STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART VI: SMALL MONTANA, ONE OF THE BEST TEN FILIPINO BOXERS BY ESPN
By Maloney L. Samaco
Sun, 05 Apr 2020
Small Montana was born Benjamin Gan and was one of the world boxing champions from the Philippines. Montana stood 5 feet and 4 inch tall and did not weigh more than 112 pounds.
He won the Flyweight Championship of the World as recognized by New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) which spearheaded the formation of the World Boxing Council.
Montana was described as a scrappy, busy fighter and was very quick. He was not considered as a power puncher though but was speedy and clever. He scored just 11 knockouts in 113 career fights. He won 81 of his 113 professional fights with 22 defeats and 2 KO losses and 10 draws, according to Boxrec.com.
He was identified as one of the best ten Filipino boxers and described by Marty Mulcahey of ESPN: "A chiseled body belied the light punching stylist's real talent."
Benjamin Gan was born in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, Philippines, on February 24, 1913, a son of the local chief of police. He was of Chinese descent. He always carried a photo of the legendary Pancho Villa in his wallet as his inspiration.
He changed his name to Small Montana meaning "little mountain" and fled from home to engage in professional prizefighting in 1931. He won the American flyweight championship considered that time by the NYSAC as world flyweight title by beating Midget Wolgast on points in September 16, 1935.
He also went abroad to vie for the National Boxing Association world flyweight title, which he lost to Benny Lynch by a close decision in a 15 round bout in London on January 9, 1937. This was the first time in 10 years that the NBA and NYSAC world flyweight titles had been unified.
Their National Boxing Association (NBA) world flyweight championship fight was held at Wembley Stadium. The NBA was later renamed World Boxing Association (WBA). Lynch is widely regarded as one of Britain's finest boxers. Born in Glasgow, he was Scotland's first ever world boxing champion.
During his professional career he fought fellow Filipinos Little Dado and Little Pancho, the half-brother of Francisco Guilledo a. k. a Pancho Villa, but lost to both of them on points.
He defeated notable fighters Manuel Ortiz, Midget Wolgast, Tony Marino, Joe Tei Ken, Speedy Dado, Tommy Forte, Augie Curtis, Pat Palmer, Frankie Jarr, Eugene "Tuffy" Pierpont and Antol "Tony" Kocsis.
Montana retired in 1941. He died in August 4, 1976 at the age of 63.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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