Junior Flyweight World Champions & Their Championship Fights (108lbs)
When the top-ranked Luis Estaba, the WBC champion, was contracted to defend his title against Franco Udella, the world’s number three according to Boxing News, in my book it would also have involved the 'world' title. Coming into the fight with a record of 27 wins, three losses and one no contest, Udella had become the weight division’s first champion on 4 April 1975 before forfeiting the WBC title, while the 38-year-old Estaba had been fighting for nearly ten years and came to the ring with successful defences of the WBC title against Takenobu Shimabukuro, Leo Palacios and Juan Alvarez behind him after winning the vacant title by beating Rafael Lovera. His record showed 32 wins, two draws and seven defeats in 41 contests.
18 July 1976. Luis Estaba w co 3 (15) Franco Udella
Venue: The Polyhedron, Maracay, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Fight Summary: The champion, Estaba (108), took charge from the opening bell and dropped Udella (108) near the end of the second round. Although the Italian tried hard to fight back in the third, a jab followed by a savage right hook put him down for the full count on the 1.11 mark. Afterwards, Udella complained that he had been thumbed in the eye and should have been given time to recover.
26 September 1976. Luis Estaba w rtd 10 (15) Rodolfo Rodriguez
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rafael Toro Lugo.
Fight Summary: Estaba (107¼) made a good start, using his massive reach advantage to pile up the points with jabs and solid hooks, while Rodriguez (106), the challenger, had difficulty getting inside. Cut over the left eye, although a local doctor said that it was okay for him to continue, Rodriguez’s corner pulled him out at the end of the tenth round.
21 November 1976. Luis Estaba w rsc 10 (15) Valentin Martinez
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Isidro Rodriguez.
Fight Summary: With Estaba (107½) well in control, having cut Martinez (108) over the left eye in the fifth and dropped him a round later, the referee called the fight off on the advice of the doctor in the tenth. Despite being outboxed and outpunched, the game Martinez never allowed the champion to relax.
15 May 1977. Luis Estaba w pts 15 Rafael Pedroza
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ismael Quinones-Falu.
Scorecards: 148-136, 146-141, 146-144.
Fight Summary: Making the seventh defence off his WBC title, Estaba (107) was comfortable in victory regardless of the fact that one of the judges appeared to favour Pedroza in several rounds. There was no doubting that Pedroza (107¾) carried a heavy dig, having stopped ten of his 13 previous opponents while remaining unbeaten, but he failed to do enough on the scoring front when constantly trying to turn the fight with one punch. Having been out of action since the previous November with an injured hand, Estaba attacked non-stop from the ninth, and although unable to drop Pedroza he did more than enough to win handsomely.
17 July 1977. Luis Estaba w pts 15 Ricardo Estupinan
Venue: Luis Ramos Gym, Puerto Le Cruz, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Fight Summary: Despite not being at his best, Estaba (107¼) was still far too good for his challenger, scoring knockdowns in the ninth and 15th rounds before running out a convincing winner on all three cards. Estupinan (108), who came in as a late substitute for the injured Juan Alvarez, was out of his depth with only nine wins from 12 contests and although he did his best he had no right being in the same ring as ‘The Fighting Grandfather’.
21 August 1977. Luis Estaba w rsc 11 (15) Juan Alvarez
Venue: Luis Ramos Gym, Puerto Le Cruz, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ismael Quinones-Falu.
Fight Summary: Retaining his WBC title for the ninth time, Estaba (107¼) once again showed a great defence and the ability to pace himself while using his long reach to outbox the aggressive Alvarez (107½) before forcing the stoppage. Although Alvarez was nearly always going forward it proved to be his undoing in the seventh round when he ran into a left-right combination that put him down for ‘eight’. Estaba, continuing to box at long range, cut Alvarez over the left eye in the ninth, and after pounding away at the injury in the tenth the referee had seen enough, pulling the challenger out of the fight immediately before the 11th got underway.
18 September 1977. Luis Estaba w co 15 (15) Orlando Hernandez
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Moises Sister.
Fight Summary: In what was his tenth defence of the WBC title and showing no evidence of losing his power, Estaba (107½) bludgeoned his way to victory over Hernandez (108) prior to knocking him out in the final session. Other reports stated that it was a stoppage rather than a knockout.
30 October 1977. Luis Estaba w pts 15 Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Anselmo Escobedo.
Scorecards: 149-141, 149-143, 149-138.
Fight Summary: There was little action before the fight came to life in the eighth round as Sor Vorasingh (107½) rained in punches on the 40-year-old champion, who got himself out of trouble due to clever boxing. The final two sessions saw the Thai throw everything at Estaba (108), who stood his ground to earn a decision, which caused concern by its wideness. It was later understood that Estaba had fractured his right hand early on.
Estaba’s next defence would be against Freddy Castillo, a southpaw with a record of 25 (16 inside the distance) wins, three draws and seven defeats. A pro since 1971, Castillo had beaten Lupe Madera, Antonio Avelar and Pedro Flores.
19 February 1978. Freddy Castillo w rsc 14 (15) Luis Estaba
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Fight Summary: Making the 12th defence of his WBC title, Estaba (107) dominated proceedings for the first eight rounds until age finally caught up with him. Floored by Castillo (106½), a southpaw, in the 12th and in trouble again the following round, Estaba was eventually punched through the ropes in the 14th. Although Estaba somehow beat the count he was smashed to the canvas by a left hook and rescued by the referee on the 2.30 mark.
Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh, the champion of Thailand, would be Castillo’s next opponent. A southpaw with 17 wins, a draw against Sang-Il Chung and three defeats on his record, he was recognised back home as a smart box-fighter.
6 May 1978. Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh w pts 15 Freddy Castillo
Venue: Thai Army Camp, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Jordan.
Scorecards: 145-142, 150-141, 147-146.
Fight Summary: The fast-rising Sor Vorasingh (107¼) split the right eyebrow of Castillo (108) as early as the second round, and although the injury bothered the champion he managed to fight on even terms for quite long periods. However, in the end it was the Thai’s extra strength and aggression that won him the title.
29 July 1978. Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh w rsc 5 (15) Luis Estaba
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Fight Summary: In what was his first defence, Sor Vorasingh (106) gained revenge for a previous loss. Dropping Estaba (107) in the second, putting him down three more times in the fourth and pounding away in the fifth to such an extent it came as no surprise when the referee stopped the fight after the challenger’s corner threw the towel in at 1.10 of the session.
Vorasingh’s next defence would be against Sung-Jun Kim, who had taken part in 29 contests, winning 19, drawing four and losing six since turning pro in 1971. In his previous bout, Kim had lost his OPBF title to Sang-Il Chung, the man he had won it from.
30 September 1978. Sung-Jun Kim w co 3 (15) Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh
Venue: Munhwa Stadium, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Pedro Flores.
Fight Summary: Starting a big underdog and having been pinned on the ropes for most of the third session, Kim (107½) weathered the storm to come back with punches of his own. Cornering the southpaw champion with a flurry of blows, he suddenly unleashed a tremendous right uppercut that put Sor Vorasingh (107) down for the full count, timed at 2.29 of the round.
31 March 1979. Sung-Jun Kim drew 15 Hector Melendez
Venue: Munhwa Stadium, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Edson.
Scorecards: 148-146, 148-146, 147-147.
Fight Summary: Having been chased all over the ring for the first nine rounds, Kim (108) finally changed tactics to stand his ground while firing off powerful hooks at Melendez (107). However, there were many who felt that it had been too little and too late before a controversial draw secured the title for the champion.
28 July 1979. Sung-Jun Kim w pts 15 Siony Carupo
Venue: Changchung Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Takeshi Shimakawa.
Scorecards: 149-145, 148-146, 148-144.
Fight Summary: Bleeding from a cut over the right eye from the third round onwards, the taller Kim (108) had difficulty getting to grips with Carupo (108), whose main aim was to move in close and target the body. The champion eventually found a way through, making good use of the uppercut, but it was probably the warnings that the Filipino received for illegal headwork that swayed the judges against him.
21 October 1979. Sung-Jun Kim w pts 15 Hector Melendez
Venue: Munhwa Stadium, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: H. Beltini.
Scorecards: 147-143, 144-143, 146-140.
Fight Summary: Overcoming an early deficit, Kim (107½) gradually got into the fight with body punches slowing Melendez (105½) down, and as they came into tenth round there was no doubt that the champion was getting on top. By then, although the Dominican had picked up cuts and was extremely tired, he somehow made it through to the final bell.
