I looked up the results-it was the Yugoslav Open, November 1975.
Huang, a complete unknown in Europe, beat (in the team competition):-
Jochen Leiss (11,10)
Wilfred Lieck (9,9)
Stellan Bengtsson (14,4)
Kjell Johansson (4,12)
Dragutin Surbek (19,11)
Anton Stipancic (8,15)
Jaroslav Kunz (12,7,18)
Milivoy Karakasevic (8,14,17)
before losing in the semis to Guo Yuehua, 1-3
The reporter writes:-
'All failed to fathom the newcomer's service and defensive variations. As soon as they pushed he had the ability to leap very fast or smash it like any good attacking player.
His racket on the BH side had long, thin, yet small, soft pimples, completely different to any used in Europe, and under this rubber was a 1mm layer of white sponge.The forehand side appeared to be some sort of Chinese reversed rubber with 1mm. sponge and he consistently changed the racket around during the rally.'
and here's Tim Boggan writing about the same event:-
'China I won the Men’s Teams, beating Yugoslavia 3-2. “The most striking thing about the tournament,” Danny (Seemiller) said, “was watching Huang Liang play.” He’s “this unbelievable Chinese chopper with that new Tientsin rubber….[He] made everybody look ridiculous. I mean really ridiculous—he annihilated Surbek and Johansson under 10 and had Bengtsson 15-1 one game [Surbek later said he did better against him the second time]. An unbelievably weird sponge he had. No one could read the spin on his serves. No one could bring back the ball. Match after match was just a joke because there was no way to play against this guy.”
Zdenko Uzorinac (TTT, Mar.-Apr., 1976, 2) said Huang had “caused such sensational confusion” that aficionados were saying “they’d seen nothing like it since the appearance of the sponge racket. Huang disposed of the best European aces by such lopsided scores that it was positively unbelievable—likely never before matched in the history of our sport.”
So, who is this Huang Liang? Zdenko says, he’s “21-years old, is a teacher of physical culture in Honan Province in the north of China. He made his international debut this year….He has an orthodox style…, and (it is not believable!) practices only three times a week. In the ’75 All-China Championships he was #5.”
“…Huang is a phenomenal defensive player with a sudden forehand kill. He has an extraordinary backhand service (with full rotation), and when his opponents almost invariably make mistakes, like setting up the ball, he immediately wins the point—if need be with a quick put-away. He is very fast on his feet and his defense is rock-solid. Often he will strategically change the different sides of his racket to induce the high ball that will allow him to use his strong smash.”
“Most people think that Huang’s success is due as much to his table tennis knowledge and fantastic defense as it is to ‘cheating’ with his very special racket.” Zoltan Berczik, former European Champion and Coach of Hungary’s World Champions, said, “I was a chopper, a defender, and…Huang is a splendid chopper: he can cut the ball in 4 different ways—which is rare indeed.” Of course everyone in Ljubljana wanted repeatedly to touch, to examine Huang’s red racket, “and the Chinese had not the slightest objection to this.”
It’s a perfectly legal racket, of special Chinese make. “On the forehand side the racket has a smooth hard surface, but on the backhand side the racket is soft. The pip ridges are very high, can easily be pushed aside, and are very soft so that the ball will simply enter between them. Since Huang is very fast changing his racket sides, and since each side is decidedly different, players are confused by the different rotation of the ball as it comes back to them. [Since the two sides from an-across-the-table distance look the same, the opponent]…never knows which side has been struck, and so makes mistake after mistake.”
“The Chinese have not slept,” said Milan Orlowski, Europe’s #2. “Only 9 months after Calcutta they’ve produced a new service, a short block of their opponent’s drive—and miraculous Huang Liang!”
However, the winner of the Men’s Singles was not Huang, but another Chinese, Guo Yuehua, who downed Huang 18 in the 4th in the semi’s, and who for the next six years will be the world’s dominant player.'