely one-sided most of the way, Canto (111) pressured Takada (110) non-stop but could not put his rival down. It was not before time when the referee, knowing that the challenger could only win by a kayo, recognised that he was taking too much punishment and pulled him out at 1.09 of the 11th round.
13 December 1975. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Ignacio Espinal
Venue: Carte Clara Stadium, Merida, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Scorecards: 149-143, 149-142, 149-143.
Fight Summary: Counter-punching to perfection, Canto (112) outboxed his stocky opponent by using the left jab-and-move principle. Only when he mixed it with Espinal (112) did the champion look at risk, taking some hard shots, but he quickly reverted to defensive tactics to negate the challenger’s aggression.
15 May 1976. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Susumu Hanagata
Venue: Carte Clara Stadium, Merida, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ray Solis.
Scorecards: 149-139, 149-139, 150-137.
Fight Summary: Hanagata (112) was never really in it after the fourth round, having suffered a cut left eye, but was always dangerous whenever he attacked. However, using an accurate left jab and clever evasive tactics, Canto (111), who was cut over the right eye in the tenth, had all the answers, often dominating the fight from centre stage to retain his title.
3 October 1976. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Betulio Gonzalez
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Harry Gibbs.
Scorecards: 147-143, 147-145, 145-147.
Fight Summary: The champion boxed brilliantly throughout to score a decisive victory, even if one of the judges did not see it that way. Making Gonzalez (111½) miss, wildly at times, Canto (112) used his boxing brain well, scoring again and again as the aggressive challenger made a habit of walking on to the left jab.
19 November 1976. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Orlando Javierta
Venue: Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Jordan.
Scorecards: 149-137, 149-138, 149-138.
Fight Summary: Winning easily, once again Canto (112) dominated a title defence by the use of left-hand leading and hooks off the jab. The aggressive Javierta (112) fought bravely but without a chance. Although Canto controlled the pace of the fight, he lacked the power to finish matters or even to put his man down.
24 April 1977. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Luis Reyes Arnal
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Scorecards: 149-145, 148-144, 146-148.
Fight Summary: Although the champion’s superior technique prevailed in this one, his lack of a kayo punch meant that Arnal (111¼) would always be in with a chance. While not at his best, Canto (111½) showed that he was a difficult man to pin down.
15 June 1977. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Kimio Furesawa
Venue: Kuramae Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Harry Gibbs.
Scorecards: 148-138, 149-139, 149-140.
Fight Summary: Once again, Canto (112) dominated a challenger by falling back on his superior ring skills and his ability to counter. Although brave enough, Furesawa (112) could not find a way through and took too many scoring punches.
17 September 1977. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Martin Vargas
Venue: Carte Clara Stadium, Merida, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Scorecards: 146-141, 146-142, 148-145.
Fight Summary: While Vargas (111) made most of the running it was Canto (110) who impressed with his sharp counters and his ability to control the pace. Canto, who finished with a cut under the left eye, was a worthy winner, having nothing but praise for the tough if limited challenger.
30 November 1977. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Martin Vargas
Venue: National Football Stadium, Santiago, Chile. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Harry Gibbs.
Scorecards: 146-142, 149-141, 146-144.
Fight Summary: Dictating from the start, Canto (110¾) peppered Vargas (110) with left jabs to build up a good lead. Although Vargas was always chasing and tossing right hands at the champion, hurting him on a couple of occasions, he lacked the all-round skills to pose a real threat.
4 January 1978. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Shoji Oguma
Venue: City Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Scorecards: 147-146, 147-145, 145-148.
Fight Summary: A very close contest saw an absorbing mix of abilities. While the challenger, Oguma (111¾), made the running, it was the left-hand skills of Canto (111¾) that kept himself in the lead. Despite being cut by the right eye in the 14th round and under pressure in the last, Canto held on for the win.
18 April 1978. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Shoji Oguma
Venue: Kuramae Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Harry Gibbs.
Scorecards: 145-144, 148-145, 147-144.
Fight Summary: Just over three months later, Canto (112) and Oguma (112) were at it again. This time around, Oguma, who had a point deducted for a low blow, was unable to make up the leeway as the champion, despite lacking some of his sparkle, still jabbed his way to victory.
20 November 1978. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Facomron Vibonchai
Venue: Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Zack Clayton.
Scorecards: 145-142, 146-141, 142-145.
Fight Summary: In a tough fight, the champion, Canto (111¾), who carried a badly cut ear from the fourth round after a head clash, just about kept in front with the jab before he tired badly as Vibonchai (111¼) came with a rush.
10 February 1979. Miguel Canto w pts 15 Jose Antonio Avelar
Venue: Carte Clara Stadium, Merida, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ray Solis.
Scorecards: 148-141, 149-144, 146-141.
Fight Summary: Having great difficulty getting inside his challenger’s guard, Canto (111½), whose left eye was badly swollen at the end, found himself held tight whenever he got close. Eventually, Avelar (112) came out of his shell to box behind the jab to make it closer, but he lacked the ambition to claim the title.
Making his 15th defence, Canto would next take on the unrated Chan-He Park, who had just nine wins and a draw on his record since turning pro in July 1977.
18 March 1979. Chan-He Park w pts 15 Miguel Canto
Venue: Kudok Stadium, Pusan, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Ortega.
Scorecards: 148-146, 147-146, 150-140.
Fight Summary: Despite Canto (111) finishing strongly, Park (112) took the WBC title, having used his longer reach to score with lefts and rights. Park tired towards the end, but the champion lacked the power to put him on the floor. There were no knockdowns recorded.
20 May 1979. Chan-He Park w pts 15 Chikara Igarashi
Venue: Changchung Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Dick Young.
Scorecards: 150-141, 150-142, 150-134.
Fight Summary: Defending for the first time, Park (111½) was in control throughout against the game Igarashi (111¼), who was continually countered and often made to look pedestrian. If nothing else, the man from Japan showed he was extremely durable.
9 September 1979. Chan-He Park drew 15 Miguel Canto
Venue: Chansil Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Angelo Poletti.
Scorecards: 138-136, 135-137, 136-136.
Fight Summary: Park (111½) started quickly, dropping Canto (112) in the fifth with a cracking left hook for a mandatory 'eight' count. Boxing on warily, the crafty ex-champion eventually solved Park’s bobbing and weaving style to come on strongly towards the end to gain a share of the honours.
16 December 1979. Chan-He Park w rsc 2 (15) Guty Espadas
Venue: Kudok Stadium, Pusan, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Ortega.
Fight Summary: Down in the first, Park (111¼) fired back with vicious two-handed punches to drop the challenger twice before the bell. On answering the bell for the second round, Espadas (110), now cut over the left eye, charged in before being hammered down by a succession of hooks, and although he was effectively standing at ‘nine’ the referee continued to count him out at 2.28 of the session.
10 February 1980. Chan-He Park w pts 15 Arnel Arrozal
Venue: Changchung Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ken Morita.
Scorecards: 147-144, 146-142, 149-145.
Fight Summary: Despite knocking the challenger down in the second with a well-timed right, Park (111¾), who had difficulty solving the challenger’s southpaw stance, had run out of steam by the tenth, Arrozal (111¼) coming on like a train to win the remaining rounds. However, it was not enough to take the verdict.
12 April 1980. Chan-He Park w pts 15 Alberto Morales
Venue: The Gym, Taegu, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Takeshi Shimakawa.
Scorecards: 150-139, 150-143, 149-138.
Fight Summary: Taking the initiative, Park (112) dominated with straight punches to head and body while Morales (112) danced out of range, and apart from getting mixed up in a slugging session in the 13th round the champion raced to a lopsided decision. In the main, Park was content to pile up points and not risk getting cut.
18 May 1980. Shoji Oguma w co 9 (15) Chan-He Park
Venue: Changchung Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Harold Nadaya.
Fight Summary: This one ended after 53 seconds of the ninth round had elapsed when Park (111¾), floored by a barrage of punches thrown by Oguma (111¾) to both head and body, was counted out, thus losing his championship in the process.
