Top Men: Greatest Asian Boxers

With the cancellation of this Saturday’s heavyweight showdown between Deontay Wilder and Alexander Povetkin, the good folks at Top Men Boxing Radio are as bummed out as any other serious boxing fan that the match has been scratched. At the very least, Wilder vs Povetkin promised to shed further light on what is currently a chaotic heavyweight scene, but Povetkin tested positive for a banned substance and just like that, the match is gone. Thus it’s an appropriate time for Patrick Connor and Aris Pina to look back and reconsider some of the other memorable cancellations in boxing history.


But also, this week sees the best boxing history podcast on the internet take a serious look at the vexing question of just who are the greatest Asian boxers of all-time, a topic which deserves more attention on this side of the globe. As Connor notes in his introduction, the history of Asian boxing is richer than many realize and its greatest fighters deserve more credit and accolades than they have received. Suffice to say, there’s more to the history of Asian boxing than Manny Pacquiao.


The first name that often rises when this topic is broached is the great Pancho Villa and indeed it is the one that starts the conversation this week as Connor and Pina recall the legend of the first great Filipino world champion. Which gives us an excuse to share our all-time favourite Pancho Villa story:

Meanwhile, [Villa] was enjoying life in New York along with his newfound fame and the money that came with it. His natural charm and warm personality meant as fast as he was winning fights, he was winning friends, including Jack Dempsey and Mickey Walker, not to mention no small number of female admirers.

One evening, the story goes, Walker decided to pay his current girlfriend a visit just a few days after having introduced her to young Pancho. At the door she tried to discourage Mickey before shrugging her shoulders and leading the middleweight champ into the living room. There, seated comfortably with a drink in his hand, was Pancho Villa. Upon seeing Walker he immediately leapt to his feet and approached him. “Don’t get sore, Mickey,” he said. “Now I go get my girlfriend for you!”

“How could anyone,” Walker would say whenever he told the story, “get sore at a guy like that?”

Fighting Harada.
Fighting Harada.

Another top name for this topic is the great Fighting Harada, one of the best bantamweights of all-time and the conqueror of the legendary Eder Jofre. Then it’s on to Yoko Gushiken, Japan’s great light flyweight champion, before the discussion moves on to other prominent names (with a little detour into the finer points of ‘fist-casting’), including Joichiro Tatsuyoshi, Saensak Muangsurin, Jung-Koo Chang and Khaosai Galaxy, before concluding with an appreciation of the legendary “Pacman.” Check it out:

Follow Patrick and Aris on Twitter: @PatrickMConnor & @PunchZoneAris. And click here for all the Top Men Boxing Radio episodes you’ve missed and get caught up on your boxing history and news.

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