Editorials

Ranking the Top 10 Asian Boxers of All Time

10. Flash Elorde

Gabriel Flash Elorde - Getty Images

Years Active: 1951-1971

Professional Record: 89-27-2, 33 KOs.

Titles: World Junior Lightweight Champion 1960-1967

A talented and highly-skilled southpaw who had fast hands and good footwork, Gabriel “Flash” Elorde dominated the junior lightweight division for seven years and still holds the record for the longest reign in the division’s history.

Elorde was quickly thrusted into the ring and turned professional at the age of sixteen. He lost eight of his first 18 fights before finally coming into his own. He was able to win the national bantamweight title within his first year of fighting. His southpaw stance, quick hands and relentless body attack proved too much for most of his opponents.

In perhaps his most signature win, Elorde outpointed all-time great featherweight champion Sandy Saddler in 1955 in a non-title bout.

In 1956, the rematch was fought with Saddler’s featherweight title on the line. Elorde was winning this fight as well. In the 13th round, however, Elorde suffered a cut on his eye and lost the fight by TKO.

Many observers criticized Saddler, who was notoriously known as a rough and dirty fighter, for using dirty tactics to induce the cut on Elorde because he was losing on points.

It took another four years before Flash received another shot at a world title. He moved up in weight and annexed the world super featherweight title on March 16, 1960 by knocking out Harold Gomes in seven rounds.

He defended the crown 10 times until June 15, 1967 when Japanese challenger Yoshiaki Numata beat him by majority decision. His title reign as world junior lightweight champion was the longest ever (seven years and three months).

Elorde also challenged hall-of-famer, Carlos Ortiz for his world lightweight title on two occasions. They were gallant, but losing efforts as Ortiz stopped Elorde both times in the 14th round.

The World Boxing Council (WBC) named Elorde the greatest super featherweight champion of all time. He became the first Asian inducted into the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993. He was also enshrined into the World Boxing Hall of Fame.

The Ring Magazine’s writers voted Elorde the 78th best fighter of all time in 2002 when they listed the 80 greatest fighters of the last 80 years.

Photo by Getty Images

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