Tag Archives: tokyo

East Meets West in War – Nishioka vs Munroe

Englishman Rendall Munroe is making the grandest journey of his life when he flies over to Tokyo, Japan  to do battle against WBC superbanty champion Toshiaki Nishioka. Now, try repeating that name in fast sequence without becoming tongue tied.

Rendall Munroe

Rendall Munroe

Munroe is a solid, very physically strong fighter and the younger man at age 30, but he might have better luck at tongue twisties than trying to dethrone a vastly more experienced Nishioka who is additionally backed by genuine 10 count, one shot power, the likes of which Munroe has never tasted in his career. 

Munroe has never been knocked out though, so the hope is that his strength, youth, and pressuring, busy style will win the day over the older champ. He’s been quite successful at the regional level against mixed British and Europeans, 21-1, 9KO, but this is a new game for him entirely, opened up when he knocked out Victor Terrazas in a WBC title eliminator this year.

Munroe is an engaging, popular little guy, holding down a full time job as a binman, but has taken time off from his work to train properly for his biggest challenge yet. I recall reading an interview of his promoter, Frank Maloney, where they relocated to Spain to run the mountains to prepare for the thin air of Tokyo. Thing is, Tokyo is not much higher than sea level, so unless they will be fighting on Mount Fuji at 12,000’ or one of the smaller mountains, one has to wonder what the Munroe team game plan really is and is it sensible?

The 34 yr old Nishioka doesn’t sport the most impressive record at 36-4-3, 23 KO, but 2 of those losses came as a teenager coming up in a tough Japanese system, and the other 2 losses came in 4 fights against Thai legend, Veeraphol Sahaprom. Nishioka is a graduate of the school of hard knocks for sure and unbeaten in 13 fights since. That 5 of his last 6 fights were early stoppages tells me that he’s at the apex of his career.

Toshiaki Nishioka

Toshiaki Nishioka

Nishioka is also a very engaging, happy go lucky type of guy who hardly looks the role of a championship fighter unlike the hardman that “The Battling Binman” Munroe projects in the ring, but deceptive looks out of his lefty stance only serve to mask his killer left hand, so Munroe is fixin’ to get the chin check of his young life in this one.

The undercard looks exciting with the undefeated former WBA strawweight champ, Roman Gonzalez, challenging for the WBA junior flyweight title against Francisco Rosas. Also, former two division champ, Jorge Linares is trying to line up a title shot in his 3rd division by taking on the always game, former lightweight champ, Jesus Chavez who’s also looking for another title shot.

Beware though, this card takes place on a Sunday, Japanese time, so don’t let it slip by if you truly value some quality action fights.

Here's a Poke in the Bin

Here's a Poke in the Bin

World’s #1 Superbanty, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym

Born Prakorb Udomna, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym is a Thai bred in the Thai tradition of renaming boxers after the hard as nails boxing gyms they came up in.

Ring #1

Ring #1

From the western perspective, Thai fighters can be maddeningly frustrating to rate or talk about since they represent the exotic, largely unseen Asian boxing world with incomprehensible foreign names primarily fighting unknown Asian journeymen in tiny weight classes unfamiliar to most of the world.

Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym is one of the best of those Asian practioners, owning a 41-1, 29 KO record as the #1 ranked superbanty in both the Ring and Boxrec ratings.

Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan might quarrel with that being being  #2 in both rankings, but alas, we have to wait for for the Ring championship match where the winner of #1 vs #2 is awarded  the prestigious Ring Belt as it should be.

So the few hardcore aficionados will have to make do with with PK defending his WBA title against one Ryol Li Lee of Japan, a prime career featherweight who is moving down 4 lbs for his first title challenge. This will be PK’s 4th fight outside of Thailand, the others being in Hamburg, Germany, Dublin, Ireland, and Tokyo, Japan where he returns Saturday.

Been There, Dunne That!

Been There, Dunne That!

This should be pretty much a gimmee defense for PK since Lee has nowhere near the experience of class. I’ve learned though that you can never dismiss Japanese fighters so easily as they have a proud boxing tradition to call upon and this is a high profile Japanese fight. I expect Lee to give it his all and more, maybe much, much more.

Ring #2

Ring #2

Toshiaki Nishioka has a much more difficult task ahead of him on paper. He will be defending his WBC title against a prime, extremely strong up and comer, the British hope, Rendall Munroe on the 24th of October. If he makes it past Munroe and PK is successful, it seems natural that the Ring Championship should be next in the Tokyo queue early next year.

This is boxing however, and sometimes the best bouts simply don’t get made because of a myriad of politics and nationalism.

We can always dream and hope for the best however, so if you can catch the Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym title defense in Japanese time or catch the replay, it might be well worth it to see a top Thai fighter in action.

PK Applecart Upended by RLi Lee!

PK Applecart Upended by RLi Lee!

R.I.P. Memorial to Mac Foster

http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/07/19/2011397/former-pro-boxer-from-fresno-dies.html#ixzz0uALB7jha

Mac The Knife, AKA “MacArthur” Foster, owing to his patriotic father’s christening as an admirer of General Douglas MacArthur, the two tours of Vietnam combat duty ex-marine, and former heavyweight contender Mac Foster passed on yesterday at age 68.