Next man up for Kim would be Shigeo Nakajima, who had participated in 15 contests, winning 12, drawing one and losing twice after turning pro in July 1976. Both of his defeats had come at the hands of world class men in Bernabe Villacampo and Hwan-Jin Kim. However, he had beaten Kazunori Tenryu, and was seen as an improving fighter.
3 January 1980. Shigeo Nakajima w pts 15 Sung-Jun Kim
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Dick Young.
Scorecards: 146-139, 148-143, 145-141.
Fight Summary: Using his left hand to great advantage and setting a fast pace, Nakajima (107¾) battered the crown from the head of Kim (107¾) in a gory, hard-hitting contest that saw both men receiving cuts around the eyes. While there were no knockdowns there was plenty of action, Nakajima being a deserving winner.
Hilario Zapata, a man with ten wins and one defeat to his name, would be Nakajima’s first defence. A southpaw, Zapata had only been a pro since October 1977, but despite losing to Alfonso Lopez had shown his potential when beating Juan Antonio Guzman and Freddy Castillo, a former champion.
24 March 1980. Hilario Zapata w pts 15 Shigeo Nakajima
Venue: Kuramae Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Henry Elesperu.
Scorecards: 144-143, 144-141, 146-144.
Fight Summary: In what was his first defence, Nakajima (108) lost a unanimous decision to Zapata (108) in a fight that swayed first one way and then the other. After the result was received badly by the locals a riot ensued.
7 June 1980. Hilario Zapata w pts 15 Chi-Bok Kim
Venue: Munhwa Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 149-138, 149-140, 149-139.
Fight Summary: Making good use of his southpaw stance, height and speed, Zapata (107½) handed Kim (107) a monotonous beating over the distance, never allowing the challenger to get to close quarters where he was more effective.
4 August 1980. Hilario Zapata w pts 15 Hector Melendez
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Jordan.
Scorecards: 147-141, 148-142, 148-139.
Fight Summary: Using his height and reach advantages to good effect, the champion was soon on top of Melendez (107), who had difficulty working out the southpaw stance of his opponent. This was Melendez’s third attempt at winning the WBC title, and in the fourth round he was taken to the ropes and punished with flurries of lefts and rights to the body. Lucky to last out the session, Melendez was outboxed and outpunched for round after round as Zapata (108) kept up a steady pace to the final bell.
17 September 1980. Hilario Zapata w rsc 11 (15) Shigeo Nakajima
Venue: Civic Centre, Gifu, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Jordan.
Fight Summary: A return contest saw Zapata (107¾) winning every round while making good use of his nine-inch extra reach. Cutting Nakajima (107¾) badly over the right eye, from the sixth round onwards Zapata was totally dominant, his speed being a major factor. Nailed by a cluster of punches in the 11th, the challenger was rescued by the referee on the 2.56 mark to save him from taking more unnecessary punishment.
1 December 1980. Hilario Zapata w pts 15 Jose Reinaldo Becerra
Venue: New Circus Bullring, Caracas, Venezuela. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 144-143, 146-143, 146-146.
Fight Summary: In a much tougher fight than he expected, Zapata (108) escaped with the split decision when given a stiff examination by the unheralded Becerra (107). With home advantage, the beaten challenger had proved his ability by fathoming out Zapata's awkward southpaw style.
8 February 1981. Hilario Zapata w rtd 13 (15) Joey Olivo
Venue: New City Gym, Panama City, Panama. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lorenzo Fortunato.
Fight Summary: Unable to continue after 13 rounds of constant punishment, and with battered features testament to that, Olivo (106½) was pulled out by his corner during the interval to save him from taking a further beating. In retaining his WBC title for the fifth time, Zapata (107¾) was always in charge, scoring with quick rights and lefts before moving out of range.
24 April 1981. Hilario Zapata w pts 15 Rudy Crawford
Venue: Cow Palace, Daly City, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Jordan.
Scorecards: 147-137, 148-137, 149-136.
Fight Summary: Outclassed at every turn, Crawford (107¼) tried his hardest but to no avail. After being knocked down in the sixth the challenger came back to stun Zapata (107¾), but was soon under pressure and being speared by punches from every conceivable angle until the final bell.
15 August 1981. Hilario Zapata w pts 15 German Torres
Venue: New City Gym, Panama City, Panama. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Perez.
Scorecards: 148-137, 146-137, 148-137.
Fight Summary: Producing an excellent right jab, the champion peppered Torres (107½) throughout with lightning fast leads to the head that had the Mexican bleeding over both eyes by the finish. Displaying good skills when having to fight back on occasion, Zapata (108) was in control much of the time before being troubled in the last round after taking two hard rights to the jaw. However, showing the ability to absorb his rival’s much vaunted power he weathered the storm to romp home a clear winner.
6 November 1981. Hilario Zapata w rsc 10 (15) Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh
Venue: Suranaree Army Stadium, Korat, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Jordan.
Fight Summary: Zapata (107), who dominated with superior ring-craft and two-handed punching to successfully defend his WBC title for the ninth time inside 21 months, hardly lost a round in a match-up of southpaws. Although Sor Vorasingh (107½) rallied at the midway stage, the fight was halted by the referee after 2.50 of the tenth round when he was deemed unable to fight back.
The big-hitting Amado Ursua, the Mexican champion, would be Zapata’s next opponent. With 27 (21 inside the distance) wins and nine defeats, six of them finishing early, on his record since turning pro in May 1974 he appeared to be a fighter who was happy to take one in order to get his own in. The fact that he had wins over Pedro Flores, German Torres (2), Alfonso Lopez, Freddy Castillo and Francisco Montiel marked him out as a danger man.
6 February 1982. Amado Ursua w co 2 (15) Hilario Zapata
Venue: New City Gym, Panama City, Panama. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ismael Quinones-Falu.
Fight Summary: With both men exploding into action right from the opening bell, the unheralded Ursua (108) was happy to punch it out with Zapata (107). Having floored Ursua in the second round, the champion was then caught himself, being put down and counted out on the 2.47 mark.
Ursua’s first defence would be against Tadashi Tomori, the Japanese champion, who had participated in 23 bouts, winning 18 and losing five, since turning pro in May 1978. More of a boxer than a fighter, Tomori was both skilful and fast.
13 April 1982. Tadashi Tomori w pts 15 Amado Ursua
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Ortega.
Scorecards: 145-142, 148-145, 145-145.
Fight Summary: This was a hard-fought battle of changing fortunes, Tomori (108) winning in the eyes of the judges, due to his cleaner, more accurate punches. However, Ursua (108), the harder hitter of the pair, felt that a draw would probably have been a fairer reflection.
Hilario Zapata, who had lost his WBC belt to Ursua earlier in the year, was the man chosen for Tomori’s first defence, and with a record showing 19 wins and two defeats since starting out in 1977 he was looking to get back on track.
20 July 1982. Hilario Zapata w pts 15 Tadashi Tomori
Venue: Ishiwaki Arena, Kanazawa, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Steve Crosson.
Scorecards: 144-143, 144-141, 144-143.
Fight Summary: Eking out a split decision win, Zapata (108) had to survive a bad cut over the right eye, the result of a butt, while Tomori (108) relied on stamina. Unfortunately, that seemed to have deserted him towards the end. It was difficult to score due to the clash of styles, but ultimately it was Zapata’s good defensive qualities that put him in the driving seat.
18 September 1982. Hilario Zapata w pts 15 Jung-Koo Chang
Venue: The Gym, Chonju, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Davy Pearl.
Scorecards: 147-144, 145-148, 144-142.
Fight Summary: In what was a controversial split decision, Zapata (108) held on to win by the slimmest of margins against the aggressive Chang (108). While Chang chased his rival all over the ring, often landing solid blows to the body, the champion countered and defended well.
30 November 1982. Hilario Zapata w rsc 8 (15) Tadashi Tomori
Venue: Kuramae Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ray Solis.
Fight Summary: Having won a disputed decision over Tomori (108) previously, this time around Zapata (108) started slowly before really going to work in the fifth round prior to cutting the challenger badly over the left eye in the sixth. Put down on all fours and saved by the bell ending the seventh, Tomori went head-to-head in the eighth until being blasted to the floor and rescued at 1.59 of the round by a humane referee, who had seen enough.
