Kaovichit entered the bout as the interim champion and WBA #1 ranked fighter though never looked like a really top contender in one of boxing's stronger divisions despite his speed. The Japanese fighter knew his own strengths and refused to go into a brawl with the Thai, instead he played on his own patience and accuracy to allow him to land notable right hands against an often busier Thai.
One such right hand came in round 4 when Kono detonated with a perfectly timed shot which dropped the Thai hard. Although not a puncher by trade Kono has got the power to hurt people and it seemed obvious that Kaovichit had under-rated the power of Kono.
The Thai took the knock down as a lesson and in rounds 5 and 6 he came back strong winning both of them and re-establishing himself in the fight. It was however just a respite for the 37 year old Thai who was again being forced to take solid single shots.
In round 8 a Kono attack was finished with a devastating right hand which left the Thai down haunched on all 4. This time Kaovichit couldn't beat the count and Raul Caiz Jr knew that the end had come. At 37 and with his third stoppage defeat, we hope Kaovichit also realises that he's at the end of the line. He's still talented but at the world level he just doesn't quite cut it any more, a long career has taken it's toll and he probably needs to either retire, or go on the Thai circuit with the televised mismatches (see Pongsaklek Wonjongkam's recent bouts).
For Kono this is a climb back to the top of the mountain an a chance for him to chase a dream fight with Koki Kameda, a fight Kono has called for several times in the past few months. At 33 however the champion will know he doesn't have long left at the top either and that if a fight with Kono can't be made he should be looking for the biggest fights he can get.
(Photo courtesy of boxingnews.jp)