November 7 Saitama Bouts: History/ies in the Making?
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Thu, 07 Nov 2019
While it is customary particularly in the West to hold world title and major boxing fights on a weekend or at least on a Friday, the same is not true or followed in Japan.
Take for example tonight's fights featuring the Inoue brothers, Naoya and Takuma versus Nonito Donaire and Nordine Oubali respectively for the World Boxing Super Series finals and the WBC championships in the bantamweight division.
November 7, 2019 is a Thursday, not even a Friday.
But why did the event organizers choose or settle for this date?
As important boxing bouts are usually televised in Japan, they are scheduled at the date when the covering or carrying network has available time slot.
Not to be misconstrued, boxing is big in Japan but so are other sports as baseball, soccer, judo and of course, Sumo wrestling which likewise are covered and aired not just by the local networks but by foreign broadcast media outfits as well.
Therefore as huge and increasingly influential the DAZN has become, it has to defer to the better judgment of the host, despite the fact that it will also be streaming the Saitama bouts to its subscribers in the US, the Americas and Europe.
This is not the first time involving the DAZN as just last weekend it had to delay the Canelo Alvarez-Sergey Kovalev history making light heavyweight title main event fight in Las Vegas for an hour to give way to a major MMA bout being aired by a rival network which many of its subscribers also wanted to see. That's the downside to this new media platform- it has to please as many of its subscribers.
Hopefully, as the Saitama bouts are held in a Thursday, which is an ordinary working day in the West and elsewhere, the DAZN will have its full concentration in covering and streaming history or histories in the making.
Googling the historical significance of November 7, I came up with the following which somehow are related to Japan and the boxing bouts to unfold there tonight:
It was on November 7, 1914 during the First World War that Japan affirmed its being an emerging global military power when its forces captured the German Concession Areas in Shanghai region by defeating a strong defending German garrison there. Japan had previously defeated in major battles forces of Imperial China and Russia with huge gains in territories and political as well military prestige. Japan and Germany would become allies in the Axis with Italy barely a quarter of century later.
It was on this date in 1970 that then little known Argentine Carlos Monzon introduced himself to the boxing world by stopping Nino Benvenuti in the 11th round right in his backyard in Rome, Italy to win the world middleweight championship. Monzon would dominate the division for nearly the entire 70s, retiring for good undefeated as undisputed world champion.
On November 7, 1988, Sugar Ray Leonard made boxing history by winning his fourth and fifth world championships in as many weight divisions by stopping Canadian Donnie Lalonde for his WBC light heavyweight and the vacant then newly introduced WBC super middleweight titles.
Interestingly, the boxing bouts mentioned featured a young lion in Carlos Monzon and an aging lion in Sugar Leonard. And while Monzon proceeded to indelibly imprint his mark in the middleweight and boxing history, Leonard would see his boxing career floundering in his next bout, losing by a mile to the youthful Terry Norris in his return to the lower weights.
The Saitama bouts will see many firsts.
They will feature another Japanese boxing brothers, Naoya and Takuma Inoue, once again fighting in the same division since Masahiko aka Fighting and sibling Ishikawaru Harada back in the 60s.
The elder Fighting Harada who is now a Hall of Famer has been recognized by the Ring Magazine recently as the greatest fighter from Japan. Ishikawaru never attained anything but a world ranking in his career.
Of course, in the more recent past, there had also been the famous but controversial Kameda brothers, Daiki, Koki and Tomoki who all became world champions but not in the same divisions and simultaneously on a same event.
Tonight's bouts will potentially crown two brothers, one as unified champion recognized as the division's best for winning the WBSS finals and the prestigious Muhammad Ali trophy and one as the WBC world champion. If they both win, they will own 3/4 of the world titles with the WBO belt held by Zolani Tete as the only missing jewel. Only the Klitschko brothers were more successful when both are sharing all the world plums at the heavyweights practically for the entirety of the last decade.
Tonight's bout will either coronate a new world boxing superstar worthy of the best pound for pound fighter of the planet. Or reaffirm the greatness of an aging multi division champion in a greater manner that the now legendary Manny Pacquiao has done just last July.
History or histories will be made tonight regardless of the result especially in the main event.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
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