Zapata’s next defence would be against Jung-Koo Chang, who had already come unstuck against him in an earlier attempt to win the title. With 20 wins and one defeat on his record since turning pro in November 1980, Chang had beaten Alfonso Lopez, Amado Ursua and Tito Abella.
26 March 1983. Jung-Koo Chang w rsc 3 (12) Hilario Zapata
Venue: Chungmu Gym, Taejon, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Ortega.
Fight Summary: Unprepared mentally and physically, Zapata (108), who had six attempts before making the weight, was undone when the switch-hitting Chang (107½) battered him to defeat at 2.46 of the third round. Having been subjected to a severe body attack, the referee rescued Zapata when he was deemed unable to defend himself following a standing count.
11 June 1983. Jung-Koo Chang w rsc 2 (12) Masaharu Inami
Venue: Kyungbok, Taegu, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Marty Denkin.
Fight Summary: Firing on all cylinders, Chang (108), making his first defence, put the nervous Inami (107¾) down twice in the first round, and it was only the bell that saved the challenger. Starting the second where he left off, Chang attacked both head and body with gusto before flooring Inami again. At this point the referee brought matters to a halt, the finish being timed at 0.58 of the session.
10 September 1983. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 German Torres
Venue: Chungmu Gym, Taejon, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Davy Pearl.
Scorecards: 119-110, 118-111, 118-108.
Fight Summary: Switch-hitting his way to victory, Chang (107½) outmanoeuvred and outpunched the tough Torres (108), who was in the fight right up until the tenth round when he was put down by a series of combination punches. Subsequently, the champion coasted to the final bell.
31 March 1984. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 Sot Chitalada
Venue: Kudok Stadium, Pusan, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Ortega.
Scorecards: 119-112, 115-113, 116-112.
Fight Summary: In what became a total war, the aggressive Chang (108) beat Chitalada (108) who was having only his fifth contest. Chang sustained a cut over the left eye in the sixth round which hindered him somewhat, but was soon back on the attack. It was also noticeable that the champion was not in the best of condition, something that had caused several postponements earlier.
18 August 1984. Jung-Koo Chang w rsc 9 (12) Katsuo Tokashiki
Venue: The Gym, Pohang, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Steve Crosson.
Fight Summary: Getting away to a good start, Chang (107½), under some pressure himself, floored Tokashiki (107¾) with a left hook to the temple. Tokashiki, who had never been decked before, got himself back into the fight until he was forced to the ropes in the ninth on rubbery legs and rescued by the referee on the 1.47 mark.
15 December 1984. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 Tadashi Kuramochi
Venue: The Gym, Pusan, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hilario Nadayag.
Scorecards: 120-105, 120-103, 120-109.
Fight Summary: Amazingly, in a fight that was so one-sided there were no knockdowns, although nobody would have complained had the referee stopped it any time after the fifth round. Somehow Kuramochi (108) managed to withstand the punishment handed out by his tormentor, Chang (108), who ultimately won the fight with ease.
27 April 1985. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 German Torres
Venue: Hyundai Gym, Ulsan, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Arthur Mercante.
Scorecards: 114-114, 115-114, 116-114.
Fight Summary: Having fought each other before, this time around it was much closer, with Chang (108), who had a point deducted for an indiscretion, having his work cut out to manage the win. In the main, Torres (108), who constantly set up attacks, matched the champion punch for punch with only Chang’s better quality separating them.
4 August 1985. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 Francisco Montiel
Venue: Munhwa Stadium, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Chuck Hassett.
Scorecards: 117-113, 116-113, 114-113.
Fight Summary: Up against a recognised puncher, Chang (107¾) was expected to have problems with Montiel (106¼). However, it did not work out that way as the nervous challenger, deciding to counter rather than force the fight, slumped to a lopsided points defeat.
10 November 1985. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 Jorge Cano
Venue: Chungmu Gym, Taejon, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Ortega.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-111, 119-112.
Fight Summary: After recently upsetting German Torres, Cano (108) was expected to be a serious threat to Chang (108). In the event, he was outworked by the South Korean who had a point deducted in round seven for charging in with his head down. With the southpaw challenger holding, sidestepping and running it was never going to be enough to land the win.
13 April 1986. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 German Torres
Venue: The Arena, Kwangju, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Perez.
Scorecards: 118-113, 117-112, 118-110.
Fight Summary: With Torres (107¼) merely intent on tying the champion up and nicking points it was never going to be a spectacle. Although dominating, Chang (107½) had great difficulty in getting through with a sustained attack, ultimately having to be satisfied with a below-par performance.
13 September 1986. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 Francisco Montiel
Venue: Chungmu Gym, Taejon, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 119-110, 118-111, 116-113.
Fight Summary: Despite Chang (107½) being too ring-wise and ferocious for Montiel (107¾) there were no knockdowns, the game challenger continuously stemming the tide. For the first five rounds Montiel slugged it out with the ‘Korean Hawk’, but from then on he fought mainly on the retreat while looking for the counters. At the final bell, Montiel’s right eye was almost swollen shut.
14 December 1986. Jung-Koo Chang w rsc 5 (12) Hideyuki Ohashi
Venue: Sunin University Gym, Inchon, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Henry Elesperu.
Fight Summary: Watched by a record-breaking crowd of 20,000, Chang (107¾) had too much firepower for Ohashi (107¾). Despite being held up by the inexperienced challenger, who occasionally used his peek-a-boo style to good effect, Chang wore his man down quickly. In the fifth round Chang landed a cracking right to the temple to drop the man from Japan, who was now bleeding badly and, although he got up the referee quickly called a halt at the 1.55 mark to save a brave opponent from an unnecessary beating.
19 April 1987. Jung-Koo Chang w co 6 (12) Efren Pinto
Venue: Sunin University Gym, Inchon, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: James Jen-Kin.
Fight Summary: Proving too strong for the hit-and-run challenger, Chang (108) marched forward, gashing the Mexican’s left eye in the first, decking him with a left hook in the fourth and twice more in the fifth, before the referee counted Pinto (108) out at 0.57 of the sixth.
28 June 1987. Jung-Koo Chang w rsc 10 (12) Agustin Garcia
Venue: Sunin University Gym, Inchon, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Fight Summary: Unable to outrun the aggressive Chang (108), the challenger, forced to trade punches, was dropped three times, twice in the seventh round and once in the eighth, before being put down in the tenth by a left hook-right uppercut. At that point, with 1.14 on the clock, the referee called it off to save the badly beaten Garcia (107¼) from taking further punishment.
13 December 1987. Jung-Koo Chang w pts 12 Isidro Perez
Venue: Chungmu Gym, Taejon, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Scorecards: 117-113, 115-113, 114-113.
Fight Summary: Knocked down in the first round, but fighting back furiously to gain a close decision over a challenger who had 35 kayos on his record, Chang (107½) once again proved he would be tough to dislodge despite having personal problems. Realising Perez (107½) was not at his best on the inside, Chang, who was cut over the left eye in the seventh, began to make up any leeway, but even then Perez came back to amaze the crowd in the last round with solid rights and good combinations.
27 June 1988. Jung-Koo Chang w rsc 8 Hideyuki Ohashi
Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Fight Summary: Defending abroad for the first time, Chang (108) displayed ferocity and fire to leave Japan with the win, while Ohashi (108), having been floored seven times and stopped at 1.47 of the eighth round, was comprehensively beaten.
Chang relinquished his WBC version of the title in October due to illness. Eventually, Chang would come back to contest the WBC title on 9 December 1989. His opponent would be Humberto Gonzalez, who had won the WBC title in his previous bout when defeating Yul-Woo Lee and had run up 25 (20 inside the distance) straight wins since starting out in 1984.
9 December 1989. Humberto Gonzalez w pts 12 Jung-Koo Chang
Venue: Indoor Gym, Taegu, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Scorecards: 119-109, 118-110, 118-111.
Fight Summary: Trying to regain the WBC crown he vacated, Chang (108) climbed all over Gonzalez (107¾), but his aggression was deemed to be ineffective as the switch-hitting champion counter-punched accurately and tied his man up well. Chang appeared confused by the fact that the Mexican fought as a southpaw throughout, being unable to break through his defences.
24 March 1990. Humberto Gonzalez w co 3 Francisco Tejedor
Venue: National Arena, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Fight Summary: After opening up with the left jab, Gonzalez (107¾) switched to southpaw in the second round, scoring with two and three-punch combinations, while Tejedor (105¾) began to fight back with more vigour. With Gonzalez the busier, the challenger suddenly crumbled following a left uppercut to the jaw, being counted out 31 seconds into the third session.
