In 2017 we saw Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-5-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] announce himself to an international audience as he beat Roman Gonzalez in a close decision to reclaim the WBC Super Flyweight title that he had a lost a few years earlier to Carlos Cuadras. A second win over Gonzalez followed for the Thai who was proving he was no one hit wonder. Last year we saw him again shine on US soil, winning a FOTY contender against excellent Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (39-3, 26). Just moments ago we saw the rematch between Srisaket and Estrada, and we ended up with one of the most disappointing and odd fights of 2019.
Srisaket, known for being a huge punching Thai southpaw, came out in the orthodox stance, and wasn't fighting to his strengths. Instead of pressing the action he was boxing with the master boxer, and being made to look silly by a sharp, accurate and quick Estrada. Srisaket was being picked off, made to look clumsy and silly and really being schooled in the first half of the fight. Even when Srisaket did turn southpaw there was no concentrated effort to fight in the stance, turning righty against after just a few moments.
Whilst Srisaket did have moments, landing some solid right hands and some notable body shots, he was being out landed, out boxed, out moved and out thought. It seemed as if his entire gameplan was wrong, and yet he was sticking to it, not reverting to what had got him so much success through his career.
By round 7 Estrada was starting to bully Srisaket, and it looked like he could end up forcing a stoppage if he wished. Thankfully for Srisaket he began to wake up, began to realise he had to show more intensity and had to try and keep his title.
Sadly it wasn't until round 10 that Srisaket actually made an effort to fight southpaw. When he elected to to do that he began to have success, landing his power shots and making life very uncomfortable for the Mexican. A low blow in round 11 left Estrada in agony and Srisaket kept the pressure on from there, drawing out the machishmo from Estrada who stood and fought rather than boxed smartly. It made the final couple of rounds exciting, but by then it was clear Srisaket needed a knockout, and he hadn't looked like getting one in over 20 rounds of being in the ring with Estrada.
The final couple of rounds helped Srisaket close the gap on the scorecards, but he was clearly second best, and Estrada took the decision with scores of 116-112, and 115-113 twice. We struggle to see how any judge could have it 115-113, in fact even 116-112 feels closer than it should have been.
The big question after the fight has to be "Why did Srisaket fight orthodox?" He has had success through his career as a southpaw, had success today when he fought lefty and clearly should have fought as a southpaw again. There may be a chance, down the line, for a third meeting, but on this stupid performance it's hard to see many pushing for it to be made immediately given the depth of the division. There are more attractive options out there for Estrada than a third meeting with Srisaket, especially a Srisaket set on proving a point.
Strangely, given how sharp Estrada looked, it may not have actually mattered had Srisaket fought southpaw through the fight or not.
In 2017 Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], aka Wisaksil Wangek, put himself on the boxing man as he became a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion and ended the long unbeaten run of Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez. Since then he has further strengthened his resume with a stoppage win over Gonzalez and a decision win over Juan Francisco Estrada.
Today Srisaket made history by becoming the first man to defend a major world title on a major MMA promotion as he headlined ONE Champion's "Kingdom of Heroes" show in Bangkok. In the opposite corner to the Thai was unheralded Mexican challenger Iran Diaz (14-3-3, 6), a man who proved his toughness and determination despite being the clear loser.
The first round saw Srisaket put the pressure on the Mexican straight away and land a huge number of body shots. The predictions of many was that this bout wouldn't go long and the way the Thai started the bout he seemed intent of living up to the predictions of the fans and media. To his credit however Diaz saw off the storm and made it into round 2. He then slowly began to create a bit of momentum for himself, building round by round and neutralising some of Srisaket's offense. The Mexican wasn't really winning rounds as such, but was giving a much better effort than many expected as he created distance and found a home for counter right hands.
After 4 rounds Diaz had not only lasted longer than expected but had taken a round on one of the judges scorecards, with the open scores being 40-36, twice, and 39-37. It was amazing that Diaz's body was still upright given the punishment he had taken, but he was doing more than just surviving.
Having made things a little bit competitive in rounds 4 and 5 it seemed like Diaz was finding a groove. That was totally destroyed however when Srisaket upped the tempo, particularly in rounds 7 and 8, as the Thai looked to rip Diaz apart with head shots and body shots. Diaz managed to see off the storm, and potentially should have had a knockdown scored in his favour in round, following a flush uppercut that was ruled a slip by referee Jay Nady.
