[Criteria: Fighter theoretically enters weight category of choice]
SUPER-FLYWEIGHTS or JUNIOR BANTAMWEIGHTS or LIGHT-BANTAMWEIGHTS 115 lbs: p1 Khaosai Galaxy p1 Gilberto Roman p2 Jiro Watanabe p2 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai p2 Johnny Tapia p3 Sung Kil Moon p3 Masamori Tokuyama p4 Nonito Donaire p4 Gerry Penalosa p4 Fernando Montiel
[8.9] KHAOSAI GALAXY 50-49(43)1-0: The Ring online - Encyclopaedia Britannica -
124,902. Best I Faced: Khaosai Galaxy is the gold standard for boxing in Thailand. He is recognized as his country’s greatest boxer as well as the best fighter in the history of the junior bantamweight division’s 37-year history.
Galaxy, was born in Petchaboon, in the north of Thailand on May 15 1959. His birth name was Sohla Saenghom. His family were farmers and extremely poor. At just five years old, he began Muay Thai and earned 50 Baht ($1 USD) a fight.
He had hoped to go into the military but was told he was too short. So he decided to stay in combat sports, taking part in more than 100 Muay Thai bouts before he was convinced by his handlers to switch to boxing.
He turned pro in 1980 and, like many boxers from Thailand, he changed his name, incorporating his manager’s nightclub’s name as his second name. Galaxy won his first six bouts before losing to Sak Galaxy (no relation) for the Thai national bantamweight title. The fight was significant because he never lost again. Although initially rather crude, his power and relentless style earned him attention.
The heavy-handed southpaw reeled off 18 consecutive wins to become the WBA 115-pound mandatory challenger. However, then champion Jiro Watanabe wasn’t keen to face the marauding Thai and was stripped of his title.
This left the way clear for Galaxy to face Eusebio Espinal of the Dominican Republic for the vacant throne. After Galaxy’s backers brought the bout to Thailand in November of 1984, he won by sixth round knockout and his reign of terror began.
Four months later, Galaxy got his title tenure under way, knocking out Dong-Chun Lee in seven rounds and fought twice more in 1985, once against former two-time WBC titlist Rafael Orono, who he stopped in five rounds.
With no challengers available, Galaxy sat for 11 months, resurfacing in the only fight of his career that took place outside Asia, stopping future WBC and WBO bantamweight titleholder Israel Contreras in five rounds in the exotic Caribbean local of Curaçao.
Galaxy kicked off his 1987 campaign on the road in Indonesia, stopping IBF beltholder Elly Pical in the 14th round. Unfortunately, the IBF didn’t sanction the unification.
In 1988, twin brother Khaokar joined him as world champion when he won the WBA bantamweight title. They became the first set of twins to win world titles and reign concurrently.
He made two defenses at home before the Korean paymasters decided to bankroll a fight between Galaxy and their man, former IBF titlist Chang Ho Choi in Seoul. Galaxy took Choi apart in eight rounds to register his eighth defense.
The mighty Thai was gaining fearsome notoriety for the manner in which he demolished his opponents and earned he nickname ‘The Thai Tyson’.
In 1989 he continued with four successful defenses of his crown, two at home and two on the road in Japan. In the December of that year, he was involved in a serious car accident with his brother. It didn’t keep him on the sidelines for long.
He made four more defenses in 1990, all in Thailand, all by knockout.
He opened 1991 with two more defenses before bringing the curtain down on his outstanding title reign with a spirited decision over tough Mexican Armando Castro.
Although, Galaxy bested Castro over 12 rounds in December of 1991, he was clearly feeling the strain and that perhaps his best was behind him and elected to step away from the sport at 32 years old.
‘I am getting old and it is so hard work for me to lose 10 kilos [22 pounds],’ Galaxy told RingTV.com through Dr Siraphop Ratanasuban. ‘I finished my hard life and got into acting, movies and singing.’
Galaxy retired with a record of 47-1 (41 knockouts) after making 19 defenses of his WBA strap over a period of seven years and one month, both are division records that still stand today. His devastating power earned him the No 19 place in The Ring magazine’s ‘100 Greatest Punchers of All Time.’ The Ring online article Anson Wainwright
96,716. Galaxy is considered Thailand’s greatest boxer.