4 June 1990. Humberto Gonzalez w rsc 3 Luis Monzote
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: James Jen-Kin.
Fight Summary: Having sized up the challenger, a fellow southpaw, Gonzalez (107¾) soon got down to business in the second, and in the third he opened up to floor Monzote (107) with a left. On getting to his feet Monzote was put down again from a chopping left, and after rising was harried and battered to such a degree that the referee rescued him on the 54-second mark.
23 July 1990. Humberto Gonzalez w rsc 5 Jung-Keun Lim
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Ortega.
Fight Summary: No respecter of reputations, Lim (107½) came out bombing, giving Gonzalez (107¼) quite a battle until he ran into three heavy lefts to the jaw and was floored in the last 20 seconds of the fourth round. When it was clear in the fifth that the challenger had little left in the tank, after 34 seconds of the round had elapsed he was rescued by a compassionate referee.
25 August 1990. Humberto Gonzalez w co 9 Jorge Rivera
Venue: The Bullring, Cancun, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jose Medina.
Fight Summary: Dropped in the opening round was not a great start for Rivera (108), but he managed to get back into the fight despite being battered in most of the rounds. With the crowd wondering why Gonzalez (108) had not finished off what he had started, the champion finally caught up with Rivera in the ninth, a body attack softening his fellow Mexican up for the right to the jaw, followed by a right-left to the body, which left him on the floor and counted out on the 1.37 mark. Gonzalez finished the fight with a broken left hand, which explained why he failed to get the job done earlier.
A bit of an unknown quantity despite being rated at number four by the WBC, Rolando Pascua would be Gonzalez’s next challenger. With a record of 24 wins and five defeats since turning pro in August 1986, the Filipino southpaw was not expected to bother Gonzalez unduly.
19 December 1990. Rolando Pascua w co 6 Humberto Gonzalez
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Marty Sammons.
Fight Summary: Going for the kayo right from the off, Gonzalez (107¾) set about the challenger with gusto, but Pascua (108) was a man who was just as determined and would not give way. Quickly turning into a slugging match both men were tiring fast by the fifth, and in the sixth Pascua somehow found a solid body shot to hurt Gonzalez before a cluster of head shots sent the champion crashing to be counted out at 2.24 of the round.
Melchor Cob Castro, a Mexican southpaw, would be Pascua’s first challenger. Having turned pro in January 1985, Cob Castro had run up a record of 30 wins, four draws and two defeats, but was unbeaten in his last 12 bouts, winning seven of them inside the distance.
25 March 1991. Melchor Cob Castro w rsc 10 Rolando Pascua
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Jordan.
Fight Summary: Having to lose ten pounds in four days left Pascua (107¾) drained. Although he was in the fight for quite a while when the challenger’s punches began to get to him after the halfway stage the end was in sight. From the eighth onwards Pascua shifted a fair amount of punishment, and having taken a big right hand to the jaw when he turned his back on Cob Castro (107¾) the referee brought the contest to a halt at 1.59 of the tenth round.
Having lost his WBC title to Pascua back in December 1990, his only defeat to date in 32 contests, Humberto Gonzalez relished the opportunity of regaining his belt when signing up to meet the new champion, Cob Castro.
3 June 1991. Humberto Gonzalez w pts 12 Melchor Cob Castro
Recognition: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 116-113.
Fight Summary: Coming from behind having been perplexed earlier in the fight, Gonzalez (108) regained his titles when he worked the body well to upset Cob Castro (108) in the latter rounds. Gonzalez, who was in great condition, was quoted as saying: “My road to victory came in the seventh and eighth rounds, when I went to the body”. That was a fair assessment, there being no doubting that Cob Castro needed a kayo in the final two rounds if he was to win.
27 January 1992. Humberto Gonzalez w pts 12 Domingo Sosa
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Dave Nelson.
Scorecards: 115-107, 115-109, 114-109.
Fight Summary: Getting away to a fine start, Sosa (107) made good use of his reach advantage, boxing and jabbing before the champion came into the fight in the fourth round when getting inside to work the body. From then on Gonzalez (107¾) was in control, often turning southpaw to confuse his rival, and although Sosa got back into the fight towards the end he was unable to make it count.
7 June 1992. Humberto Gonzalez w rsc 12 Kwang-Sun Kim
Venue: Olympic Fencing Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Toby Gibson.
Fight Summary: Gonzalez (108) had to make one of the most dramatic comebacks in world title history after Kim (108) had attacked continuously and piled up points throughout the contest. Everything changed in the 11th after Gonzalez finally made a dent when connecting with a vicious left that decked the challenger. Although Kim was saved by the bell the champion swarmed all over him, and two knockdowns later the referee called matters off after 55 seconds of the 12th round had elapsed.
14 September 1992. Humberto Gonzalez w rsc 2 Napa Kiatwanchai
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vince Delgado.
Fight Summary: In a battle of southpaws, Gonzalez (108) quickly got on top of Kiatwanchai (108), who made the mistake of trading with the champion and was dropped in the first round. The second session soon turned into one-way traffic as Gonzalez continued where he had left off in the first, felling Kiatwanchai three more times before the referee stopped the action on the 2.48 mark.
7 December 1992. Humberto Gonzalez w pts 12 Melchor Cob Castro
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rudy Jordan.
Scorecards: 117-112, 115-113, 117-111.
Fight Summary: As in their first meeting this one also turned out to be disappointing, both men being southpaws and showing too much respect for each other. With Cob Castro (108), who finished with cuts over both eyes, on the back foot for much of the time and Gonzalez (108) chasing after him it was difficult to score, but the champion’s aggression won the day.
Gonzalez would next put his WBC title up against the IBF champion, Michael Carbajal, a former silver medallist in the 1988 Olympics who was unbeaten after 27 pro fights. The hard-hitting Carbajal had won the IBF title when beating Muangchai Kittikasem on 29 July 1990, before making successful defences against Leon Salazar, Macario Santos, Javier Vargas, Hector Luis Patri, Marcos Pacheco and Robinson Cuesta.
13 March 1993. Michael Carbajal w co 7 Humberto Gonzalez
Venue: Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Mills Lane.
Fight Summary: In a double championship fight, it was The IBF’s Carbajal (107) who ultimately proved dominant, despite being floored in the second and fifth sessions. Although Gonzalez (107½), the WBC champion, was gashed over the left eye in the third he looked the likely winner until being floored by a classic left hook and counted out at 2.59 of the seventh round.
17 July 1993. Michael Carbajal w rsc 7 Kwang-Sun Kim
Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Richard Steele.
Fight Summary: Even though Kim (108) made life difficult for Carbajal (108), his crouching, stepping side-to-side style making him an awkward target, the champion eventually got his measure before flooring him heavily in the seventh round. Rather foolishly, when Kim jumped up immediately, extremely shaken, the referee called it off at 2.23 of the session.
30 October 1993. Michael Carbajal w rsc 5 Domingo Sosa
Venue: American West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Bobby Ferrara.
Fight Summary: Carbajal (108) did not wait long to announce himself, dropping Sosa (108) with a left hook two minutes into the bout. Then, despite being badly cut on the forehead in the second session he resisted the chance of a technical draw in favour of finishing the job properly. That he did after 48 seconds of the fifth when the challenger’s handlers leapt into the ring to save their man from a further beating and the referee halted the contest.
Humberto Gonzalez would be next for Carbajal, the man who had relieved him of the WBC title, not only hoping to regain his belt but to also put an end to the latter’s 30-fight unbeaten run.
19 February 1994. Humberto Gonzalez w pts 12 Michael Carbajal
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Lou Filippo.
Scorecards: 117-112, 115-113, 114-116.
Fight Summary: Doing the unthinkable, Gonzalez (107) regained his titles when outboxing Carbajal (108), darting in and out to pick up points and making himself a difficult target. Both men were blooded, but while Gonzalez stuck to his game plan Carbajal posed too much.
10 September 1994. Humberto Gonzalez w rsc 7 Juan Domingo Cordoba
Venue: Caesar’s Palace, Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Mills Lane.
Fight Summary: Impressing the onlookers with his game display, despite the little-known Cordoba (107) giving it his best shot, he found the southpaw champion too strong for him. Having blasted away at the tough Argentine for round after round, Gonzalez (108) finally broke through in the seventh, cutting Cordoba over the right eye and battering him from post to post. At the end of the session, on the advice of the ringside doctor, the fight was halted.
