The most recent of the notable match ups in the division happened earlier today when the wonderfully named Knockout CP Freshmart (10-0, 5) made the first defense of the WBA interim title that he won a few months ago when he defeated Carlos Buitrago. In the opposite corner to the 24 year old Thai was Indonesian veteran, and former 2-time world champion, Muhammad Rachman (65-12-5, 35) a divisional legend looking for a surprising return to the top at the age of 43.
On paper this was notable for 2 reasons. The fighters had a huge gulf in experience, with Rachman being massively more experienced in the sweet science, whilst Knokcout had a 19 year “youth” advantage and is widely seen as one of the most promising fighters in the division, in fact some may suggest he's the second most promising young fighter at 105lbs, only behind super talent Kosei Tanaka.
In the ring, unfortunately, the gulf in age was what told with Knockout being too young, fresh and fast for his ancient opponent who struggled to cope with the tempo of Knockout who started fast, showed his youthful energy and always seemed a step or two ahead of his challenger.
Rachman, who had only been stopped once in his previous 81 bouts, showed why he had been selected as an opponent. He was tough and had a few tricks up his sleeve to teach his younger foe. He was never particularly dangerous in the fight but also refused to go away giving Knockout a chance to learn on the job and get some solid rounds in against a fighter with experience and know how. Sadly though that was the most telling significance of the bout, it was a public training session at times with Knockout on the offensive but unable to land killer blows.
Through much of the first 11 rounds it was all Kncokout. He had things pretty much his own way against a fighter hand selected as a challenger, in fact Rachman really shouldn't have been in a title bout at this stage in his career given he was effectively retired. Rachman did try, and credit to him for trying, but he never managed to really make a round that close. In round 12 however the challenger genuinely came alive, it was as if he sensed this would be the last round of his long career. He let his hands go and for the first time there was a round with real back and forth, unfortunately it was another that was won by Knockout, despite a good effort from the challenger.
Now it's expected that Knockout will try to chase a fight with South African Hekkie Bulder, the WBA “regular” champion, however it may be that Knockout needs to bide his time with Budler said to be eyeing a WBA-IBF unification bout with Katsunari Takayama in the summer. It would seem wise for Knockout to try and get another defense of his interim title before a meeting with Budler, or Takayama if he beats Bulder, later in the year.
(Image courtesy of thairec.com)