By Joe Kozumi
I have just read through a fantastic elaboration—a biography titled “EDER JOFRE Brazil’s First Boxing World Champion” written by Christopher J. Smith. It was lately published by Win By KO Publications in Iowa city, IA. It is of no less than 605 pages with a great many pictures of Eder Jofre.
The very first part I rushed to read was a description on a non-title affair between NBA world bantamweight champion Jofre and world #2 ranked flyweight Sadao Yaoita in Sao Paulo in 1961. It was reported uncrowned champ Yaoita, our Japanese national hero who had inflicted the first defeat to world flyweight titlist Pascual Perez in 1959, showed a good performance, but was finally caught and finished by the hard-punching champ Eder, still young at twenty-five climbing up to his prime years later. Since we, Japanese fans, couldn’t see any footage of this bout, we could only imagine the processing of the fight with a short report from Brazil and suppose the spectacular strength of the winner Eder.
The next I hurriedly read with great interest was an article on the historical but already forgotten matchup of Eder Jofre defending his second world belt in the featherweight division against once formidable Vicente Saldivar that took place in Salvador, Brazil, in 1971. It resulted in Jofre’s rather quick fourth round knockout victory. Had it been held in Las Vegas today, it might have been a mega superfight such as Hagler versus Leonard. I am really satisfied with the fully detailed description of this greatly anticipated encounter of the two legends.
Then, this boxing-addict started reading from the first page, and realized that there were tremendously rare and important pictures of Eder since his childhood along with his father/trainer Aristides “Kid” Jofre. Eder’s encounter with boxing was very fortunate under the special circumstances of the boxing family (with uncles being amateur or professional boxers while his aunt Olga was a female wrestler). As Eder learnt how to box, his father Aristides also grew up as an ever-improving hander. Their process of progress was described in complete detail, which must attract avid boxing fans without doubt. Also, I was amazed to watch Jofre’s beautifully well-balanced fighting scenes in all pictures. He was dynamic and beautiful as a boxer.
It was in real time that I watched Eder Jofre fight in Japan three times—against Katsutoshi Aoki in 1963 and Fighting Harada twice in 1965 and 1966. After his Aoki bout, the Golden Bantam was regarded in Japan as a monster, too powerful and too tight in defense beyond the international level in 1960’s. We deeply realized that Jofre, Harada and Mexican counterpuncher Jose Medel were contemporary rivals as Jofre 2-2, Harada 3-1 and Medel 1-3. We, young aficionados, used to talk on boxing from morning till night, discussed their strength and presented our predictions each other on our way to school. I was an enthusiastic Medel fan, and even now. Our boyhood chatting eventually produced Joe Koizumi.
It is really incredible that the author Christopher J. Smith spent a great deal of time and effort in researching such precise details shown in Round By Round in all footsteps of Eder Jofre. Without sufficient and substantial background and history in boxing, Brazil produced such an almost peerless champion as “O Galo De Ouro” Jofre. It was truly amazing.
It was “Golden Bantam” Eder Jofre that left his very excellent credentials of 72-2-4 with 50 KOs. Also, Eder registered all eight successful defenses by knockouts as the bantamweight champ including his NBA reign: Piero Rollo (RTD 9), Ramon Arias (TKO 7), Johnny Caldwell (TKO 10) in a unification bout, Herman Marquez (TKO 10), Jose Medel (KO 6), Katsutoshi Aoki (KO 3), Johnny Jamito (RTD 11) and Bernardo Caraballo (KO 7). Plus, another successful defense by knockout over Vicent Saldivar (KO 4) as the featherweight kingpin. His name still shines in boxing history.
Christopher J. Smith, you have done a great work. I, as a reader of this masterpiece, also deeply appreciate great cooperation and contributions of people concerned, of course, including Eder Jofre himself, his family and Brazilian/international boxing fraternity.