Standard abbreviated obit essentials and final Ring stats of 30-6, 30 KO don’t do the man justice. He followed his own muse and was his own force of nature, widely respected in his spheres both in and out of the ring.

Foster  joined the Marines after fine high school athletic achievements fielded him a scholarship offer to throw the discuss and shotput at Fresno State University. After his honorable discharge from the Marines, the popular, affable Foster launched his pro career, becoming a self promoted legend by winning all the fights by KO, usually not needing more than a few rounds, so soon enough the world stage beckoned.

Look Out, 20-0, 20 KOs!

Look Out, 20-0, 20 KOs!

Of course everything has a beginning, and Foster’s beginning was as a young Marine stationed in Tokyo attending service bouts where he boisterously shouted out a challenge to one of the Marine fighters. Weeks later his commanding officer scheduled him a day off in Tokyo after ordering him to fight the Marine. A day off in Tokyo for a young Marine was like a vacation in Disney World for a kid, but he was quickly exposed to boxing’s storied underbelly when he found himself fighting an experienced Army fighter instead. After having his ears boxed off he landed a left hook and knocked his “inter-divisional” rival out, the rough beginnings of a 20-1 amateur service record, 17 by KO with the one loss highly contested.

This limited experience was the platform that he launched his pro career from, fighting hometown and local west coast matches in a popular era for boxing. Because of his formidable KO record and reputation, it was difficult to get name fighters in the ring, but one day he got an offer to spar with Sonny Liston who was preparing to fight Henry Clark.

Mac went in completely untested at world class level and hoping to hold his own against the still frightening Liston, but the first left hook he landed left Liston sagging on the ropes and with a right hand he was ordered to land by Liston’s manager, Dick Saddler, he knocked him face first to the canvas.

Poor Liston didn’t have anyone looking out for his interests that day.

Reputation growing, Foster did manage to lure in Thad Spencer and later Cleveland Williams twice for the fatal results. He was poised for a title fight against champion Joe Frazier, but had to clear one more hurdle. He had to go through Jerry Quarry, another popular California fighter out of the same era who’d already challenged Joe Frazier in 1969’s Fight of the Year and had been in against the best and mostly come out on top, as severe a challenge as any title aspirant ever had.

Foster entered 24-0, 24 KO, a perfectionist’s perfect record. Joe Frazier was on a tear and was building up for his 1971 epic Fight of the Century with Muhammad Ali to give context. Mac could beat Ali to the Frazier alter with a win over Quarry, but big Mac was cut down to size by the Irish Bellflower who made a habit out of cleaning the clocks of his era’s contenders. After targeting the body with a series of left hooks, Quarry knocked Foster down for the first time in his career and then finished him off by knocking him through the ropes, one of Quarry’s finest fights ever.

This Ring Cover sums up the bout perfectly after all the action had ceased, the perfect denouement flash moment to the fight.

Elevated Flight!

Elevated Flight!

Foster, however,  had turned pro with the expressed intent of whupping the jinn out of Ali who stood against every thing Foster cherished, of being a Christian and patriotic combat Marine who took grave offense at Ali’s “draft dodging” and his statement that “It takes more courage to face a man in the ring than to face bullets.”

So Foster got his wish in his home away from home, Tokyo, Japan when he challenged Ali in what could best be described as an unofficial 15 rd eliminator for the right to challenge Joe Frazier. Foster had never needed more than 8 rds to dispose of his opposition, and usually much less than that, and now he was going up against in my opinion the finest version of Ali who ever existed in the ring for the full 15 rd championship distance.

Foster was never gonna win a decision against Ali, but he was awkward and gave Ali hell for 15 rds, and fairplay, Ali is seldom given proper credit for standing up to the outrageously powerful arsenal of Foster, but he did even if he was dragging at the end as was Foster.

That year, 1972, Ali was 6-0, 4 KOs against Mac Foster, George Chuvalo, Jerry Quarry, Al Blue Lewis, Floyd Patterson, and the other era Foster, Lightheavy champ Bob Foster, so Mac was in some mighty elite company knocked off by the soon to become Ring Legend.

The Ali loss led to a sea change in Foster’s career. His weight balloons and his power deserts him as he goes into later rounds losing decisions against respectable journeymen he was knocking out the year before.

He retires to move on with his life as a local icon active in his community. Perhaps with better management and more grit in the face of the Ali loss, Mac Foster could’ve secured that cherished title challenge that was denied him, but he always accepted the cards that Fate dealt him and knew the timing was just a little off for him, after all, he was in the middle of the most hallowed heavyweight era in the world where Ali, Frazier, Foreman, and Norton were the gilded era fighters of record.

With an incalculable assist from Jerry Quarry, another warrior no longer of this world who said Foster hit him harder than he’d ever been hit before, Boxing wouldn’t be the legendary sport of Kings without these noble fighters throwing in against the best.

God bless and thanks for all the upsets, drama and intrigue. Their fighting spirits live on in another place a few universes down the road somewhere. Perhaps some day all will be reunited for another go of a new storied era.

Perhaps…….