28 July 1980. Shoji Oguma w pts 15 Sung-Jun Kim
Venue: Kurumae Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Paul Field.
Scorecards: 147-145, 148-145, 146-149.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Oguma (112), who suffered cuts over both eyes in a gruelling fight, held a huge lead before Kim (112) came on strongly to hammer him around the ring in the last three rounds. However, the champion, using everything at his disposal, hung on to take the split decision.
18 October 1980. Shoji Oguma w pts 15 Chan-He Park
Venue: Miyagi Sports Centre, Sendai, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Harry Gibbs.
Scorecards: 144-143, 146-145, 148-144.
Fight Summary: Oguma (111¾) came off the floor in the first round to box his way to victory over Park (111½) in a close fight where fortunes swayed back and forth. They were proved to be the right tactics as the challenger continually came on to the counters while Oguma, despite being cut over the right eye in the 13th, was able to keep out of harm's way.
3 February 1981. Shoji Oguma w pts 15 Chan-He Park
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Ortega.
Scorecards: 144-141, 145-140, 143-143.
Fight Summary: Well worth the majority decision, Oguma (112) had paced himself to take charge from the tenth round onwards, scoring with southpaw jabs and left hooks. Park (112), who had attacked strongly earlier on, finished with a badly cut left eye.
Jose Antonio Avelar, who already had a losing title shot on his record, would be Oguma’s next challenger. Since losing to Miguel Canto, Avelar had run up wins over Alfonso Lopez, Aniceto Vargas and Alberto Morales, and had 27 wins and one draw from 36 contests.
12 May 1981. Jose Antonio Avelar w co 7 (15) Shoji Oguma
Venue: City Gym, Mito City, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Davy Pearl.
Fight Summary: Proving to be a powerful puncher, Avelar (111¼) finally caught up with Oguma (112) to finish him off after 56 seconds of the seventh round, following a tremendous left hook and right cross on the button. The champion had earlier kept the fight at range and mixing it proved to be his downfall.
30 August 1981. Jose Antonio Avelar w co 2 (15) Tae-Shik Kim
Venue: Changchung Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Mills Lane.
Fight Summary: Starting quickly from the opening bell, both fighters threw plenty of leather before Avelar (111½) set Kim (111¼) up with a series of combination punches and finished his challenger off with two great left hooks at 2.46 of the second round.
With victories over Luis Reyes Arnal, Ricardo Estupinan, Alfonso Lopez, Luis Ibarra and Orlando Maldonado, and with a record of 30 wins from 36 contests, Prudencio Cardona would be the next man to challenge Avelar.
20 March 1982. Prudencio Cardona w co 1 (15) Jose Antonio Avelar
Venue: Tamaulipas Stadium, Tampico, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jimmy Rondeau.
Fight Summary: In a stunning upset, the defending champion, Avelar (112), was counted out at 2.04 of the opening round. The end came after Cardona (110¾) had set Avelar up with left jabs and left hooks before smashing in a right to the jaw that left him senseless.
Cardona’s next challenger would be Freddy Castillo, the former WBC junior flyweight title holder, with a record of 39 wins, four draws and 14 defeats. A southpaw, he had beaten both Gabriel Bernal (2) and Javier Lucas to warrant the opportunity.
24 July 1982. Freddy Castillo w pts 15 Prudencio Cardona
Venue: Carte Clara Stadium, Merida, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Waldemar Schmidt.
Scorecards: 146-144, 145-143, 149-145.
Fight Summary: A hard-hitting southpaw, Castillo (111¼) took charge from the third round when constantly coming forward with heavy left-hand punches that rocked Cardona (111) and put him on the back foot. The champion finished the fight with a cut over the right eye and another defeat to his name, while Castillo became a world champion at two different weights.
The first challenger for Castillo would be Eleoncio Mercedes, who had wins over Guty Espadas and Juan Antonio Guzman in what was a spotty record of 11 wins, two draws and six defeats.
6 November 1982. Eleoncio Mercedes w pts 15 Freddy Castillo
Venue: Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Larry Rozadilla.
Scorecards: 145-140, 145-139, 143-144.
Fight Summary: A gruelling affair saw Mercedes (111¼), who proved he could switch when required, first outbox and then outfight the slugging Castillo (111) to walk off with a well-deserved victory. There were no knockdowns, but both men were shaken up at times.
Charlie Magri, the former undefeated British and European flyweight champion, would be Mercedes’ first challenger. Despite being unrated Magri had 27 wins and two defeats to his name, and was an aggressive box-fighter who had beaten Franco Udella, Aniceto Vargas, Alfonso Lopez and Santos Laciar. He was also on home ground.
15 March 1983. Charlie Magri w rsc 7 (12) Eleoncio Mercedes
Venue: The Arena, Wembley, London, England. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ray Solis.
Fight Summary: Always coming forward, never taking no for an answer, Magri (111½) maintained his attack from the opening bell when working both body and head while giving Mercedes (111½) no room to move. Ultimately, it was an accidental head clash that caused a deep cut over the champion’s left eye which led to him being pulled out by the referee at 1.14 of the seventh round.
An unheralded southpaw, Frank Cedeno would be Magri’s first challenger. With a record of 30 wins, three draws and six losses, he had beaten Arnel Arrozal and Siony Carupo but had twice faltered when up against William Develos.
27 September 1983. Frank Cedeno w rsc 6 (12) Charlie Magri
Venue: The Arena, Wembley, London, England. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Angelo Poletti.
Fight Summary: Although starting well, Magri (111¼) found that he could not subdue Cedeno (110½) who came back strongly following a difficult start. After going well in the fifth and dominating the sixth, Cedeno floored the champion three times with swinging punches that almost came up from the floor. Magri, having suffered damage to his right hand, was rescued by the referee at 2.33 of the round, leaving his tough southpaw opponent to be crowned champion in his 40th contest.
Selected as Cedeno’s first challenger, Koji Kobayashi had a record of 20 wins, three draws and one loss, and was a fellow southpaw. A heavy puncher, Kobayashi had beaten Facomron Vibonchai and Jiri Takada inside the distance, but had been knocked out by Jiro Watanabe earlier in his career.
18 January 1984. Koji Kobayashi w rsc 2 (12) Frank Cedeno
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lou Filippo.
Fight Summary: In a bout between southpaws, Cedeno (112) made a good start but was floored four times in the second round and stopped with 1.48 on the clock. The fight had come to life after Kobayashi (112) had scored fiercely with both hands to head and body to secure the first knockdown.
Kobayashi’s first defence would be against Gabriel Bernal, a fellow southpaw who had 36 wins, two draws and eight losses on his record. On a winning streak of nine, Bernal had beaten Raul Valdez, Miguel Canto and Javier Lucas on his way to a top-ten ranking.
9 April 1984. Gabriel Bernal w co 2 (12) Koji Kobayashi
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Perez.
Fight Summary: Another championship fight between southpaws saw Bernal (111) knock out Kobayashi (112) at 2.37 of the second round. Having first put the champion down with a heavy left cross, Bernal finished matters with a terrific right, after switching to orthodox.
1 June 1984. Gabriel Bernal w rsc 11 (12) Antoine Montero
Venue: Roman Coliseum, Nimes, France. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Arthur Mercante.
Fight Summary: A match-up between southpaws saw the unbeaten Montero (112) perform well early on before having his jaw broken in the tenth round. A round later the referee stepped in and awarded the fight to Bernal (111) when the brave challenger was being hammered at will.
Next man up for Bernal would be Sot Chitalada, who had just seven contests to his name and had lost to Jung-Koo Chang in a crack at the WBC junior flyweight title in March.
8 October 1984. Sot Chitalada w pts 12 Gabriel Bernal
Venue: National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Zack Clayton.
Scorecards: 117-114, 114-113, 113-114.
Fight Summary: Chitalada (111½) proved to be a smooth operator as he countered the oncoming southpaw Bernal (111½) to perfection in a tough fight that flowed back and forth. While there was never a great deal between them, the new champion produced the better work.