12 November 1994. Humberto Gonzalez w pts 12 Michael Carbajal
Venue: City Bullring, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Larry O’Connell.
Scorecards: 117-114, 116-113, 114-114.
Fight Summary: As in their previous contest, Gonzalez (107½), cut over the left eye in the fourth, showed surprising skills to eke out the points decision over the disappointing Carbajal (108). Unfortunately, with Carbajal, who was also cut over the left eye, unable to raise the tempo or change tactics, the contest petered out.
31 March 1995. Humberto Gonzalez w co 5 Jesus Zuniga
Venue: Arrowhead Pond Arena, Anaheim, California, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Robert Byrd.
Fight Summary: Starting out of the blocks quickly, Gonzalez (108) gave his fellow southpaw a torrid going over from the opening bell, almost having Zuniga (107) down from the initial flurry of punches. Working the body well and with the champion really into his stride in the fifth a burst of punches to the head sent Zuniga crashing to be counted out at 1.26 of the session.
The unrated Saman Sorjaturong, who had a record of 26 wins, one draw and two defeats since starting out in December 1989, would be the next man to challenge Gonzalez. Since being beaten by Ricardo Lopez in a mini flyweight title challenge he had moved up in weight and put together 11 straight wins, in which only three men had lasted the distance. Despite Sorjaturong being a puncher, most of the money was on Gonzalez.
15 July 1995. Saman Sorjaturong w rsc 7 Humberto Gonzalez
Venue: Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBC. Referee: Lou Filippo.
Fight Summary: The underdog, Sorjaturong (107½), became the first Thai to win a title fight in America when toppling Gonzalez (107½) from his throne, putting the champion down in the second before being decked himself in the fifth and sixth rounds. With both men badly cut in the second session, Sorjaturong over the right eye and Gonzalez over the left, the ringside doctor was on the verge of pulling the challenger out at the end of the sixth before giving him one more chance. Sorjaturong came out blazing in the seventh, with Gonzalez returning fire until two cracking right-handers put him on his back. Somehow he struggled up, but after being blasted by a fusillade of punches the referee stepped in and rescued the brave champion 58 seconds into the session.
For whatever reason, Sorjaturong made no moves to defend the IBF version of the title and gave up his belt immediately prior to meeting Yuichi Hosono on 12 November.
12 November 1995. Saman Sorjaturong w co 4 Yuichi Hosono
Venue: Main Stadium, Ratchaburi, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Perez.
Fight Summary: Sorjaturong (106½) was far too good for Hosono (107¼), who was making his third bid to win a world title. Although the Thai took time out to eye the opposition up once he got going there was no stopping him, and a barrage of heavy blows to head and body dropped the challenger in a heap to be counted out at 1.20 of the fourth round.
24 February 1996. Saman Sorjaturong w rsc 4 Antonio Perez
Venue: Municipal Stadium, Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Malcolm Bulner.
Fight Summary: The hard-punching Sorjaturong (107) soon got down to work, dropping Perez (108) in the first round with a solid right to the jaw. Somehow the challenger made it through to the fourth, but after being floored again by another heavy right and barely making it to his feet the referee halted the action on the 2.55 mark.
27 April 1996. Saman Sorjaturong w rsc 7 Jomo Gamboa
Venue: Regional Stadium, Maha Sarakam, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vince Delgado.
Fight Summary: Six action-packed rounds saw the challenger on the move, scoring well with sharp lefts and rights, while, after a poor start, Sorjaturong (108) got himself together in the fourth when beginning to cut the ring down. The end was clearly in sight in the sixth as Gamboa (108) took two mandatory ‘eight’ counts, having been badly hurt by body shots. Into the seventh, with Sorjaturong belting away unmercifully, it came as no surprise when Gamboa was rescued by the referee on the 0.26 mark.
10 August 1996. Saman Sorjaturong w rsc 9 Shiro Yahiro
Venue: Football Stadium, Phitsanulok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Fight Summary: Seemingly flat and uninspired, Sorjaturong (107½) struggled as Yahiro (107¾), very tall at the weight, took his best punches without blinking. However, after a clubbing right hand cut Yahiro badly above the eyes in the ninth round the fight was called off on the 1.39 mark, the injury being deemed as too serious for the challenger to continue.
19 October 1996. Saman Sorjaturong w co 2 Alli Galvez
Venue: Bangplee Regional Stadium, Samat Prakan, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Carlos Padilla.
Fight Summary: Making a quick start, Sorjaturong (106¾) soon got the measure of his challenger, Galvez (107½), hitting him with a whole range of punches before despatching him in the second round. There appeared to be nowhere to hide, and with Galvez backed against the ropes a short left hook sent him crashing to the canvas where he was counted out on the 1.58 mark.
15 December 1996. Saman Sorjaturong w pts 12 Manuel Jesus Herrera
Venue: Provincial Stadium, Changrai, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: James Jen-Kin.
Scorecards: 116-112, 114-113, 115-113.
Fight Summary: In a gruelling but often exciting contest, Sorjaturong (108) made a good start to build up a handy lead before Herrera (107¼) came back with some heavy punches of his own. However, the champion proved his good condition by standing up to the hail of leather coming his way and fighting back strongly to deserve the decision.
13 April 1997. Saman Sorjaturong w rsc 7 Julio Coronel
Venue: Provincial Stadium, Chaiyaphum, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Cappuccino.
Fight Summary: Starting quickly, Sorjaturong (106) floored Coronel (108) with a sharp right, but instead of the challenger being overwhelmed he fought back strongly. From the third to the sixth Sorjaturong maintained the pressure, and in the seventh another right floored Coronel. Despite beating the count, with the little Colombian in no fit state to defend himself, the fight was called off 40 seconds into the session.
31 May 1997. Saman Sorjaturong w rsc 4 Mzukisi Marali
Venue: Provincial Stadium, Petchaboon, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jose Medina.
Fight Summary: Despite Marali (107½) putting up a spirited showing, taking the fight to Sorjaturong (107½) and having some success in the second and third rounds, ultimately it was the champion’s power that made sure of the win. The end came in the fourth. Having been decked heavily by an uppercut and then subjected to a hammering, the referee stepped in at 2.13 to save Marali from taking further punishment.
8 March 1998. Saman Sorjaturong w rsc 4 Shiro Yahiro
Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lou Halpern.
Fight Summary: Far too strong for the challenger, Sorjaturong (106¾) walked through the jab to get his punches off. And by the end of the third session the light-punching Yahiro (107¼) was looking decidedly harassed, having been knocked over immediately prior to the bell. Wasting no time in the fourth, Sorjaturong floored Yahiro twice, and when the latter attempted to get up from the second knockdown he fell backwards. At that point, with 40 seconds of the round left, the referee stopped the contest so that Yahiro could be tended to by the medics.
26 November 1998. Saman Sorjaturong w pts 12 Ladislao Vazquez
Venue: Muang Thong Thani Sports Complex, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: David Chung.
Scorecards: 114-112, 114-112, 115-113.
Fight Summary: Too overconfident by far, the casual Sorjaturong (107) had to survive a fifth-round visit to the canvas, and although he fought back hard to earn the decision over Vazquez (107) it was a close call. Both men were cut, Sorjaturong over the left eye in the sixth and Vazquez on the forehead at the same time.
Sorjaturong’s next defence would be against Yo-Sam Choi, who had 20 wins and just one defeat on his record. Since his only defeat, which was for the South Korean title, he had come back strongly with only two men lasting the distance in nine straight wins. He had also become the OPBF champion.
17 October 1999. Yo-Sam Choi w pts 12 Saman Sorjaturong
Venue: Olympic Gymnastic Stadium, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jose Medina.
Scorecards: 116-111, 116-110, 116-108.
Fight Summary: In what was a surprise, the aggressive challenger won the fight by pounding the inexplicably lethargic Sorjaturong (108) for nine rounds before having to weather the last three sessions when the Thai finally came to life. There was no doubting that Choi (108) had Sorjaturong’s number when able to outpunch and outbox the champion to pile up the points, but it was a shock just the same.
17 June 2000. Yo-Sam Choi w co 5 Chart Kiatpetch
Venue: Olympic Gymnastic Gym, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Malcolm Bulner.
Fight Summary: Making his first defence, Choi (108) got off to a good start, flooring Kiatpetch (107¾) in the second round and pounding away until the challenger finally dropped from a body shot in the fifth. Kiatpetch, who was not of championship class, was counted out on the 2.50 mark having given it his best shot.
