Sot Chitalada, 1983-1992, 25-4-1 (16 KOs)
Titles: WBC flyweight (October 8, 1984-July 24, 1988 and June 3, 1989-February 15, 1991)
First Full Year of IBHOF Eligibility: 1998
Chitalada (birth name Chawalit Wongcharoen) dramatically vaulted onto the world stage in March 1984 by taking heavily-favored WBC junior flyweight champion Jung Koo Chang 12 hard rounds before losing a competitive decision. More amazingly, the Chang bout was just Chitalada’s fifth western-style boxing contest.
Seven months and three fights later, Chitalada moved up to 112 pounds and out-boxed WBC titlist Gabriel Bernal over 12 rounds. Throughout his two title reigns spanning six-and-a-half years, Chitalada blended flashy boxing skills that inspired some to dub him the “Ali of the Orient” with uncommon punching power that saw him score more than his fair share of knockdowns, if not knockouts.
Points in His Favor: Chitalada maintained his elite status for nearly seven years, amassing 10 defenses over two reigns. This is particularly impressive due to Chitalada’s notorious struggles with weight throughout his tenure. He avenged his loss to Chang via majority decision in a stirring November 1990 rematch and unlike most Asian champions Chitalada was willing to risk his crown on the road. He beat ex-champ Charlie Magri (KO 4) in England, two-division titlist Freddy Castillo (W 12) in Kuwait, undefeated Japanese Hideaki Kamishiro (KO 7) in Tokyo, Jamaican Richard “Shrimpy” Clarke (KO 11) in Kingston and South Korean Chang (W 12) in Seoul.
What Hurts His Cause: His decision defeat to 16-0 Yong-Kang Kim was considered a huge upset at the time, but Chitalada’s claims of weight-making sluggishness were vindicated in the rematch nearly 11 months later, which Chitalada won a close but justified split decision in Kim’s back yard of Seoul.
Chitalada also had a shaky chin; Bernal scored two knockdowns in the second of their three fights (which ended in a highly controversial draw) and Muangchai Kittikasem scored two crushing knockout victories, the last of which retired Chitalada for good.