20 February 1985. Sot Chitalada w rtd 4 (12) Charlie Magri
Venue: Alexandra Pavilion, Muswell Hill, London, England. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Marty Denkin.
Fight Summary: Despite Magri (111¾) making a great start (he was actually ahead on all three scorecards at the finish), Chitalada (111¾) stayed with him, and was coming on strong in the fourth when picking his punches with accuracy before opening up an inch-long cut on the challenger’s left eyelid. With the injury far too bad for Magri to continue, his corner retired him during the interval between the fourth and fifth rounds.
22 June 1985. Sot Chitalada drew 12 Gabriel Bernal
Venue: National Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Steve Crosson.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-115, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Knocked down by a left hook in the first round and by a left-right in the eighth, Chitalada (111¾) came back strongly with quick-fire jabs and excellent counters against the southpaw Bernal (112). Several times Bernal was shaken, but in the main he made the fight while the champion, who was cut over the left eye in the seventh, countered and moved.
22 February 1986. Sot Chitalada w pts 12 Freddy Castillo
Venue: El Saba Al Salem Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Roland Dakin.
Scorecards: 119-112, 119-110, 120-109.
Fight Summary: Taking part in the Middle East’s first ever title fight, Chitalada (112) cruised to a points win over the outclassed challenger, Castillo (112), who was floored in the second round and failed to make any impression whatsoever.
10 December 1986. Sot Chitalada w pts 12 Gabriel Bernal
Venue: Hua Mark Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lou Filippo.
Scorecards: 120-110, 117-102, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Even though the rugged Bernal (112) never stopped going forward and had some success at close quarters, the champion, Chitalada (112), won clearly when using nimble footwork, speed and crisp counter-punching to great effect.
5 September 1987. Sot Chitalada w co 4 (12) Rae-Ki Ahn
Venue: Hua Mark Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Fight Summary: Chitalada (111) came out firing, never giving the hard-hitting Ahn (110) a chance to get going. With this one never going to last, Chitalada put the challenger down three times before a cracking left hook followed by a short right, ended proceedings with a count-out at 2.50 of the fourth round.
31 January 1988. Sot Chitalada w rsc 7 (12) Hideaki Kamishiro
Venue: Castle Sports Hall, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Steve Crosson.
Fight Summary: Superior in both defence and attack, Chitalada (111¾) had cut Kamishiro (111½) over the right eye as early as the second round with an accurate left jab, and after busting his challenger up completely in the seventh the fight was halted at the bell.
The unrated Yong-Kang Kim, who was unbeaten after 16 contests, would be Chitalada’s next challenger. A pro since April 1985, he was the South Korean and OPBF junior flyweight champion.
24 July 1988. Yong-Kang Kim w pts 12 Sot Chitalada
Venue: Indoor Gym, Pohang, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 115-114.
Fight Summary: In a huge upset, Kim (112) pounded out a solid points win over a weight-drained Chitalada (112), who was unable to assert himself at any time and finished the fight with a cut right eye. After suffering the second defeat of his career it was back to the drawing board for Chitalada.
12 November 1988. Yong-Kang Kim w pts 12 Emil Romano
Venue: Indoor Gym, Chungju, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Sid Rubenstein.
Scorecards: 118-107, 118-107, 118-107.
Fight Summary: All one-way, Kim (111¼) had too much of everything for the game southpaw, Romano (112). The Filipino, who finished with a badly swollen face, showed great resistance when absorbing all of the champion’s best blows.
5 March 1989. Yong-Kang Kim w pts 12 Leopard Tamakuma
Venue: Prefectural Gym, Aomori, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Looking to make a successful second defence, Kim (111¾) scored well with hard straight rights to head and body as he looked for an early win. In the fifth, however, Tamakuma (111¼) began to press with powerful left and right uppercuts, which forced Kim back to the ropes. The man from Japan then took command of the contest in three of the next four sessions until Kim came back with a series of combination punches that forced his man around the ring in the final six minutes to just about warrant the decision.
Having lost his WBC title to Kim in July 1988, Sot Chitalada would be his next challenger. Since that meeting, Chitalada had beaten his three opponents inside the distance when taking his record to 17 wins, one draw and two defeats.
3 June 1989. Sot Chitalada w pts 12 Yong-Kang Kim
Venue: Municipal Stadium, Trang, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Steve Crosson.
Scorecards: 117-113, 116-112, 113-115.
Fight Summary: In a gruelling 12-rounder, Chitalada (112), making a fast start, regained the titles from the man he had earlier lost them to. The Thai showed great stamina, coupled with sharp, accurate punching to come home a close winner. Bounding in two-fistedly Kim (112) was always in the fight, but although extremely dangerous at all times he often ran into jabs and uppercuts, and missed a lot with his power punches.
30 January 1990. Sot Chitalada w pts 12 Ric Siodora
Venue: Lumpinee Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Scorecards: 118-109, 119-113, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Rarely displaying his class in a boring, monotonous affair despite winning easily, Chitalada (112) was often drawn into rough and tumbles. Right from the start it was clear that if the limited Siodora (112) wanted to win the title he would have to get to close quarters where he could bully the champion about.
1 May 1990. Sot Chitalada w pts 12 Carlos Salazar
Venue: Army Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Kazunobu Asao.
Scorecards: 117-112, 117-112, 116-113.
Fight Summary: A scrappy affair saw Chitalada (112) put up with a badly cut forehead to box his way to a comprehensive points victory over the tough Salazar (111½), who started his challenge with eye damage already sustained in training.
7 September 1990. Sot Chitalada w co 11 Richard Clarke
Venue: National Arena, Kingston, Jamaica. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Perez.
Fight Summary: Trailing on points, Chitalada (112) finally caught up with Clarke (110¼), who had relied on the jab-and-move routine, after shaking him up with a right uppercut in the 11th. When Chitalada immediately followed up with a further seven fast deliveries, the challenger was smashed to the canvas to be counted out after 44 seconds of the session had elapsed.
24 November 1990. Sot Chitalada w pts 12 Jung-Koo Chang
Venue: Olympic Gymnastics Hall, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Scorecards: 114-113, 115-114, 114-114.
Fight Summary: With Chitalada (112) constantly pushing Chang (111¾) to the ropes the challenger found it difficult boxing on the back foot. However, he still proved a danger until both tired over the closing stages.
Chitalada’s next defence would be against the former IBF junior flyweight champion, Muangchai Kittikasem, who had stepped up a weight. The hard-punching Kittikasem had a record of 13 wins (nine inside the distance) and one loss, and had beaten Tacy Macalos (2) and Abdi Pohan.
15 February 1991. Muangchai Kittikasem w rsc 6 Sot Chitalada
Venue: Central Stadium, Ayuthaya, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Chuck Hassett.
Fight Summary: It was a sad end to see a good champion lose in six one-sided rounds, but that is what happened. Chitalada (112) was dropped twice early on before being punished heavily without reply by the slugging Kittikasem (112) and rescued by the referee after 70 seconds of the sixth. Kittikasem became a two-weight world champion on winning.
18 May 1991. Muangchai Kittikasem w rsc 12 Jung-Koo Chang
Venue: Gymnastics Hall, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Perez.
Fight Summary: Floored twice in the fifth round and once in the 11th, Kittikasem (111½) came back from the brink to hammer Chang (112) to the floor in the 12th and force a stoppage on the 2.36 mark when the challenger was unable to defend himself.
25 October 1991. Muangchai Kittikasem w pts 12 Alberto Jimenez
Venue: Lumpinee Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lou Filippo.
Scorecards: 117-110, 115-114, 114-114.
Fight Summary: Battling away in what was a contest of varying fortunes, Kittikasem (112) had to climb off the floor in the third session to stay in the fight. Round after round, Jimenez (112) came forward unremittingly, only to be met head on by the champion, whose cleaner and more correct punching got him home.
28 February 1992. Muangchai Kittikasem w rsc 9 Sot Chitalada
Venue: Crocodile Farm, Samut Prakan, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Marty Denkin.
