Boxing hotspots around the worldWritten by DeMarkus Jones
Here in America we love our sports, especially boxing.
We believe boxing is best here but accept Mexico and the U.K. as our pugilistic rivals. Although boxing is quite popular in those places there are so many other corners of the globe where the Sweet Science is a sport of choice. Here are just a few to chew on.
The Land of the Rising Sun is known for its martial arts culture. Karate, MMA, Kickboxing and even Professional Wrestling are huge in Japan. However, we must not forget the huge contributions they have made to the sport of boxing as well. From recent fighters, such as Naoya Inoue and Toshiaki Nishioka to legends like Fighting Harada or Jiro Watanbe, boxing is hugely popular in Japan.
There are even Manga (Japanese comics) dedicated to boxing. Two of the most popular are Ashita no Joe and Hajime no Ippo. Starting with the 'Father of Japanese Boxing,' Yujiro Watanabe, Japan has produced over 100 world champions. When mentioning boxing popularity, we must include Japan.
The African Continent
Surprising even to me, Africa has a hugely popular boxing market. When thinking of African sports, one probably doesn't think about boxing but you should. The continent has produced legends such as the great Azumah Nelson, Dick Tiger and Ike Quartey along with many other success stories like Corrie Sanders, John Mugabi, Phillip N'Dou and so many more.
HBO's Jim Lampley once suggested that South Africa was hidden treasure in boxing and we should start broadcasting more shows there. I believe he was on to something.
Thailand is mainly known for their combat sport of choice, Muay Thai or the 'Science of Eight Limbs,' which combines punching with kicks, elbows and knees. However, Thai fighters have enjoyed success in boxing as well. Legend Khaosai Galaxy, a talented Muay Thai fighter, made the jump to pro boxing and was a major success, winning the WBA Super Flyweight title and defending it 19 times.
Samart Payakaroon is another one of those success stories. Considered by many as the greatest Muay Thai fighter of all time, Samart also made the jump to boxing, winning the WBC Junior Featherweight title via a KO over boxing great Lupe Pintor. With the need for a solid boxing game becoming more apparent in other combat sports, many fighters are travelling to Thailand to sharpen their technique.
There are so many other places where boxing is a premier sport such as the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Russia, Australia, Canada and Ireland.
The globalization of the Sweet Science continues...
My name is DeMarkus Jones and I am an amatuer boxer, trained in MuayThai and a 3rd degree black belt in Karate. I am a combat sports enthusiast and historian residing in Houston, Texas. If I'm not watching boxing or reading about boxing, I am probably in the gym myself.