Whilst some countries have age limits others don't and, given there are more titles than ever, there is an inkling that we may one day see that record broken.
One such fighter who may have his eyes on that record is Saenganan KKP (11-0, 6) who recently claimed his second professional title whilst aged less than 15 years and 6 months.
The title Saenganan claimed recently was only the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental bantamweight title, which he added to his Light Flyweight title of the same distinction, but it's still an incredibly achievement for a kid who is quickly attracting a lot of attention in Thailand.
Born in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand, on December 13th 1999 Saenganan first fought as a professional boxer back in May 2013, aged just 13! On his debut he stopped fellow debutant Yodmongkol Sor Kaenjai in 2 rounds to begin his career with a stoppage.
Within 15 months of his debut Saenganan had advanced his record to 6-0 (5) with all 6 wins coming against either debutants or fighters with incomplete records on boxrec, either is possible given the Thai boxing scene.
| || |
It was in Saenganan's 7th bout as a professional, which took place last August, that we got our first look at the youngster. Saengnan, fightign for the 5th time in 2014 alone, was facing off against Indonesian journeyman Domi Nenokeba in what was a huge step up for teenager.
We'll admit the first time we watched him we weren't that impressed, especially given that Saenganan was dropped in round 3. There was skill there but it helped that Nenokeba didn't really appear to want to win the fight, except in the early stages of the 3rd round, and instead took his loss like a good journeymen who was happy to go through the motions and pick up the defeat en route to being invited back to Thailand and repeat the process with another novice.
On watching the footage again we'll admit that we were originally quite harsh on Saenganan who did actually show quite a lot of ability, composed himself well following the knockdown and got back to his boxing. He showed a maturity than many much older fighters don't have and, in fairness, he got up from an absolute howitzer from Nenokeba.
The fight with Nenokeba wasn't punch perfect, but for a 14 year old, fighting on national TV against an experienced professional and fully grown man it was a solid performance.
Amazingly Saenganan was back in the ring just 3 weeks later as he took on Filipino foe Wilber Andogan in a bout for the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title. This was Saengnan's first title bout and his first bout scheduled for more than 6 rounds. It was also a bout where the visitor came to win rather than just make up the numbers.
It was again a bout that we weren't impressed by on first sight but, in reflection, it was a huge step up and a huge learning experience for the youngster who was now forced to learn how to pace himself. It's an important lesson for any fighter but for one as young as Saenganan this lesson was particularly vital and was part of the maturing as a fighter. It's far too easy as a youngster to feel like there is more in the tank and get over-excited and learning to pace himself at such a young age will have served him so well in the long run. It will also have served him really well to have had such a competitive contest.
| || |
The most recent fight of Saenganan's that we've seen came last November when he battled against Indonesian visitor Joni Mandagi. This bout was a defense of his WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Light Flyweight title and came just a few weeks before his 15th birthday.
It seemed, watching this one, that Saenganan knew he could handle his opponents best shots and as a result neglected some of his usually decent defensive work. Instead he was focusing on trying to finish off the visitor as quickly as he could. Unfortunately the ending was anti-climatic, with Mandagi refusing to come out for round 4, but it was an exciting performance by the young Thai.
Saenganan has fought twice since the win over Mandagi though unfortunately neither of the fights appears to have appeared on the internet, that includes his win over Danilo Gabisay. Despite not seeing that bout we do know that it was competitive with out Thai sources informing us that the scores were 116-112,117-111 and 115-113, all in favour of the Thai who became a 2-weight WBC ABC Continental champion as a result.
As many will know Thailand is a world unto it's self when it comes to boxing and with so many young kids turning to combat sports there is every chance that it will be a Thai who eventually breaks the youngest world champion record. Likewise we could end up seeing records for the longest winning streak being set in the country, in fact one Thai is on an active winning streak of over 50 bouts. Other records might not be as easy but in boxing's "wild west" we may well see some funny things happening in the near future.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com videos all courtesy of tko.in.th)