Fight Summary: Having shed some 23lbs prior to the fight, Chitalada (111½), a shell of his old self, was put down in the second. Somehow surviving the ordeal he kept going, but cut over both eyes and being pounded around the ring by Kittikasem (112) the referee called a halt at 1.30 of the ninth to rescue the brave former champion.
A former world amateur champion, Yuri Arbachakov, who was one of the first Russians to turn pro, would be Kittikasem’s next challenger. Ranked number seven, Arbachakov had turned pro in February 1990 and run up 12 wins, 11 of them inside the distance, while fighting out of Japan.
23 June 1992. Yuri Arbachakov w co 8 Muangchai Kittikasem
Venue: Ryoguku Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jose Medina.
Fight Summary: Arbachakov (111¾) became the first fighter from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – formed following the break-up of the Soviet Union) to win a world title when he made a fast start to floor the weight-drained Kittikasem (112) in the first until becoming careless and taking an 'eight' count himself in the third. Immediately putting the Thai on the floor again, the hard-punching Arbachakov dominated from there on before landing a bludgeoning right hander that sent his rival crashing to the boards in the eighth to be counted out with just one second of the session remaining.
20 October 1992. Yuri Arbachakov w pts 12 Yun-Un Chin
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Scorecards: 117-109, 115-113, 117-108.
Fight Summary: Even though he was on the floor three times, the unbeaten Chin (112) made quite a fight of it before going down convincingly to the skilled Arbachakov (112), who took his unbeaten record to 14.
20 March 1993. Yuri Arbachakov w rsc 9 Muangchai Kittikasem
Venue: The Stadium, Lopburi, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Fight Summary: The heavy-hitting Arbachakov (112) overpowered the brave Kittikasem (111½) to force a stoppage under the three-knockdown ruling at 1.44 of the ninth round, having had the challenger on the deck three times in that session and bleeding badly from the nose.
16 July 1993. Yuri Arbachakov w pts 12 Ysaias Zamudio
Venue: World Memorial Hall, Kobe City, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Scorecards: 117-115, 116-113, 116-112.
Fight Summary: Even though he was unable to floor the tough Zamudio (111½), Arbachakov (111¾) chased and harassed the challenger throughout. Occasionally Zamudio fought back, but finding it difficult to sustain he was well beaten at the final bell.
13 December 1993. Yuri Arbachakov w pts 12 Nam-Hoon Cha
Venue: Municipal Gym, Kyoto, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Scorecards: 117-113, 116-112, 118-111.
Fight Summary: Arbachakov (111¼) well outpointed Cha (112) in what was no more than a brawl and hardly a great advert for boxing at times. The wild, swinging South Korean who was on the floor in the 11th from a left hook, finished with a cut nose, the recipient of the champion’s accurate blows which eventually took their toll.
1 August 1994. Yuri Arbachakov w co 8 Hugo Soto
Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Alfred Asaro.
Fight Summary: Dominating the action almost throughout, Arbachakov (112) put Soto (112) under constant pressure with streams of jabs and hooks, followed by right crosses that hit the target. Finally, the champion downed Soto, who was counted out six seconds after the bell to end round eight.
30 January 1995. Yuri Arbachakov w pts 12 Oscar Arciniega
Venue: Tsukisappu Green Dome, Sapporo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: James Jen-Kin.
Scorecards: 116-113, 116-112, 116-112.
Fight Summary: There was no doubting that Arbachakov (111¼), said to have had a recent bout of flu, was not at his best and that Arciniega (110½) took full advantage of the champion’s lethargy without ever looking likely to win. Arbachakov was always the aggressor, having the Mexican on the back foot throughout.
25 September 1995. Yuri Arbachakov w pts 12 Chatchai Sasakul
Venue: Nihon Budokan Martial Arts Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-114, 117-113.
Fight Summary: After scoring well to head and body in the early stages, Arbachakov (112) began to pull away despite Sasakul (112) coming back with hooks and uppercuts on the counter. The champion dominated most of the action for the last five rounds, particularly in the final two sessions.
5 February 1996. Yuri Arbachakov w pts 12 Raul Juarez
Venue: Castle Hall, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Luis Carlos Guzman.
Scorecards: 117-110, 117-111, 114-112.
Fight Summary: Although the champion floored Juarez (111½) three times in all he was unable to score an inside-the-distance victory. In what was a disappointing display from Arbachakov (112), he continually allowed the well-beaten Juarez off the hook, especially after setting him up.
26 August 1996. Yuri Arbachakov w rsc 9 Takato Toguchi
Venue: Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Nobuaki Uratani.
Fight Summary: Despite putting up a brave show, the challenging Toguchi (112) was decked twice before being rescued by the referee after 1.29 of round nine had elapsed following an Arbachakov (112) assault that left him defenceless on the ropes.
Sidelined with a broken wrist, Arbachakov was forced to sit and watch Chatchai Sasakul outpoint Ysaias Zamudio on points over 12 rounds at the Prince Palace Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand on 9 May 1997 to win the WBC ‘interim’ title. Then, on 1 August 1997, with Arbachakov still not available, Sasakul forced Juan Domingo Cordoba to retire at the end of the seventh at the Prince Palace Hotel to successfully defend the ‘interim’ crown. Finally getting a shot at the champion on 12 November 1997, Sasakul, who was on 29 wins and one technical draw from 31 contests, had already had an earlier crack at Arbachakov, which resulted in his only defeat to date.
12 November 1997. Chatchai Sasakul w pts 12 Yuri Arbachakov
Venue: Tsukisamu Green Dome, Sapporo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Scorecards: 117-111, 116-113, 119-111.
Fight Summary: In dethroning Arbachakov (112), the fast and accurate-punching Sasakul (112), also known as Dutchboy Gym, scored a lopsided points victory. At the same time Sasakul had avenged a previous defeat. There were no knockdowns, despite the champion being badly hurt a couple of times and Sasakul being wobbled in the ninth.
27 February 1998. Chatchai Sasakul w pts 12 Young-Jin Kim
Venue: Koh Samui Amphitheatre, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jose Medina.
Scorecards: 117-111, 119-111, 119-111.
Fight Summary: Carrying a sprained right wrist into the fight, Sasakul (111½) soon realised he had problems, but showed great character in fighting a one-handed campaign to get the win. There was no doubting the effort of Kim (111½), but he was clumsy by comparison and unable to take advantage of the opportunity.
1 May 1998. Chatchai Sasakul w co 5 Yong-Soon Chang
Venue: Rajadamnern Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Malcolm Bulner.
Fight Summary: Making use of his jab and good movement, Sasakul (112) initially kept the aggressive Chang (112) at bay before stepping up a gear to outpunch him. Turning loose in the fifth round, after the champion downed Chang with a vicious blow to the solar plexus the latter was counted out on the 2.54 mark.
Sasakul’s third defence would see him pitted against the unranked Manny Pacquiao, who would eventually become one of the legends of the ring. As the current OPBF champion, Pacquiao, a southpaw, had lost just once in 24 contests.
4 December 1998. Manny Pacquiao w co 8 Chatchai Sasakul
Venue: Tonsuk College Ground, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Malcolm Bulner.
Fight Summary: Seemingly boxing his way to victory, Sasakul (112) continued to take risks despite being hurt in the fourth round by a solid southpaw left. Ignoring the warning, he was ultimately made to pay when the challenging Pacquiao (112) unloaded an explosive left hook to the jaw in the eighth. Unable to rise, Sasakul was counted out with six seconds of the round remaining.
24 April 1999. Manny Pacquiao w rsc 4 Gabriel Mira
Venue: Araneta Coliseum, Manila, Philippines. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Fight Summary: A one-sided contest saw Pacquiao (111¾) flooring Mira (110½) in each of the first three rounds, prior to a southpaw right-left to the head seeing the challenger off at 2.45 of the fourth when the referee immediately called a halt so that the loser could be tended to. Mira had already been on the floor twice in that session.
