The Flyweight division has had a major makeover in the last 12 months, with fighters like Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco abandoning the division to chase glories at Super Flyweight whilst likes like Daigo Higa and Muhammad Waseem have emerged as key hopefuls going forward. Due to the shake ups we've seen several titles become vacant an on November 5th we see one of those vacancies being filled, as Chinese star Zou shiming (8-1, 2) takes on Thai veteran Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym (39-1-2, 24), for the WBO title in a rematch that no one really wanted.
For those with half decent memories they may remember that these two men, now both 35 years old, fought back in 2014. In that bout Shiming dominated Kwanpichit, coming close to an opening round stoppage before ultimate winning a decision with scores of 120-103 and 119-106, twice. Since that bout Kwanpichit has gone unbeaten, winning 12 in a row all by stoppage, though has been matched ridiculously softly whilst claiming and defending the WBO Oriental title, to boost his ranking. Shiming on the other hand has gone 2-1 (1), being much less active but fighting at a higher level, with a loss to the then IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng.
On paper the win over Kwanpichit back in 2014 is Shiming's best victory to date, and goes along with a decent win over Luis De la Rosa. That's not saying a lot when you look at the depth of the Flyweight division, with a combination of stars like Kazuto Ioka, prospects like Iwan Zoda, veteran's like Takuya Kogawa and rising former champions like Donnie Nietes, but they are solid contender type wins. Whilst his best wins as a professional haven't been great he is a fantastic boxer, a former amateur star and a talented speedy boxer. Unfortunately his style is still rooted in his amateur style, rather than progressing into a more professional style, and he's still showing real flaws in sitting down on his punches and finishing opponents off, something that was clear last time out against the awful Jozsef Ajtai.
At his best Shiming is a skilled speedster. It's simplifying things a bit, but he really a skilled speedster. Sadly his lack of power, inability to cut the ring off, unwillingness to sit on his punches and lack of extra gear, along with his age, are all going to stop him from becoming a star. That has been made even harder for him due to the expectation on his shoulders courtesy of Top Rank and HBO, who raved about him from his debut but have yet to see him deliver, and at 35 he's in “now or never” land.
Kwanpichit, now listed on boxrec by his birth name of Prasitsak Papoem rather than his fighting name, looks like a man with an incredible record on paper. Even more so when you consider he is 13-1-1 in title fights, and a 2-weight WBO Oriental champion. Sadly though looking through his competition it's a very padded record and there is a specific fighter with a 4-0 (3) record in the division who is far more proven than Kwanpichit. Notably he is 0-1 outside of Thailand and has struggled at times at home, with a very fortunate result 3 years ago against Ben Mananquil and another lucky one against Jayar Estremos, a Filipino journeyman. It's fair to sat he is 12-0 (12) since losing to Shiming but those opponents had a combined 113-99-13 which sums up the level he has been fighting at pretty fairly.
In the ring Kwanpichit isn't actually terrible. He's not a world class Flyweight, but he's not terrible and can fight a bit, he's tough, with a good engine. Unfortunately he's a bit basic and does nothing in an outstanding manner, he's a very slow starter and whilst he is game he could, very easily, have had two opening round stoppages against his name, including one to Shiming. Despite being a slow started he does grow into fights, as he showed against Shiming, and if he's improved he might be able to give Shiming a better test than last time out.
Whilst we think Kwanpichit might be a better test than last time, it's hard to see anything but a win for the Chinese star. Whether that's an early stoppage, with Kwanpichit's early vulnerabilities being jumped on, or a wide decision, with Kwanpichit lasting to the final bell, is hard to predict but it's very hard to see how Kwanpichit wins here. As a result we suspect Shiming will become China's second world champion, the first to be crowned on foreign soil. Unfortunately for him it's unlikely his reign will last long with the sharks, such as Nietes and and Francisco Rodriguez, Jr., already circling the title belt.
(Image courtesy of The Champion - Thailand)
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.