When Koki Eto defeated Kompayak Porpramook in a thriller on August 1st Eto became the first Japanese born fighter to win a world title fight in Thailand.
On September 3rd, just weeks later, Nobuo Nashiro (19-5-1, 13) looks to repeat the trick as he travels to Bangkok to take on Thai veteran Denkaosan Kaovichit (61-3-1, 26) for the WBA "interim" Super Flyweight title.
Although both men have very different looking records they are both former world champions and have both only ever lost in bouts for world titles, a rather staggering fact.
The Thai, a former WBA Flyweight champion, is by far the more experienced fighter. He not only has 65 bouts under his belt, but he has been a professional since 1996 and fought in a staggering 536 professional rounds. Like many Thai's however many of those bouts have come against weak opponents as he's traded on quantity of opponents as opposed to quality.
On his debut Kaovichit claimed the PABA Flyweight title and after defending it for almost 6 years he fight in his first world title bout. Unfortunately for Kaovichit he had to travel to the USA to face then then WBA Flyweight champion Eric Morel. Despite putting up a good challenge Kaovichit was stopped in the penultimate round by the Puerto Rican after being dropped earlier in the round.
Kaovichit would have to wait 5 more years for his second title bout. This time he'd be controversially denied a victory as he fought to a draw with Takefumi Sakata, against for the WBA Flyweight title. Although many had Kaovichit winning he was deducted a point with just seconds left that saw him held to a split decision draw.
It was 3rd time lucky just a year later as he faced Sakata in a rematch and stopped the Japanese fighter in 2 rounds for the title. After a couple of close defenses Kaovichit would lose the title to Daiki Kameda and suffering his second defeat.
Since the loss to Kameda, Kaovichit has faced limited opponents with the only one of note being Luis Concepcion, a man who genuinely destroyed Kaovhicit in a WBA interim title bout. Kaovichit was dropped 3 times in just 90 seconds before the referee waved off the contest.
Nashiro is significantly younger in every which way than the Thai. He's 5 years younger in terms or "real age", with just 25 professional contests he's had less than half of the bouts of Kaovichit and with just 190 rounds to his name there is more than 340 rounds of difference.
Despite the relative "inexperience" of Nashiro he's a certified world level fighter. He was rushed to a world title world title fight and amazingly won the WBA Super Flyweight title in just his 8th contest defeating the experienced Martin Castillo for the title.
Unfortunately Nashiro's reign didn't last long and he would lose the title in a notable upset to Alexander Munoz less than a year after winning it. Despite the loss to Munoz it wasn't long until he reclaimed the title winning the vacant belt in a narrow victory over Kohei Kono.
Sadly Nashiro's second reign was no better than his first and he would lose the belt in his 3rd defense being beaten by Hugo Fidel Cazares of Mexico. Since the loss to Cazares, Nashiro has lost 3 more world title fights being out pointed by Tomas Rojas, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai and Tepparith Kokietgym. Unfortunately those 3 losses have been only notable bouts following the Cazares bout.
At Flyweight Kaovichit was a strong willed fighter, as most Thai's are. He wasn't the cutest in the ring or the biggest banger but he had enough power to hurt opponents if he caught them clean and had the tenacity to grind down opponents. Unfortunately as well as lacking KO power he also lacked the world class durability that could well have helped to make him a star. Offensively he was reckless, especially with his right hand but you seemed to always be in for some excitement when he was in the ring.
Unfortunately Kaovichit, as we found out against Concepcion, is starting to pay for his long career with diminished punch resistance. Concepcion is, admittedly, one of the hardest hitters in the lower divisions but every punch seemed to send Kaovichit in to panic mode, perhaps signalling that he's a done fighter in, and around the world title scene.
Nashiro is one of boxing's enigma's. At his best he's a nightmare for anyone. Hard working, impossible to discourage and he hits hard enough to make any fighter think twice. He can be out boxed and out worked but he will never be out toughed, in fact it'll be a long time before anyone can out tough him.
Whilst Nashiro is prototype hard man in the ring he does have several notable issues. He's flat footed, his hands aren't the quickest and he can be made to look one dimensional by a pure boxer type. He won't give anyone an easy night but he also lacks the concussive power to make his own nights easy at the world level.
Whilst Japanese fighters have always had poor fortunes in Thailand it's hard to see Nashiro losing to this version of Kaovishit. In their prime it would have been a great fight but right now a naturally bigger, stronger, younger, fresher Nashiro just seems too likely to wear down Kaovichit. The way to beat Nashiro is by using your legs and movement to stay away from him, and at 36 it's hard to imagine Kaovichit's legs having the spring and energy in them to keep him safe for 12 rounds.