Pacquiao’s next defence would be against Medgoen Singsurat, who was unbeaten in 18 contests, winning 11 of them inside the distance. A hard-hitting, aggressive fighter, he had wins over Juanito and Ernesto Rubillar and Jerry Pahayahay.
17 September 1999. Medgoen Singsurat w rsc 3 Manny Pacquiao
Venue: Pakpanag Metro Stadium, Nakhon, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Guadalupe Garcia.
Fight Summary: Despite Pacquiao (113) losing his WBC title on the scales, the contest against Singsurat (112) went ahead for the vacant crown with only the latter able to win it. Having hurt Pacquiao, a southpaw, in the second round with heavy straight rights it was more of the same in the third as he punched his rival around the ring. Floored by a right to the body, Pacquiao just about made it to his feet before the referee brought matters to a conclusion at 1.32 of the session.
25 February 2000. Medgoen Singsurat w pts 12 Masaki Kawabata
Venue: Mahachai Villa Arena, Samut Sakorn, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richie Davies.
Scorecards: 120-105, 119-109, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Quickly sorting his challenger’s style out, Singsurat (111) used the jab effectively to pile up points. And when Kawabata (112) attacked he ran into solid combinations that left him floundering. The challenger proved a game opponent, but lacked speed and authority.
The unrated Malcolm Tunacao, a southpaw, would be the next man up for Singsurat. A pro since August 1998, Tunacao was unbeaten in ten contests.
19 May 2000. Malcolm Tunacao w rsc 7 Medgoen Singsurat
Venue: Srimnang Outdoor Arena, Udon Thani, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Brian McMahon.
Fight Summary: With a relentless display of aggression, Tunacao (111), a lanky southpaw, ground down Singsurat (112) to defeat at 1.53 of the seventh when the referee had seen enough and rescued the brave champion to save him from further punishment. Both men were badly cut, Tunacao over the left eye and Singsurat on the right eye. At the time of the fight, Singsurat was being billed as ‘3K Battery’ (after a brand of highly renowned Thai automotive and motorcycle batteries).
20 August 2000. Malcolm Tunacao drew 12 Celes Kobayashi
Venue: Ryogoku Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.
Scorecards: 115-113, 112-115, 113-113.
Fight Summary: Tunacao (111½) was twice penalised for butting Kobayashi (111½) in an all-southpaw battle which first went one way and then the other. However, not to be denied, it was Tunacao’s late surge that got him a share of the spoils.
Tunacao would next defend against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, a fellow southpaw who had lost just two of 40 contests, both of them to Jerry Payayahay. Having avenged his defeats at the hands of Payayahay, the hard-hitting Wonjongkam, with 21 inside-the-distance wins to his credit, went on to beat Randy Mangubat and Juanito Rubillar in his climb to a title shot.
2 March 2001. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w rsc 1 Malcolm Tunacao
Venue: Open Air Arena, Pichit, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Kim-Jae Bong.
Fight Summary: Although the bigger man, Tunacao (112) was backed to the ropes and dropped by a heavy right almost immediately the fight had got underway. Put down again by a left-right, following the mandatory ‘eight’ count the southpaw champion bravely tried to fight back, but Wonjongkam (112), also a portsider, was having none of it. Keeping up the pressure, Wonjongkam found another big right to bring matters to a halt on the 2.42 mark when the referee dispensed with the count after Tunacao had been dropped by lefts and rights to the head.
15 July 2001. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w rsc 5 Hayato Asai
Venue: Aichi Martial Arts Hall, Nagoya, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Fight Summary: Aggressive from the start, Wonjongkam (112) dropped Asai (112), who had started well enough, twice in the fourth and once in the fifth from southpaw right hooks and combinations. Having got up from the third knockdown, but being battered from all angles, the challenger was taken out of the contest by the referee in the fifth with 47 seconds on the clock.
26 October 2001. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w tdec 8 Alex Baba
Venue: Indoor Basketball Gym, Hat Yai, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richie Davies.
Scorecards: 79-73, 79-73, 79-71.
Fight Summary: Taking the initiative from the start, Wonjongkam (112), an excellent southpaw puncher with a good defence, landed accurate combinations to go into the lead before sustaining a bad cut on the left eyebrow in the fourth following an accidental collision. From there on, Baba (112) gamely got back into the fight until the champion cut loose again in the eighth, only for his eye damage to worsen and leave the referee no alternative but to pull him out on the 2.35 mark to go to the scorecards.
6 December 2001. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w rsc 2 Luis Alberto Lazarte
Venue: Ambassador City Jomtien Hotel, Pattaya, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: David Chung.
Fight Summary: Wonjongkam (112) soon got going, stiff, hurtful punches getting to Lazarte (110½) early on, and a cracking left put the Argentine down in the second round. Although Lazarte, the challenger, did not look up to the job in hand, it was a surprise when the towel was thrown in as he was on his feet and ready to go before the fight was halted by the referee on the 2.43 mark.
19 April 2002. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w co 1 Daisuke Naito
Venue: Provincial Stadium, Khonkaen, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Guillermo Ayon.
Fight Summary: Registering the quickest kayo in the division thus far, Wonjongkam (112), covering up against a furious attack, suddenly unleashed a cracking southpaw left to the jaw of the challenging Naito (112), who was duly counted out after just 34 seconds.
6 September 2002. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Jesus Martinez
Venue: Future Park Plaza, Rangsit, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Perez.
Scorecards: 120-107, 119-109, 120-106.
Fight Summary: Put down twice, in the third and 11th rounds, Martinez (112) was no match for the hard-hitting southpaw champion, Wonjongkam (112), who got stronger as the fight progressed to run out a clear winner.
26 November 2002. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Hidenobu Honda
Venue: The Dome, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Scorecards: 119-109, 115-113, 116-112.
Fight Summary: Setting a fast pace, Wonjongkam (111½) kept on the attack against a slippery challenger whose main aim was to avoid taking punishment. However, into the final third, although Honda (111¾) hit back to dominate the last four rounds it was not enough by a long chalk.
5 June 2003. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Randy Mangubat
Venue: The Stadium, Songkla, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Brian McMahon.
Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 119-110.
Fight Summary: Defending for the seventh time, Wonjongkam (112) once again impressed with good scoring shots to the head while the durable Mangubat (112) worked well to the body, something the champion was never really comfortable with. Although Mangubat was docked a point in the tenth when going low, the wide margins on all three scorecards proved that many of his body shots were not considered to be scoring punches.
14 November 2003. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Hussein Hussein
Venue: Lumpini Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: David Chung.
Scorecards: 117-111, 117-113, 116-111.
Fight Summary: Despite having to take off excess weight at the weigh-in, the southpaw champion boxed close to his best to defeat the previously unbeaten Hussein (111½), who had a distinct reach advantage and plenty of power to go with it. Although a close fight between two well-matched opponents, Wonjongkam (112) generally dictated the way it went, his right hook and jab paving the way, and he put the seal on his victory when dropping Hussein in the 11th round.
3 January 2004. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Trash Nakanuma
Venue: The Pacifico, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-113, 115-113.
Fight Summary: The southpaw champion, defending for the ninth time, skilfully outpointed the hard-punching Nakanuma (112), being quite happy at times to swap blows with his rival as he confirmed his superiority. Picking his punches well, Wonjongkam (112) came under pressure several times, notably in the fourth, fifth and eighth rounds, but remained unruffled even in the 12th session as Nakanuma went all out for victory.
15 July 2004. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w rsc 5 Luis Angel Martinez
Venue: Central Sports Centre, Khonkaen, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: David Chung.
Fight Summary: Yet again showing his southpaw skills and controlled aggression to the full, the champion dominated from the opening bell before suffering a bad cut over his left eye in the fourth, for which Martinez (112) was deducted a point for an accidental butt. From there onwards, Wonjongkam (112), leaving nothing to chance, picked up the pace to work Martinez over and drop him heavily with a right hook in the fifth. Back in the fray, but under severe pressure from Wonjongkam’s follow-up attack, Martinez was rescued by the referee at 1.49 of the session.
