Round 12: Immortal flyweight division

By Mauricio Sulaiman
Son of Jose Sulaiman / WBC President

After an unbelievable heavyweight title fight this past Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, in which Tyson Fury conquered the WBC Green and Gold belt, stopping Deontay Wilder in the 7th round in a fight which will go down as one of the greatest of recent years, the overall event is now the candidate of the year.

The atmosphere throughout the week was massive. The world-wide media coverage and electric atmosphere all around made us all remember the glory days from the 80’s and 90’s when Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Lennox Lewis fought. It was precisely one of the highlights of the event to see those three legends in the ring together prior to the main event to receive a WBC award.

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With February 29th just around the corner, when Mexican Rey Martinez defends his WBC flyweight world crown against Welshman Jay Harris in Frisco, Texas, we have been recalling and remembering elite fighters who have made history during the 57 years of the World Boxing Council in the flyweight division.

We still do not know if Julio César Martínez will become a legend, but for now, with what we have seen, many fans have high hopes for him.

In fact, he won the belt on his first title attempt, but the controversial stoppage win against Charlie Edwards, on August 31st of last year, in London, England, was immediately reversed by The WBC after using the instant replay rule and the fight was ruled a “no decision.”

During his second title fight, he left absolutely no doubt. On December 20th, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, he was crowned WBC champion by defeating former WBC champion, Nicaraguan Cristofer Rosales, with an impressive TKO stoppage.
We reiterate – if the Mexican KO artist maintains his impressive stoppage rate, and shapes a convincing career, leaving his mark, then comparisons with other champions recognized by the WBC will be inevitable. And of course, very interesting aspects will arise from all those who like records, statistics and, above all, memorable fights that have happened since our foundation in 1963.

In my opinion, there are at least half a dozen immortals in this division, and many others, who are distinguished for having special talent.

We think of Miguel Canto, who was master of ring generalship and amounted 15 title defenses, Filipino Manny Pacquiao, who conquered the WBC flyweight to begin his legendary career, Thai Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, who defended his WBC crown 18 times, Venezuelan Betulio González, Japanese Hiroyuki Ebihara, and Russian Yuri Arbachakov, who was the first world champion from Russia in professional boxing. These six legends etched unforgettable chapters in flyweight divisional history.

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For many years it was considered the lightest boxing weight category as it is one of the eight original ones, then The WBC created the light flyweight and minimum weight categories.

We mention some, but not necessarily in hierarchical order, but as they appeared in my memory; fighting artists of rare technical quality, tremendous punchers, capable of thrilling and entertain crowds. Boxers who established an era, and with stunning good reason.

And of course, we must not forget other great fighters who, for many, can be compared with those already mentioned, because we already know that there are different tastes and criteria as well their accomplishments in different weight categories.

For example, who can forget legendary Mexican Jorge “Travieso” Arce, who is regarded as one of the toughest fighters with a legendary career, or Efren “Alacrán” Torres, who gave boxing one the greatest fights of all time against Chatchai Chionoi.

They gave us both classic and memorable fights. We recall Thai superstar Chartchai Chionoi, the Filipino Erbito Salavarria, Japanese Shoji Oguma, and the South Korean Chan-Hee Park, Thai Sot Chitalada.

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I didn’t forget Nicaraguan Román González, but as he is still active, he is still building his legacy in boxing.

I appreciate any comments, ideas or recommendations at contact@wbcboxing.com.

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