30 January 2001. Yo-Sam Choi w co 7 Saman Sorjaturong
Venue: Central City Millennium Hall, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Fight Summary: With accurate combinations and a good defence Choi (107¾) quickly took the initiative, and in round seven a solid jab floored Sorjaturong (106¼) for the full count, timed at 1.17.
23 February 2002. Yo-Sam Choi w rsc 10 Shingo Yamaguchi
Venue: Tokyo Bay NK Hall, Chiba, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bruce McTavish.
Fight Summary: Responding to the challenger’s lack of punching power, Choi (108) cut him over the eyes in the sixth round, floored him with a vicious overhand right in the ninth, and took him apart in the tenth before the referee decided that he had seen enough at 2.18 of the session. It was not that the busy Yamaguchi (106) failed to perform, but his skill alone was never going to be enough to keep the champion at bay for the whole 12 rounds.
The next man to challenge Choi would be the WBC ‘interim’ champion, Jorge Arce, who had a record showing 29 (21 inside the distance) wins, one draw and three losses on his slate. A former WBO champion, having won the title when beating Juan Domingo Cordoba, and making a successful defence against Salvatore Fanni prior to being defeated by Michael Carbajal, Arce had also beaten men of the quality of Lorenzo Trejo, Miguel Martinez (2), Carmelo Cacares and Juanito Rubillar.
6 July 2002. Jorge Arce w rsc 6 Yo-Sam Choi
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Larry O’Connell.
Fight Summary: Having waited two years for his title opportunity, the ‘interim’ champion, Arce (107½), was not going to pass it up lightly, dropping Choi (108) in the opening round and pounding him persistently with hooks to the body to wear him down. Come the sixth session, a powerful left followed by a right-left combination saw the title holder in serious trouble before he was rescued by the referee on the 1.21 mark.
16 November 2002. Jorge Arce w rsc 3 Agustin Luna
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.
Fight Summary: In charge all the way despite being cut over the left eye in the opening session, Arce (108) went to work on Luna (107½) in the second round, putting him over with a heavy left hook. It was evident in the third that Luna would not be able to keep the champion at bay for long, and having got up from a heavy right to the jaw he was set upon and battered at will until the referee rescued him with 2.13 on the clock.
22 February 2003. Jorge Arce w co 1 Ernesto Castro
Venue: City Bullring, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Gelasio Perez.
Fight Summary: Making his second defence, Arce (107¾) once again proved what a good finisher he was. The champion soon got down to business against Castro (107¾), who was hurt very quickly by left hooks to the head and body before being counted out at 1.40 of the first round.
3 May 2003. Jorge Arce w tdec 6 Melchor Cob Castro
Venue: Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Scorecards: 59-55, 58-56, 59-55.
Fight Summary: After failing the weight at the first attempt, Arce (107) was recorded as having made it third time round despite onlookers not being totally satisfied. In fact, immediately prior to the fight he weighed an incredible 124lbs to Cob Castro’s 119lbs, and this for men contesting a 108lbs title. Having scored a knockdown in round three, Cob Castro (108), a southpaw, was throwing fewer punches than the champion but they appeared to be having more effect than Arce’s, many of which were blocked. Cob Castro was also having success with body punches. Following further head clashes in the fifth, Arce, who was cut in two places on the left eye, went for broke in order to turn the fight his way, but at the end of the sixth when his cuts were deemed too dangerous for him to continue the referee called for the cards.
10 January 2004. Jorge Arce w co 2 Jomo Gamboa
Venue: Banamex Exhibition Centre, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.
Fight Summary: Putting his foot on the pedal, the champion pounced on Gamboa (108) right from the opening bell as he looked for a quick win, the latter being fortunate to last out the round. Starting the second in much the same vein, Arce (107) tore into Gamboa, with straight rights to the head doing the damage, and at 1.38 of the session the latter was counted out after being dropped by such a blow.
24 April 2004. Jorge Arce w co 5 Melchor Cob Castro
Venue: Chiapas Fair Rooster Theatre, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.
Fight Summary: This anticipated rematch saw the champion leave nothing to chance this time around, and he was soon in the thick of it as he looked to dispatch Cob Castro (107¾) inside the distance. Badly rocked in the third round, Cob Castro was dropped at the end of the fourth as Arce (107¾) opened up again before being knocked out by a terrific left hook to the body at 1.57 of the fifth. The southpaw veteran had his moments, but found Arce just too much to handle.
4 September 2004. Jorge Arce w pts 12 Juanito Rubillar
Venue: The Bullring, Tijuana, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Toby Gibson.
Scorecards: 115-112, 119-108, 115-112.
Fight Summary: The pair had fought for the ‘interim’ crown in October 2001, but this time around Rubillar (107) was looking to relieve Arce (107¾) of the ‘real’ thing. In what was another hard contest there were no knockdowns despite it being a free-hitting affair, but when the southpaw challenger was docked a point in the ninth round for rabbit punching his chance of picking up the belt had all but disappeared. Following the fight there was controversy when Rubillar’s manager accused the judges of robbing his charge of a win, but it should be noted that most ringsiders felt that the busier Arce won handily.
18 December 2004. Jorge Arce w rsc 3 Juan Francisco Centeno
Venue: Independent University Gym, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Guillermo Ayon.
Fight Summary: Continuing to have trouble making the weight this was thought to be the champion’s last fight in the junior flyweight division, and he went out a winner when stopping Centeno (108) with two seconds remaining of the third round. Having been beaten in his last two fights, both at flyweight, Centeno was a strange choice to challenge Arce (108). Even then, he did reasonably well until a left hook to the body dropped him in a heap and led to him being rescued by the referee. Immediately prior to the knockdown, the all-action Arce had been landing solid blows from both hands to the head and body without much coming back, thus the finish came as no surprise.
Arce vacated the WBC title on 18 December to move up a weight division. Eventually, a match was made for 30 September 2006 between the top-ranked Hugo Fidel Cazares, the WBO champion, and Nelson Dieppa, who was rated second, that would also involve my version of the 'world' title. The Ring Championship Belt would also be on the line. A pro since 1993, Dieppa (24 wins, one draw, one technical draw, two defeats and one no contest) had beaten Andy Tabanas to win the vacant WBO title. Having made successful defences against Fahlan Sakkreerin, Jhon Alberto Molina, Kermin Guardia, Ulises Solis and Alex Sanchez before losing the belt to Cazares on 30 April 2005, he was looking to turn the tables on his old opponent. Coming into the fight with a record of 24 (18 inside the distance) wins, one draw and four defeats, the hard-punching southpaw, Cazares, had successfully defended the title he had won from Dieppa when defeating Alex Sanchez, Kaichon Sor Vorapin and Domingo Guillen.
30 September 2006. Hugo Fidel Cazares w rsc 10 Nelson Dieppa
Venue: Hector Sola Bezares Coliseum, Caguas, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.
Fight Summary: Cazares (108), who had won the title from Dieppa (108), started in positive fashion before flooring the latter with a heavy right swing in the second. Keeping up the momentum, although Dieppa came back well in the fifth and hurt his man in the eighth, Cazares tightened his grip in the ninth. At the end of the ninth it was clear that Dieppa who was carrying a badly cut bottom lip and other facial damage was on borrowed time, and at 2.17 of the tenth he was rescued by the referee after taking further hurtful punches.
4 May 2007. Hugo Fidel Cazares w rsc 2 Wilfrido Valdez
Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Joe Cortez.
Fight Summary: Making yet another explosive start, the southpaw champion waded into Valdez (108) from the bell before having him over from a solid right to the head. Back on his feet Valdez tried to box his way back into the fight, but was eventually smashed down again by a right hand. Although effectively saved by the bell Valdez was immediately up against it at the start of the second as Cazares (108) stalked him and, following another heavy right to the head that dropped the challenger for the third time, the referee stopped the contest after just 25 seconds of the session had elapsed without bothering to count.
Ivan Calderon, the WBO mini flyweight champion, would be Cazares’ next challenger after deciding to move up in weight. Unbeaten after 28 contests, Calderon had already proved to be an accomplished southpaw of the highest order when making 11 successful defences of the mini flyweight title, and was looking for new challenges.
25 August 2007. Ivan Calderon w pts 12 Hugo Fidel Cazares
Venue: Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Jose Rivera.
Scorecards: 115-112, 115-112, 111-116.