29 January 2005. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w rsc 5 Noriyuki Komatsu
Venue: Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Malcolm Bulner.
Fight Summary: The champion was far too good for Komatsu (112), who was cut over the left eye in the second and floored by a cracking southpaw left in the same session prior to receiving a thorough going over. Although Komatsu tried to fight back, Wonjongkam (112) continued to land solid combinations throughout the third and fourth rounds before dropping his rival again, this time with a right hook. Despite Komatsu getting up he suffered another knockdown following a barrage of combination punches, and on finding his feet again the referee called the fight off at 1.42 of the fifth when the doctor decided that the latter’s cut was too bad for him to continue.
10 October 2005. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w tdec 7 Daisuke Naito
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Scorecards: 68-64, 68-64, 68-64.
Fight Summary: Despite having a quick win over Naito (112) on his record, Wonjongkam (112) started slowly against the aggressive challenger, being content to counter before having a point deducted in the second for a head butt. With Naito now cut over the right eye, the southpaw Wonjongkam began to get home with left-right combinations to the head as he attempted to worsen the damage, but Naito continued to fight back strongly. Unfortunately it was a lost cause and, at 2.38 of the seventh the referee called for the cards to be totted up following the doctor’s advice that Naito’s cut was now too bad for him to continue.
16 February 2006. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Gilberto Keb Baas
Venue: The Open Air Arena, Chainart, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Scorecards: 119-110, 120-109, 120-109.
Fight Summary: Getting into the driving seat from the opening bell, the southpaw champion breezed to a clear points win over Keb Baas (112), a man who seemed only interested in staying the course. Despite having speed, reach and all-round ability in his favour the hard-punching Wonjongkam (112) was happy to take no risks when sending in right jabs from distance, rarely following his work up. Stepping on the gas only occasionally, the Thai disappointed his fans who expected a shoot-out.
1 May 2006. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Daigo Nakahiro
Venue: 11th Infantry Regiment Barracks, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Scorecards: 120-107, 119-110, 120-107.
Fight Summary: Making it 14 successful defences following his unanimous points win, Wonjongkam (112) matched Miguel Canto's WBC record. Being beaten in his previous fight by Daisuke Naito was not the best way for Nakahiro (112) to come into this one, and when he was subjected to a storming body attack from the opening bell and was dropped in the second for a count of 'nine' it looked like it was going to be an early night for him. Although the hard-hitting Wonjongkam was always in control he never pressed hard for a stoppage, apart from in the ninth and tenth, being happy to cruise home.
30 June 2006. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w rsc 4 Everardo Morales
Venue: Siam Paragon Hall, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bill Clancy.
Fight Summary: In breaking Miguel Canto's record for WBC defences, the hard-hitting southpaw champion proved his credentials. Certainly, he was far too good for the limited Morales (111¾), who despite fighting bravely was no match for Wonjongkam (112). Pressurised from the opening bell when being caught by heavy left hands, Morales was dropped in the second and again in the third when he just about survived the round. The fight was eventually stopped 55 seconds into the fourth when Morales was pouring blood from cuts over both eyes and taking a hammering.
17 November 2006. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Monelisi Myekeni
Venue: Suranaree Stadium, Korat, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Scorecards: 119-108, 117-111, 118-110.
Fight Summary: A difficult fight for the southpaw champion saw Myekeni (111¾) spending virtually all of his time on the back foot after he had been dropped in the opening session by a solid right hook. Chasing his man for round after round, Wonjongkam (112) occasionally caught up with Myekeni, hurting him with every punch that connected. When he did have his man going in the fifth, Wonjongkam was denied a quick win when the referee mistook the ten-second clanger for the bell to end the round. After Wonjongkam relaxed towards the end, knowing he had the fight in the bag, Myekeni at last came forward to the cheers of the crowd despite it being of no value at that stage of the contest.
6 April 2007. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w rtd 7 Tomonobu Shimizu
Venue: Tabkwang District Main Stadium, Saraburi, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Brad Vocale.
Fight Summary: Having it easy for the opening three or four rounds, the champion quickly realised that he had little to worry about before stepping it up in the fifth. After taking a battering from Wonjongkam (112) in the seventh, being floored by a southpaw straight right and right up against it, Shimizu (111¾) was retired at the end of the session by his corner.
Wonjongkam’s next defence would be against the Japanese and OPBF champion, Daisuke Naito, a man he had twice turned back in title fights. In 34 contests, they were the only defeats Naito had suffered since turning pro in October 1996, and he was hoping that it would be third time lucky.
18 July 2007. Daisuke Naito w pts 12 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Toby Gibson.
Scorecards: 115-113, 116-113, 116-113.
Fight Summary: Looking to put two previous defeats at the hands of the champion behind him, Naito (112) sensationally came through when winning the unanimous decision. Wonjongkam (112) had failed to make the weight at the first time of asking, and although he managed to take off 1.25lbs in just under an hour he looked drained, lacking his normal speed. Beginning quickly, throwing big overarm rights, Naito surprised Wonjongkam as he moved in and out with heavy shots, some finding the target and some not, whilst the latter had difficulty getting into range with his powerful southpaw blows. After Wonjongkam was cut over the right eye in the fourth, Naito pushed ahead in the fifth and sixth before the champion came on strongly in the seventh through to the ninth when cutting back the deficit and opening up a cut over the latter's right eye. The last three sessions saw both men tiring, but a big right in the 11th that dazed Wonjongkam virtually sealed the win for Naito despite the Thai fighting furiously in the 12th. Prior to this contest, Wonjongkam had successfully defended the WBC title on 17 occasions.
11 October 2007. Daisuke Naito w pts 12 Daiki Kameda
Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Scorecards: 117-107, 117-107, 116-108.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence in what turned out to be a fight filled with animosity, Naito (112), cut over the right eye in the third, won due to the fact that his punches had the better quality and there were more of them. The main difference between the two boxers being that Naito built on combinations while Kameda (112) threw one punch at a time. Both fighters committed a series of fouls, Naito being deducted a point in the ninth for hitting Kameda on the back of the head when they were both down, while Kameda lost three points in the 12th for twice throwing his man and also lifting him. Although there were no official knockdowns, the men were on the floor on several occasions from slips and wrestling.
8 March 2008. Daisuke Naito drew 12 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
Venue: Ryogoku Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hector Afu.
Scorecards: 115-113, 114-115, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In a return match, Naito (112) just about did enough to warrant a split draw. Wonjongkam (112) made the better start when taking the opening four rounds, Naito being wild in his attacks and lacking in accuracy, but from the fifth through to the eighth it was the latter who picked it up as the challenger tired. Following that, Wonjongkam got himself going again, his southpaw combinations making their mark before Naito came on strongly in the final session.
30 July 2008. Daisuke Naito w co 10 Tomonobu Shimizu
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Garza.
Fight Summary: Down on all three cards, the champion eventually found the punches that destroyed Shimizu (112). It had been Shimizu for most of the opening nine rounds as he avoided the punches thrown by the wild-swinging Naito (112) while countering with lefts and rights. Realizing his title was slipping away from him Naito tore out for the tenth, firing in blows from both hands and keeping right on top of Shimizu until dropping him with two big rights. On his feet again, Shimizu was soon put down again by a series of heavy lefts and rights before being counted out on the 57-second mark.
23 December 2008. Daisuke Naito w rsc 11 Shingo Yamaguchi
Venue: Kokugikan Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Yuji Fukuchi.
Fight Summary: Boxing in determined fashion the champion soon confused Yamaguchi (111¾) with his overarm punches thrown from a low, moving stance before running up a lead, even though some of the rounds were hotly contested. Although Yamaguchi had a good fourth, Naito (112) took the next few rounds as he stepped up the pace. Realising he was behind on the cards, Yamaguchi went for broke in the eighth through the tenth, putting Naito on the defensive as he poured in lefts and rights. However, in the 11th it was Naito who made the better start when flooring Yamaguchi with a heavy right to the head. Although Yamaguchi made it up and was punching it out with Naito, the moment he was caught by a terrific left hook that badly dazed him the referee called the contest off at 1.11 of the session. Further to the stoppage, Yamaguchi immediately collapsed to the floor.