Galaxy began his professional boxing career in 1980. He defeated Eusebio Espinal of the Dominican Republic for the World Boxing Association (WBA) junior bantamweight (also known as super flyweight) championship on November 21st 1984, knocking out his opponent in the sixth round. Galaxy retired after his 19th title defense, a 12-round decision (a fight whose outcome is determined by judges’ scoring) over Armando Castro of Mexico on December 21st 1991. Galaxy won 49 of his 50 matches, including 43 by knockout, losing only to Sakda Saksuree of Thailand in a 10-round decision on July 29, 1981 (in a rematch, he knocked out Saksuree). His twin brother, Kaokor Galaxy (Nirote Saenkham), won the WBA bantamweight (118 pounds) championship on May 9th 1988. Thereby they became the first twin brothers to hold world boxing titles. Khaosai Galaxy was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999. Enclycopaedia Britannica
[8.8] GILBERTO ROMAN 61-54(35)-6-1 [Super-Bantamweight & Bantamweight & Super-Flyweight]: Boxing Monthly online -
124,903. When Salvador Sanchez died aged 23 in 1982 he left a void in the hearts of the passionate Mexican fans.
Roman had no chance of becoming the next Mexican boxing idol. Although he was comparable to Sanchez as a stylist, a young kid from Culiacan called Julio Cesar Chavez won the love and respect of the nation by winning world titles in multiple weight classes at the same time. Roman, meanwhile, was plying his trade in the less glamorous super-flyweight division. Nevertheless, the defensively minded and technically proficient Mexico City boxer was among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world at his peak, and his run at the top of the division is unsurpassed even to this day.
Roman did not follow the typical route of the prototypical Mexican boxing legend. A quality amateur, he failed to medal at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, despite beating the excellent Pan-Am gold medalist Alberto Mercado.
Turning pro in the Fall of ’81, Roman then chose the typical trajectory of a young Mexican prospect, amassing 43 bouts in five years, including a win over the hard-hitting former (and future) world champ Antonio Avelar.
Roman was 40-3 before he got a world title shot, and had no less a fighter than the great Jiro Watanabe standing in his way.
The bout itself was low on drama. But to the purist, to watch it now is to watch Roman at his tactical peak. He feints, jabs, and circumnavigates Watanabe throughout. Watanabe has his moments, but Roman plays to his strengths and the great Japanese’s weaknesses, showing a higher ring IQ and a more diverse skill set.
Roman displayed these same skills throughout his career. And he would need them.
The incredible Thai Kontoranee Payakaroon gave Roman issues, but the Mexican made the adjustments down the stretch to keep his belt. Former lineal flyweight champ Frank Cedeno floored Roman early, but got disheartened when he found that the defending champ wasn’t fazed. Two-time world flyweight challenger – and reigning European bantam champ – Antoine Montero was perfectly built for super fly, but Roman took him apart in nine rounds.
Roman’s ring generalship found its most severe test in three bouts that featured possibly the highest combined skill level you’ll find at 115lbs. Roman went 1-1-1 with the hard as nails Argie Santos Laciar, and over the trilogy both men displayed the finer side of the sweet science, both in a gruelling inside battle and a tit-for-tat battle for the outside.
Laciar – a former WBA flyweight champ – was a broad shouldered, bobbing technician, who mixed a granite chin with solid defence in order to get off his looping overhand shots. He came close to dethroning Roman in an excellent 12-round draw, before both men’s tendency to cut inside their opponents shots with quick slips saw multiple head clashes in the rematch. Erroneously – at least to my eyes – ruled a TKO due to the referee’s insistence that punches caused the multiple lacerations on Roman’s head and face, the rematch saw Laciar take the WBC super-flyweight title, his second in two divisions.
Roman would eventually win back his title, but it wouldn’t be form his old foe Laciar.
Had Sugar Baby Rojas been Mexican, he may well have surpassed Roman in terms of popularity. Going into his title fight against Laciar, he was 27 years old, and had lost just one bout, matched perilously hard in just his seventh pro bout against Chilean banger Martin Vargas, then nearing a century of bouts. Never stopped in his long career, Rojas mixed his intimidating size of the weight with a textbook boxer-puncher style – with a dash of the Colombian wildness that so many fighters from that nation have – that saw 17 of his 28 victims fail to see the final bell.
Rojas’ youth and size was too much for Santos Laciar, and although the same age, Roman was much older in ring terms, and had needed a hundred stitches after a serious car accident that saw him thrown through the windscreen. He was up against more than just a dangerous puncher, he was past his physical best.
But as Rojas found out in two bouts, Roman’s great experience was too much to overcome. Losing a tough decision first time round, Rojas was completely befuddled in the rematch (held on the undercard of the incredible and long awaited rematch between ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns) and never replicated the destructive form that saw him win the title.
Roman was long in the tooth though, and the ease with which he reclaimed his title flattered to deceive. Ever the pro, he managed to craft some quality wins out of what he had left, travelling to Japan to beat undefeated challenger – and future WBC super-bantamweight champ – Kiyoshi Hatanaka, and proving his superiority over Santos Laciar once and for all via dominant decision.