Fight Summary: With his WBO title and Ring Championship Belt on the line against Calderon (107), the hard-hitting champion finally came unstuck in a battle of southpaws. Using his speed and defensive ability, the smaller Calderon gave a master class in pure boxing despite having to get off the floor in the eighth after being badly hurt by a cracker of a right. His head cleared, Calderon was back to his best in the ninth, countering Cazares (107¾) and picking his shots from head to body to impress two of the judges, if not the third who had Cazares winning by five rounds on aggression. On winning, Calderon became a two-weight world champion while relinquishing his WBO mini flyweight title at the same time.
1 December 2007. Ivan Calderon w pts 12 Juan Esquer
Venue: Tingley Coliseum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Russell Mora.
Scorecards: 115-113, 116-112, 118-110.
Fight Summary: Although Esquer (108) forced the fight throughout the full 12 rounds, apart from having a few successes he was outboxed by the clever Calderon (107). Despite that, Esquer kept on trying, occasionally getting through with solid blows, but Calderon merely shrugged them off and got back to his boxing, picking his challenger off with southpaw jabs and counters. The fact that one of the judges had Calderon winning just seven rounds to Esquer's five was more to do with the latter's aggression than the champion's cleverness.
5 April 2008. Ivan Calderon w pts 12 Nelson Dieppa
Venue: Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Jose Rivera.
Scorecards: 120-108, 120-108, 120-108.
Fight Summary: Calderon (107¾) was far too good for Dieppa (108), who was unable to keep up with the little southpaw. All three judges declared it to be a shut-out points win, the 37-year-old Dieppa being outboxed and dominated by a man four inches shorter. Every time Dieppa got set Calderon had moved on, rattling the former with southpaw jabs and combinations, and the final bell came as a welcome relief.
30 August 2008. Ivan Calderon w tdec 7 Hugo Fidel Cazares
Venue: Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 68-65, 68-65, 67-66.
Fight Summary: Defending his WBO title and Ring Championship Belt against the man he won them from, Calderon (107½) successfully retained them when being awarded the technical decision after an accidental head butt had gashed his forehead and the fight had been halted at 1.58 of the seventh when the doctor deemed that the cut was too deep for him to continue. For most of the contest Cazares (108) had looked to line Calderon up for his big shots, but the latter was too quick for him. Six inches the shorter man, the little southpaw buzzed around Cazares landing lefts and rights that hardly bothered the latter but added to the points total.
13 June 2009. Ivan Calderon tdraw 6 Rodel Mayol
Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.
Scorecards: 58-56, 57-57, 56-58.
Fight Summary: Calderon (106¼), much the smaller man, came under fire from long rights to the head early on before coming back well with the southpaw jab. In the fifth two accidental head butts had Calderon bleeding badly from a gashed forehead as the ungainly Mayol (106) came forward, and sensing he had to do something fast the champion tore into his man to take the round. Although Calderon was allowed out for the sixth, at 1.50 of the session the fight was stopped after the ringside doctor had inspected the wound. Having gone to the cards and being announced as a technical draw, had the judge who made it 57-57 agreed with the other two men who both saw Mayol taking the sixth Calderon would have lost.
12 September 2009. Ivan Calderon w tdec 7 Rodel Mayol
Venue: Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Luis Pabon.
Scorecards: 68-65, 68-65, 65-68.
Fight Summary: Further to their inconclusive match three months earlier, the result went the same way when the fight was stopped with 26 seconds remaining in the seventh prior to going to the cards. With Calderon (107½) cut on the scalp in almost the same place, this time round one judge saw Mayol (107½) as the winner while the other two had it for the southpaw champion. It had been a messy affair with the pair bumping heads several times, but the better work came from the diminutive Calderon, who although pushed back at times by Mayol's long jab landed the sharper punches.
12 June 2010. Ivan Calderon w pts 12 Jesus Iribe
Venue: MSG Theatre, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Benjy Esteves Jnr.
Scorecards: 116-111, 118-109, 118-109.
Fight Summary: As game as a pebble, Iribe (106) was an ideal opponent for the champion, Calderon (106), to showcase his skills against, but in the second round a right hand to the jaw had the southpaw champion over. Up quickly, Calderon was soon popping out the jab while moving in and out of Iribe's attacks, and in the eighth through to the tenth he put on a master class for the purist. Although Iribe, his face swollen from the constant stream of jabs, was on the floor in the 11th it was ruled a slip, and from thereon in he continually tried to land a finisher without success.
A pro since 2003, Giovani Segura would be Calderon’s next opponent in what would be a unification contest. Segura would come to the ring as the current WBA champion with 25 (20 inside the distance) wins, one draw and one defeat on his record. Having lost to Cesar Canchila, the hard-hitting southpaw gained revenge over the WBA ‘interim’ champion in his next fight before taking the full title when stopping Juanito Rubillar and then making successful defences over Sonny Boy Jaro and Walter Tello.
28 August 2010. Giovani Segura w co 8 Ivan Calderon
Venue: Mario Morales Coliseum, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBA/WBO/The Ring. Referee: Jose Rivera.
Fight Summary: In a battle of southpaws between the WBA's Segura (108) and the WBO champion, Calderon (108), it was the former who picked up the win when knocking his rival out at 1.34 of the eighth. Clearly the heavier hitter of the pair, Segura was forced to take the jab while pressing on with punches of his own, and in the fifth he had Calderon down from body punches that the referee ruled as a slip. After battling back in the sixth and seventh to force Segura to hold on at times, the tiring Calderon was right up against it in the eighth. Having taken some solid belts along the ropes, when Calderon was dropped following two heavy body shots he remained on one knee as the count was completed.
Segura relinquished the WBA title on 26 November.
2 April 2011. Giovani Segura w co 3 Ivan Calderon
Venue: State Auditorium, Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Samuel Viruet.
Fight Summary: In a return battle of southpaws, Segura (108) punched too hard for Calderon (107¾), who despite showing many of his former skills was unable to keep his rival at bay. Deciding to go for the body Segura set up a sustained attack, and although Calderon was able to duck and dive in the opening two sessions he was eventually caught in the third. Two heavy rights to the head forced Calderon to the ropes before a tremendous right to the body sent him down to be counted out on one knee at 1.39 of the session.
A few days later, on 5 April, Segura relinquished the WBO title to fight among the flyweights before eventually forfeiting recognition from The Ring on 19 September. Following that, it would not be until 10 May 2014 when the top-ranked Donnie Nietes’ defended his WBO title against Moises Fuentes, rated third, that my version of the 'world' title would be up for grabs again. At the same time The Ring Championship Belt would also be on the line. Fuentes, carrying 19 wins, one draw and one loss on his record, was a former undefeated WBO mini flyweight champion who had jumped up a weight to draw with Nietes before winning the ‘interim’ title when beating Luis De La Rosa. Nietes, also a former undefeated WBO mini flyweight title holder, had moved up to win the WBO junior flyweight title when beating Ramon Garcia Hirales, prior to making successful defences against Felipe Salguero, Fuentes and Sammy Gutierrez. A solid box-fighter with 32 wins (18 inside the distance), three draws, one technical draw and one defeat when badly outweighed, Nietes was a clear favourite coming into the contest.
10 May 2014. Donnie Nietes w rsc 9 Moises Fuentes
Venue: SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Robert Byrd.
Fight Summary: By his victory the WBO champion also picked up The Ring Championship Belt, while the ‘interim’ title holder, Fuentes (108), went home without a belt to his name. This was a rematch following their earlier draw, and to all intents and purposes Nietes (108) looked a different fighter to the one that took on Fuentes in 2013. Although the fight was relatively close Nietes was the sharper of the pair, and after a slow start he began to make Fuentes appear one-dimensional even though the latter delivered some good body shots in round five. By round eight when Fuentes was beginning to take a beating it was apparent that Nietes, in the ascendancy, was looking for a finish. In the ninth, after dropping Fuentes with some nasty looking body blows, some of which could have strayed low, Nietes was deducted a point for hitting his opponent when he was down. Despite Fuentes being given some recovery time, when he was twice sent crashing the referee called it off immediately following the second knockdown so that the Mexican could receive attention. The contest ended on the 2.56 mark.
15 November 2014. Donnie Nietes w rtd 7 Carlos Velarde
Venue: Waterfront Hotel & Casino, Cebu City, Philippines. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Robert Byrd.