26 May 2009. Daisuke Naito w pts 12 Chaozhong Xiong
Venue: Differ-Ariake Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Scorecards: 114-110, 114-111, 113-111.
Fight Summary: With the contest originally to be held in China, it was switched to Japan at three days’ notice after the Shanghai venue was found to be unsecured. There was never that much between the pair, but the champion was deemed by all three judges to have won a tough contest that swung back and forth, even though he had been dropped in the sixth by a long left hook when Xiong (112) found a chink in his armour. Both men were docked points for unintentional head butts, Xiong in the fourth and fifth and Naito (112) in the tenth. The Chinese fighter was proving both durable and hard hitting by the third, hurting Naito with solid blows before he too was almost down at the end of the session. Cut over the left eye in the fourth and on the right eye in the fifth, Naito was up against it. It was in the ninth that Naito finally took control, but it did not last long as the challenger, cut over the right eye in the tenth, pushed on in the 11th before being held up in the 12th as Naito got his boxing back together to make sure of the decision.
Naito’s next defence would be against Koki Kameda, the brother of Daiki, who had earlier failed in a title attempt against the champion. Unbeaten in 21 contests, 14 of them being inside the distance, Kameda, a southpaw, had been the undefeated WBA junior flyweight champion before stepping up a division. Ranked at number six, Saman Sorjaturong, Noel Arambulet, Juan Jose Landaeta, Everardo Morales and Humberto Pool were just a few of the good men he had beaten.
29 November 2009. Koki Kameda w pts 12 Daisuke Naito
Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hector Afu.
Scorecards: 117-111, 116-112, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Regardless that he forced the fight throughout the 35-year-old champion was outscored by the unbeaten Kameda (112), who remained on the back foot for much of the time countering with southpaw rights and lefts. It was clear that Naito (112) threw more punches than the former undefeated WBA junior flyweight title holder, but it was also clear that he missed his target with the great majority of them, finishing the contest with a badly swollen face and a suspected broken nose. Although Naito went on the rampage in the final session he had little joy, in the main being unable to get to his man before the bell brought an end to his nightmare.
Having lost his WBC title to Daisuke Naito back in July 2007, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam would be Kameda’s first challenger. In ten contests since that defeat, Wonjongkam, who had 74 wins, one draw and three defeats on his tab, had beaten Julio Cesar Miranda and Takahisa Masuda in WBC ‘interim’ title contests that ensured he would eventually get to grips with Kameda. With Kameda rated as the top man in the division and Wonjongkam ranked number two The Ring Championship Belt would be on the line in this one.
27 March 2010. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Koki Kameda
Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Scorecards: 115-112, 116-112, 114-114.
Fight Summary: In a battle of southpaws, the ‘interim’ champion, Wonjongkam (111½), regained the titles he once held when outscoring Kameda (112) by a majority decision. Despite Wonjongkam being in control for much of the way, one of the judges actually saw the result as a draw. Wonjongkam made the better start, his accurate punches taking him to the front before he had a point taken away in the fifth when heads collided and left Kameda cut on the right eye. Although heads came together again there were no more deductions, and from thereon in it was Wonjongkam's better work that secured the win.
8 October 2010. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Suriyan Sor Rungvisai
Venue: Open Air Arena, Nonghai, Srisaket, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Scorecards: 114-113, 115-112, 115-114.
Fight Summary: Wonjongkam (112) was given a tough time of it by the relatively inexperienced Sor Rungvisai (112), also known as Por Chokchai, before coming through for the win. The fight flowed back and forth with neither man in the ascendancy for long, Sor Rungvisai showing with solid left hooks as the southpaw champion bashed away with straight right-lefts. Both men were hurt on occasion, but neither backed down. In the eighth Sor Rungvisai was docked a point for an accidental head butt that left Wonjongkam with a cut left eye, while the tenth saw a tremendous attacking display from both fighters before the challenger went for broke to no avail in the final session.
1 July 2011. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Takuya Kogawa
Venue: Public Arena, Hat Yai, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Lou Moret.
Scorecards: 118-110, 117-111, 116-112.
Fight Summary: The champion proved to be too good for Kogawa (111½) who despite boxing well lacked the power to walk off with a win. Although Kogawa was faster than Wonjongkam (112) and rarely stopped throwing punches, he was kept at bay by solid southpaw counters and left hooks that often rocked him. Both men finished the contest with cuts above their right eyes caused by unintentional head butts.
21 October 2011. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam w pts 12 Edgar Sosa
Venue: 11th Infantry Regiment Arena, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Massimo Barrovecchio.
Scorecards: 116-111, 117-110, 117-110.
Fight Summary: The 34-year-old Wonjongkam (112) once again proved too good for a younger challenger when meeting fire with fire. Whenever Sosa (112) put good punches together Wonjongkam would come back strongly, his quality southpaw shots being both hurtful and accurate. Although Wonjongkam was deducted a point in the ninth for an accidental head butt that left Sosa nursing a cut right eye it barely made a difference.
23 December 2011. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam tdraw 1 Hirofumi Mukai
Venue: 11th Infantry Regiment Arena, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Guido Cavallieri.
Fight Summary: The match was called off after just 47 seconds of action when Mukai (112) was badly gashed over his right eye from a coming together of heads, Wonjongkam (112) thus remaining champion. WBC rules stated that if a fight ended through injury prior to the fifth round it should be classified as a technical draw. Mukai had only participated in six pro contests prior to this, having lost his last one to Rocky Fuentes.
In his next defence, Wonjongkam would take on Sonny Boy Jaro, who had been a pro since September 2001 and had taken part in 48 contests, winning 33, drawing five (two of them technical) and losing ten. A solid puncher, who was often happy to mix it up, Jaro had already failed in two attempts to win different versions of the junior flyweight title and was looking to make amends.
2 March 2012. Sonny Boy Jaro w rsc 6 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
Venue: Makeshift Arena, Chonburi, Thailand. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Yuji Fukuchi.
Fight Summary: It did not start well for the title holder, Wonjongkam (112), who slipped over in the first round due to the rain-soaked canvas following a left hook to the head. Things then got decidedly worse for him when a right cross from Jaro (112) dropped him again in the fourth after he had been down earlier in the round without a count being given. Although Wonjongkam was firing back, Jaro, slipping and sliding around, seemed impervious to the southpaw shots coming his way, and in the sixth two big overarm rights blasted the champion to the floor. After getting up and being punched around the ring, when Wonjongkam finally went down again the referee immediately called the fight off at 1.39 of the session so that he could receive attention. Earlier, in the sixth, Jaro had been deducted a point for low blows.
Jaro would make his first defence against the Japanese champion, Toshiyuki Igarashi, a hard-punching southpaw with 15 wins (ten inside the distance), one draw and one defeat on his record. Having just broken into the ratings at number nine, Igarashi was not favoured to beat the top-ranked Jaro.
16 July 2012. Toshiyuki Igarashi w pts 12 Sonny Boy Jaro
Venue: Winghat Arena, Kasukabe, Saitama, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Gelasio Perez.
Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 112-116.
Fight Summary: Up against the lanky Igarashi (112), the champion lost his titles at the first time of asking when the split decision went against him. Having failed to make the weight on his first trip to the scales, which must have hindered him, for Jaro (112) there were no excuses. Although one of the judges had Jaro winning five of the first six rounds, by the ninth Igarashi was in control, outpunching his rival with solid southpaw combinations. However, in the 11th Jaro made a supreme effort when he almost dropped Igarashi, now cut on the left eye, with clubbing lefts and rights. Recognising that Jaro's offensive had taken a lot out of him, the younger Igarashi came back strongly in the final session to make sure the verdict went his way.
3 November 2012. Toshiyuki Igarashi w pts 12 Nestor Daniel Narvaes
Venue: Xebio Arena, Sendai, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Scorecards: 114-112, 114-112, 113-113.
