Print this article


World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Suwito Lagola

Posted on August 8, 2016                                              Bookmark and Share
By: Clive Baum



Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.


Reluctantly it must be said from the start, that, despite several hours of research, there are a lot of unclarity and uncertainties about the professional career of former two-time WBF World Welterweight Champion Suwito Lagola from Indonesia.

However, despite the lack of proper record-keeping in years gone by, it seems to be clear that in 1995 he was only the third Indonesian boxer to win a professional world championship, following Ellyas Pical (IBF Super Flyweight, 1985-1989) and Nico Thomas (IBF Minimumweight, 1989).

A street-fighter as a kid, Lagola turned to boxing as a teenager when he joined a club in Binjai, and it also appears a fact that he had a decent amateur career before turning professional, winning the North Sumatra regional championships in 1986.

But while some reports claim he switched to the pro ranks in 1990, just four years after first entering a boxing gym, others say that he only had four paid bouts and that the first of those was his WBF world title-challenge against William Magahin in October of 1995.

Most likely he did have pro fights before challenging Southpaw Filipino Magahin (18-5-1) on October 21, 1995 in Medan, the capital of Indonesia´s North Sumatra Province. It seems unlikely that he, as a debutant, would be approved to challenge a good champion making his second title-defense.

In any case, Lagola fought a near perfect fight against Magahin, who had taken the title from Australian Jeff Malcolm with a clear unanimous decision seven months earlier, and squeezed a successful defense against American Erwin Villaver in between.

Nicknamed “The Black Mamba”, Magahin was a very accomplished and experienced operator with nine championship fights on his resume, but in front of his fellow countrymen Lagola fought as a man possessed and eventually stopped Maghin in the tenth round to become WBF world Welterweight champion.

What followed this great accomplishment is also something of a puzzle. Lagola was reportedly stripped of the title when failing to make a mandatory defense, and Magahin was reappointed champion. Magahin then lost the title to Jaime Lerma, from Texas, USA, in January 1996 in Manilla.

It was then decided that Lagola would be allowed a chance to reclaim his old crown against Lerma (21-2), and after some back and forth negotiations the fight was made for October 1, 1996 in Jakarta, with local backers providing enough money to persuade Lerma to come to Indonesia.

With large throngs of exited fans cheering him on, Lagola dethroned Lerma by decision after twelve rounds, and showed that, no matter what the actual story was concerning his professional experience, he was a true champion and world class fighter.

Six months later he entered the ring as defending world champion for the first time, at the Graha Purna Yudha Veterans Building in Jakarta, and again the opponent came from America in the form of gritty challenger Leroy Owens (14-14-3) from California.

While Owens record was barely mediocre after starting his career as a journeyman, he had put together five straight victories to earn his shot at Lagola on April 17, 1997. And, with high ranking special guests from Indonesian government and military at ringside, the lanky American proved a stern challenge.

Lagola appeared tight and nervous at times, but eventually found his rhythm and outworked Owens, who had superior reach and tried to keep the fight at a distance. In the fourth round Owens was administered a standing eight count after a left hook from Lagola wobbled him, but he managed to weather the storm and last the distance.

It was not the best of performances from Lagola, but there was no doubt that he deserved the victory. Judges Ces Perkins from Australia, Winay Poporn from Thailand and Jafar Umar from Indonesia scored the bout 118-111, 118-110 and 117-110 respectively in his favor.

His fame growing, Logola looked to be heading for a bright future. All sorts of prominent people had pledged their support to him, from promoters to government officials, and few, if anybody, had imagined that his second title defense would be his last.

He didn’t lose the WBF world title, as he managed to hold on to it with an uninspired draw against Australian underdog Danny “Boy” Pierece (10-6) in December of 1997 in Jakarta, but it would in fact be his last fight. Disgruntled with broken promises, he decided to retire as world champion and in his prime.

Heartbroken because he felt he was being used as a money-spinner by promoters and Indonesian leaders, Lagola moved to the countryside of Langkat and established himself as a rubber farmer, living peacefully with his wife and three children.

It is claimed that he felt so betrayed by boxing that he burned all medals, certificates and trophy’s he won during his career, but he hasn’t distanced himself completely from the sport. He trains young men in his spare-time, including his son Aa, whom he hopes will follow in his footsteps as a world champion.

  Part 31: Aaron Zarate
  Part 30: Tommy Small
  Part 29: Matthew Charleston
  Part 28: Jane Couch
  Part 27: Fahlan Sakkreerin
  Part 26: Kenny Keene
  Part 25: Yvan Mendy
  Part 24: Ronnie Magramo
  Part 23: Randall Yonker
  Part 22: Holly Holm
  Part 21: Vinnie Curto
  Part 20: Robin Reid
  Part 19: Lionel Butler
  Part 18: Mads Larsen
  Part 17: Ken Sigurani
  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
  Part 15: Roger Turner
  Part 14: Roy Jones Jr.
  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson
| HOME |













Copyright © wbf -  all rights reserved     |     world boxing federation     |     |     webdesign by f.j.e.e.k. 2009     |