Fight Summary: Not much of a spectacle to start with, it finally got going in the third when the champion began to let loose solid counters as Velarde (107¾) came on to his punches. From thereon in it was all Nietes (107½), his better boxing having Velarde looking confused and tired. In the seventh, after complaining to no avail about a head butt that left him with a bad cut over the left eye and taking a beating, Velarde was retired by his corner at the end of the session.
28 March 2015. Donnie Nietes w rtd 9 Gilberto Parra
Venue: Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Jack Reiss.
Fight Summary: Putting everything on the line against Parra (108), the skilful Nietes (108) was forced to mix it early on with the young slugger before getting on top in the fourth and fifth when going up and down with accurate, hurtful shots. Although Parra came back strongly in the sixth he was picked apart from there on as Nietes upped the pace, and in the eighth a cracking right cross downed the Mexican. Things did not get any better for Parra when another solid right opened up a bad cut on his left eye in the ninth, it coming as no surprise when he was retired at the end of the session.
11 July 2015. Donnie Nietes w pts 12 Francisco Rodriguez Jnr
Venue: Waterfront Hotel & Casino, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, Philippines. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Russell Mora.
Scorecards: 119-109, 115-113, 118-110.
Fight Summary: On the front foot from the start, the left hook his favoured punch, Rodriguez (108) made Nietes (108) work hard before the latter gained the upper hand. Boxing well, the champion was picking his punches better by the fourth as he avoided the blows from Rodriguez coming his way, and at the end of the sixth he had a good lead. Although he was hurt by solid lefts towards the end of the seventh, Nietes continued with the jab, keeping Rodriguez at bay with sharp punches prior to coming under attack in the latter stages. Two judges had Nietes the winner by a big margin, whilst the other had Rodriguez winning five rounds.
17 October 2015. Donnie Nietes w pts 12 Juan Alejo
Venue: StubHub Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.
Scorecards: 120-108, 119-109, 119-109.
Fight Summary: Barely dropping a round, Nietes (108) boxed his way to a wide points win over the tough Alejo (107½). The champion was in full flow by the fourth as he picked Alejo apart with a full range of blows. It was the straight right and right uppercuts that caused Alejo the most grief, but he stayed upright. Having been cut over the left eye in the sixth, Nietes took the fight to Alejo in the seventh with some big punches that snapped the latter's head back before getting back to his boxing and romping to victory.
28 May 2016. Donnie Nietes w rtd 5 Raul Garcia
Venue: St La Salle University Coliseum, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. Recognition: WBO/The Ring. Referee: Celestino Ruiz.
Fight Summary: Up against a two-time mini flyweight champion in Garcia (108), the skilful, hard-hitting Nietes (108), who had won the WBO title from the latter's brother, was determined to finish early. Both men were landing solidly from early on, with Nietes having the better of his southpaw opponent. Dropping Garcia twice in the third, Nietes continued where he left off in the fourth, but although he handed out a beating Garcia bravely remained upright. It was the bodywork of Nietes that was doing the damage, and at the end of the fifth Garcia was retired by his corner with nothing much left in the tank.
Nietes relinquished the WBO title on 3 August and Ring Championship Belt ot 17 August, having decided to move up among the flyweights after explaining that he would not be making 108lbs again. Further to that, when the second-rated Milan Melindo, the IBF title holder, was matched against the top-ranked WBA champion, Ryoichi Taguchi, in a unification fight it would also involve my version of the 'world' title and The Ring Championship Belt. Coming into the contest, Melindo had lost just twice in 39 contests, being beaten by Juan Francisco Estrada in a WBA/WBO flyweight challenge before dropping down to junior fly and losing to Javier Mendoza in a crack at the latter’s IBF title. Not deterred, he had come back strongly to land the vacant IBF ‘interim’ title prior to beating Akira Yaegashi for the main belt and making a successful defence against Hekkie Budler. His opponent, Taguchi, had won the WBA title when beating Alberto Rossel on 6 May 2015 and had made successful defences against Kwanthai Sithmorseng, Luis De La Rosa, Juan Jose Landaeta, Ryo Miyazaki, Carlos Canizales and Ronald Barrera. Taguchi would bring a record of 26 wins, two draws and two losses into the fight.
31 December 2017. Ryoichi Taguchi w pts 12 Milan Melindo
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: IBF/WBA/The Ring. Referee: Mark Nelson.
Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 116-112.
Fight Summary: When the IBF’s Melindo (107½) took on the WBA’s Taguchi (107¾) in a unification bout, The Ring Championship Belt was also on the line. Although Melindo took the opening session with good body shots paving the way for the jab, Taguchi picked it up in the second before coming under fire again in the fifth. From thereon in cuts from head clashes would be a problem for Melindo, who had sustained damage to the left eye in the third, the right eye in the sixth and another on the right optic in the 12th. Apart from Melindo having a good ninth session, all the remaining rounds belonged to Taguchi despite him being pushed all the way by a man desperate to hold on to his laurels.
Taguchi’s next defence would be against Hekkie Budler, a former WBA mini flyweight champion, who had 31 wins and three losses on his record. Rated sixth best in the division, Budler had lost a close decision in his recent fight against Melindo and deserved another chance.
20 May 2018. Hekkie Budler w pts 12 Ryoichi Taguchi
Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: IBF/WBA/The Ring. Referee: Sam Williams.
Scorecards: 114-113, 114-113, 113-114.
Fight Summary: After taking control of the opening four rounds with solid body work, Budler (108) began to be pegged back by the champion from the fifth onwards. In a contest where two titles and The Ring Championship Belt were at stake both men gave everything they had. Although Taguchi (108) took the last four sessions on the cards and had Budler down in the 12th from a solid left hook, he came up short by one point. Further to the referee calling the punch that dropped Budler a slip, he was eventually overruled by the officials. On winning, Budler became a two-weight world champion.
Buddler relinquished the IBF title on 28 July due to the low purse money offered for a mandatory defence against Felix Alvarado. The former undefeated IBF mini flyweight champion, Hiroto Kyoguchi, would be next for Budler. With eight inside the distance victories from 11 winning contests, the 25-year-old Kyoguchi was a tough ask for Budler.
31 December 2018. Hiroto Kyoguchi w rtd 10 Hekkie Budler
Venue: Wynn Palace, Cotai, Macao, SAR China. Recognition: WBA/The Ring. Referee: Mark Calo-oy.
Fight Summary: Challenging Budler (106¾) for the latter’s WBA crown and The Ring Championship Belt the unbeaten Kyoguchi (107¾) became a two-weight world champion on winning. Although taking the opening two rounds, Budler came under pressure from thereon in as Kyoguchi picked up the pace, banging in solid left hooks to head and body. After the fifth, despite landing with solid blows on occasion, Budler failed to win a round as Kyoguchi maintained the pressure and began to land with heavy shots on a consistent basis. Now badly cut over the right eye Budler was up against it in the tenth and after taking a further battering, on getting back to his corner, his corner signalled that they were pulling their man out. Other reports state that the bell had rung for the 11th prior to the referee closing the contest, but to all intents and purposes it was already over.
19 June 2019. Hiroto Kyoguchi w pts 12 Thanawat Nakoon
Venue: Convention Centre, Chiba City, Japan. Recognition: WBA/The Ring. Referee: Rafael Ramos.
Scorecards: 117-112, 117-111, 117-111.
Fight Summary: Starting strongly, Kyoguchi (107¾) never once let go of his grip on the contest as he continuously closed down his hardy southpaw challenger. While never able to knock Nakoon (107½) off his feet it was not for the want of trying, and in the tenth a terrific right to the head almost had him over. It was sheer toughness and bloody mindedness that kept the Thai in the fight, especially when it looked as though he was done for at times. Nakoon may have lost his unbeaten record, but he gained much credit when refusing to be ground down by a top-class champion who had finished off nine of his previous 12 opponents inside the distance.
1 October 2019. Hiroto Kyoguchi w pts 12 Tetsuya Hisada
Venue: Edion Arena, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBA/The Ring/The Ring. Referee: Kazunobu Asao.
Scorecards: 117-110, 116-111, 115-112.
Fight Summary: Making his second defence, Kyoguchi (108) had to survive some tough moments, especially when hurt by a big right to the head in the second round, before coming home on points against a hardy challenger. Regaining his composure, by the seventh Kyoguchi had worked his way to the front after stunning Hisada (107¾) in the sixth with heavy combinations, and from thereon in he was in control. Having dropped Hisada in the ninth following a right to the head, Kyoguchi continued to work the body and land the cleaner punches right through to the final bell.