Over the last few years the Light Flyweight division has been red hot. It has simply been on fire with great fights, amazing match ups, fighters at the top taking on legitimate contenders and whilst we have lacked unification bouts we've never felt like the division was on a stand still, like we see with some other divisions. Contenders aren't being frozen out, but are getting shots, thanks to the activity and mentality of the champions, who all want to improve their standing in the sport. For today's closest classic we roll back to 2011 for maybe the best Light Flyweight bout of the last decade, and one of the best bouts of the last decade, full stop.
Kompayak Porpramook (43-3, 29) Vs Adrian Hernandez (22-1-1, 14) I
It's December 23rd 2011, just days from Crhistmas and WBC Light Flyweight champion Adrian Hernandez, who would later fighter Naoya Inoue, was looking to make his second defense of the title. He had won the belt less than 8 months earlier, stopping Gilberto Keb Baas and had made his first defense in September, stopping Gideon Buthelezi. He had looked like the new rising star of Mexican boxing at the weight. He was more than 3 years removed from his sole loss and looked like he was going to be a major player in the division.
Kompayak on the other hand was a relative unknown outside of Asia. Like many Thai he had a great looking record, a throw back record if you will, but you'd have been hard pushed to have recognised many of his opponents up to this point. They were, for the most part, the mixture of Thai and Indonesian journeymen that did the Thai circuit, and Hussein Hussein, who stopped Kompayakin 4 rounds. Even those actively follow the Asian scene would have struggled to have picked out more than 10 of Kompayak's opponents, and of those 10 almost all, Hussein aside, would have been known as journeyman and losers. He had done nothing to deserve a shot at a world title, and it seemed as if the Mexican's team thought this would be an easy defense.
As we all know by now no bout in Thailand is easy, especially not a bout outdoors in the baking sun. The average mean temperature in Thailand in December is 26.5°C (79.7°F), add in the fact the humidity is around the mid 60's and the bout is outdoors and you have conditions weighed heavily against the visitor. Despite those conditions we got something special.
The fight started with Kompayak pressing the action and Hernandez responded. This was no typical opening round. This wasn't a feeling out round. Instead it was an action packed round that set the foundations for an hellacious back and forth brawl.
Round after round the two men would stand in the pocket and let shots go, fighting a truly scary tempo given the conditions, and it wasn't just Kompayak pressing forward, with Hernandez giving just as good, if not better, than he was taking. It seemed as if the Mexican's confidence of beating the little known Thai drove him on, making him dig deeper and deeper to win what was supposed to be an easy bout.
As the bout went on both men refused to show signs of tiring, it was a war, a battle of attrition and eventually every was has a loser, with the battle and conditions finally taking their toll on one of the men.
Interestingly the two men would later have a rematch, less than a year later in Mexico. That rematch wasn't as good as this fight, it was another action packed war and well worth watching as well!
This coming weekend we'll see Japan's Koki Eto make his US debut, taking on Jeyvier Cintron, with that in mind we've decided that this week's Closet Classic should include the all action warrior from Okinawa. He's had a host of bouts to choose from, but we've gone with the most obvious choice, his 2013 Fight of the Year contender from Thailand. The bout put him on the map for those who follow the Asian scene and helped to really increase his profile among the lower weight fans. It also began a a run of amazing action fights for the SGS promoted fighter.
Koki Eto (13-2-1, 10) vs Kompayak Porpramook (50-4, 35)
To set the scene for this bout we need to actually go back a bit further in the careers of both men.
Koki Eto managed to put himself on the periphery in 2012, when he stopped the then world ranked Denchailek Kratingdaenggym at the Korakuen Hall. That win allowed him to be considered for WBA title matches, though he had to travel to get a shot at a belt. He would make the travel in 2013 travelling to Thailand to face Porpramook. With over 50 bouts to his name Porpramook was a true veteran and a former world champion at Light Flyweight, who won the title in a 10 round war with Adrian Hernandez in 2011 before losing a rematch and moving up weight.
Prior to beating Denchailek there wasn't much at all on Eto's record, with the only other bout of any note being his 2011 Thai debut, a narrow loss to Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym. He was expected to travel and put up a good performance en route to a loss to Kompayak. He however had different ideas and was looking to become the first Japanese fighter to win a world title in Thailand, even if it was only the WBA "interim" Flyweight title.
Porpramook was a tough old veteran, a warrior and a war monger. He went into the ring every fight looking to make a war and was unbeaten in Thailand for over a decade, having last lost at home in September 2009 to Filipino gate keeper Allana Ranada. Despite being 31 years old and with 54 fights to his name he was still regarded as a real contender, and seemed to be looking to extend his career with the move to 112lbs, no longer boiling down to Light Flyweight.
The fight didn't start like a typical bout, there was no feeling out round after the long introduction from the Thai's, something that we typically see when bouts are held on TV. Instead of a feeling out round we quickly got down to action with Eto originally looking to use his reach frame to fight at range. Porpramook had other ideas, applying pressure, coming forward and looking to make the fight into a war. Before the opening round was over Eto was obliging Porpramook, allowing the fight to be fought up close in sports, and landing his uppercut on a regular basis. The uppercuts Eto was landed looked like they could fell a horse but Porpramook ate the, and kept coming forward. The home fighter was hurt, and dropped, before the end of the opening round, with the referee ruling a slip before Eto himself slipped seconds before the bell.
From the first round things just got better and better and better and better. The action, which was intense to start with, intensified further. Each round becoming more brutally entertaining than the last, more physically damaging and demanding than it's predecessor. At times both men looked close to collapsing, spent from the 3 minutes of non stop action that came before it.
This is one of the rare bouts that gets better the longer it goes. The out put doesn't slow from either man, who dug insanely deep, though the footwork begins to vanish, leading the two men to trade incessantly in some of the back and forth action we've seen in years.
Please note - The bell to start the fight rings at 17:50 in this video, with the start of the video being the traditionally and over long Thai introductions.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features