Fight Summary: Dominating the opening seven sessions with southpaw blows to head and body Igarashi (112) looked to be well on his way to a good win, but that was before Narvaez (111½) came on strongly after the two-belt champion tired. Stalking Igarashi from the eighth onwards Narvaez began to take over, outboxing his man in four of the last five sessions. Unfortunately for him, however, he had left it just a little too late. Both men had points taken away for accidental head butts that caused cuts, Igarashi in the fourth and Narvaez in the 11th.
Akira Yaegashi, who had lost his WBA mini flyweight title to Kazuto Ioka before moving up two weight divisions, would be the next challenger for Igarashi. With a record of 14 wins (nine inside the distance) and two losses, his best wins had come against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Pornsawan Porpramook.
8 April 2013. Akira Yaegashi w pts 12 Toshiyuki Igarashi
Venue: Kokugikan Sumo Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Scorecards: 115-110, 116-109, 117-108.
Fight Summary: Igarashi (112) made a poor start against his fellow countryman, Yaegashi (111¾), when failing to use his longer southpaw reach to good effect and trying to work at close quarters. Yaegashi and Igarashi were both deducted points for head butts that resulted in cut eyes, Yaegashi in the fifth and sixth, and Igarashi in the sixth. Of the pair it was the champion who suffered the worst with cuts to both eyes that held him back at times. Eventually, it was Yaegashi's good work downstairs that gradually wore down Igarashi. On winning, Yaegashi became a two-weight world champion.
12 August 2013. Akira Yaegashi w pts 12 Oscar Blanquet
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Len Koivisto.
Scorecards: 116-110, 116-110, 115-111.
Fight Summary: Punching out a solid points win in defence of his title Yaegashi (112) always seemed to have plenty in hand, even though he was held up in the early stages by the challenger's longer-reaching left jab. In the eighth after Yaegashi's work to the body had begun to take effect, and having been deducted a point earlier in the session for a low blow, he dropped Blanquet (112) with a straight right. Following that, Blanquet chased after Yaegashi with wide, swinging blows in an effort to close the deficit, only to be met with countering right hooks through to the final bell.
6 December 2013. Akira Yaegashi w pts 12 Edgar Sosa
Venue: Kokugikan Sumo Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Mark Green.
Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Boxing well within himself, the champion was just too fast for the bustling Sosa (112), being dominant most of the way. Becoming frustrated as Yaegashi (111¾) piled up the points with solid jabs and left hooks, Sosa had some success in the ninth with good work to the body and swift combinations before carrying his efforts right through to the final bell without a payoff.
6 April 2014. Akira Yaegashi w rsc 9 Odilon Zaleta
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.
Fight Summary: Following a ninth-round stoppage win over Zaleta (111¾), Yaegashi (112) finally overcame the taller man. It was Yaegashi who made the running, pitting his aggression against the movement of Zaleta, who was happy to land light point-scoring jabs before backing away. Although Yaegashi shook Zaleta up in the fifth with cracking left hooks, he did not find the finisher until landing a countering right to the jaw in the ninth that saw the referee continue to count to 'ten' despite the latter being on his feet. By his action the third man had clearly decided to bring matters to a halt, the finish being timed at 2.14 of the session.
Having been an undefeated WBA champion at mini flyweight and junior flyweight, Roman Gonzalez would be Yaegashi’s next challenger. Since turning pro in July 2005, the heavy-handed Gonzalez had run up 39 wins (33 inside the distance) and was unbeaten. He had already risen to number two in the ratings and not many would bet against him.
5 September 2014. Roman Gonzalez w rsc 9 Akira Yaegashi
Venue: Yoyogi National Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Michael Griffin.
Fight Summary: Always running second best, the champion made the mistake of mixing it up with Gonzalez (111¾) instead of sticking to his boxing. Getting on top early on, Gonzalez dropped Yaegashi (112) in the third with a crunching left hook, having hammered in blows from both hands, and in round after round the latter was forced to take plenty more until he was rescued by the referee at 2.24 of the ninth. The finish came after Yaegashi had been put down following a battery of blows from both hands and deemed unfit to continue even though he was on the way up. On winning, Gonzalez became a three-weight world champion.
22 November 2014. Roman Gonzalez w rsc 6 Rocky Fuentes
Venue: International Swimming Pool, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Len Koivisto.
Fight Summary: Right from the opening bell the challenger tried swarming tactics as a means of unsettling Gonzalez (112), who quickly settled down to pick his punches carefully, countering with lefts and rights to both head and body. Having hurt Gonzalez in the third with a heavy right to the head, Fuentes (110¾) made his move, only to run into solid combinations. With Gonzalez taking the initiative from then on Fuentes was tiring badly by the sixth as his efforts caught up with him, and after being sent to the floor by heavy blows, both up and down, the referee saved him from taking further punishment by calling the fight off even though he was showing a willingness to carry on. The stoppage was timed at 2.11 of the sixth.
16 May 2015. Roman Gonzalez w rsc 2 Edgar Sosa
Venue: The Forum, Inglewood, California, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Fight Summary: Getting away quickly in this one, the champion slammed in powerful left hooks that shook Sosa (112) up in the opening session before going to town in the second. Showing great power and ability, Gonzalez (111) did not give Sosa a moment's rest, dropping him firstly with a cracking right to the head and then with a left-right-left before another flurry of blows from both hands decked him again. The final knockdown saw the referee stop the fight at 2.37 of the session without even taking up the count.
17 October 2015. Roman Gonzalez w rsc 9 Brian Viloria
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.
Fight Summary: Although he started brightly, Viloria (111½) was soon up against it as Gonzalez (111½) began picking his shots with machine-like precision. Blasted to the floor in the third by a short right to the jaw, Viloria was never the same again as he was hit with everything but the kitchen sink for round after round until being rescued by the referee at 2.53 of the ninth. Still standing, having taken everything that Gonzalez had to offer, CompuBox (a stats provider for all major boxing events) showed that Viloria had been hit with more than 300 power punches.
23 April 2016. Roman Gonzalez w pts 12 McWilliams Arroyo
Venue: Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Raul Caiz.
Scorecards: 120-108, 119-109, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Going well, despite putting on a master-class Gonzalez (111¼) was unable to put Arroyo (111½) away or even drop him. With a variety of punches such as jabs, hooks, uppercuts and heavy rights being thrown, 1,132 of them to be exact, one would have expected Arroyo to succumb. However, showing great character he often came back with heavy blows of his own despite being under the cosh for much of the time. Even in the 12th round when all was seemingly lost, Arroyo was still throwing leather in a valiant bid to overturn what had gone before. Having shown such resolve, Arroyo was applauded loudly at the final bell having given it his all.
After Gonzalez handed in his WBC belt on 29 September, having decided to move up to junior bantam on a permanent basis, my version of the 'world' title would next be contested by the top-rated Donnie Nietes’ and Juan Carlos Reveco, ranked at number three, on 24 February 2018. Nietes would be defending the IBF crown he had won when beating Komgrich Nantapech, against Reveco, who had held the WBA title at 108lbs and 112lbs and sported a record of 39 wins and three defeats. A three-weight world champion at 105lbs, 108lbs (WBO) and 112lbs (IBF), Nietes had 40 wins, four draws, one of them technical, and one defeat on his slate, having turned pro in 2003.
24 February 2018. Donnie Nietes w rsc 7 Juan Carlos Reveco
Venue: Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Edward Hernandez.
Fight Summary: In a battle for the IBF title, the champion was quickly showing that he had more power than Reveco (112), who found it difficult to get into the fight. Although he somehow stayed with Nietes (111½) for five rounds, in the sixth Reveco was badly hurt by a big right before being stunned again at the end of the session. Coming out for the seventh on shaky legs, after another big right had Reveco over, the fight was stopped on the 53-second mark when he got to his feet and could not follow the referee’s instructions.
Nietes relinquished the IBF title on 5 April 2018 after deciding to fight at a higher weight.