The open scoring after 8 rounds saw scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 79-74 all in favour if Srisaket who had the bout in the back but still wanted the knockout. He hunted it again in round 9 but was again on the canvas, again ruled a slip though again it seemed like there was a punch involved, with Srisaket being caught by a counter right. The Thai repeatedly caught Diaz up top with some vicious head shots from round 9 to round 11 as he seemed intent on closing the show for the local fans, wobbling Diaz badly at one point he couldn't send the Mexican down.
Having been taken into round 12 Srisaket suddenly changed his mentality and rather than being the aggressor, he turned into a slippery counter puncher and had some fun and sliding the shots of Diaz, with the Mexican picking up the tempo and swinging for the fences. It seemed like Srisaket had landed everything in his arsenal and had decided not to fire off any more bombs in the final round, with the bout well and truly in the bag.
At the scorecards both men looked happy with themselves. Srisaket was the clear winner, with the judges scoring the bout 119-109, twice, and 120-108. On the other hand Diaz was likely happy to have seen the final bell and put himself in the mix for good fights, maybe not world title fights but other good fights in a stacked division.
Srisaket's future looks likely to be in big divisional fights, including a potential rematch with Estrada or a unification bout with IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas.
Last year we saw Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40) announce himself on to Western audiences as he twice beat Roman Gonzalez to become a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion. This past Saturday he returned to the US to make his second defense of the title, facing off with the highly skilled Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (36-3, 25) on “Superfly 2”.
On paper the bout had all the ingredients to be something very special. It had one of the sports biggest punchers against one of the sports against one of the sports best all round fighters in a contest that fans had been anticipating ever since Srisaket stopped Gonzalez, in their second boud.
The bout started slowly, with both men looking to find their range and timing. It was Estrada who settled quicker and he certainly took the first round with no argument, and also likely the second as the crowd got behind everything he did. It was a crowd that seemed to clearly be cheering on the Mexican though it seemed like he had brought a pistol to a shotgun fight and in round 3 Srisaket started to land body shots with regularity. The success of the Thai seemed to make Estrada a little bit more apprehensive and the middle rounds were strong ones for the Thai, who seemed to out work, out muscle and our power the Mexican.
Despite being out powered Estrada had real moments of success, landing some beautiful single shots. Sadly for him they seemed to just bounce off Srisaket whilst the Thai's shots had a clear impact on the challenge, making sweat fly through the air and buzzing Estrada on a number of occasions.
The middle rounds not only saw Srisaket land his best shots but also seemed to cause Estrada to miss more. He seemed unsure of himself at times and fell short with a lot of shots. He managed to use his feet to keep Srisaket to only throwing singles, but did little to impose himself offensively. Then again even when he did land bombs they didn't do anything to the Thai to discourage him from rushing in as, and when, he wanted.
By round 10 it seemed like Srisaket had done enough to retain his title, if he could stay up right. Despite that Estrada wasn't wanting to just roll over and give up his shot, and it showed as he finished round 11 really strong, before having a huge round 12. In fact round 12 will go down as on of the best rounds of the year as both traded bombs for the 3 minutes. Estrada was the one getting the better off it, by quite some margin with accuracy and work rate, and he even stunned Srisaket at times, but could never quite get enough sustained success to drop the Thai, who was firing back through out the round.
The final round seemed like one that Estrada fought knowing he was behind, knowing he needed a knockdown or even a knockout.
The judges scorecards could have been all over the place, with a number of rounds being close, in the end though the scores were 114-114, 115-113 and 117-111, giving Srisaket the majority decision win and his second defense.
With successive wins over Roman Gonzalez, twice, and Juan Francisco Estrada it's hard to argue with Srisaket's resume, and he has really added to his previous big wins against Jose Salgado and Yota Sato. For Estrada he has proven he can hang with the best Super Flyweights, though will be kicking himself for not turning up the heat and taking more risks earlier in the fight. He really did control the final round, when he forced a war on Srisaket and had he done that earlier in the bout who knows whether Srisaket would have won or not.
Earlier this year Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] scored one of the biggest upsets of the year as he out-pointed Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-2, 38) and claimed the WBC Super Flyweight title for the second time. Going in to the bout Gonzalez was seen as one of the top fighters on the planet and the decision was heavily disputed, with many claiming the judges had done the previously unbeaten Gonzalez a disservice. That controversy of their first bout lead to a rematch, with Srisaket again entering as the clear under-dog.
In the opening round we didn't get a feeling out round. Instead we got round 13 of the rivalry between the two men with Srisaket trying to take out Gonzalez early on. The Thai didn't get the knockdown that he did in the opening round of fight #1 but showed that he was there to make a statement, and that he wasn't going to have the public saying he was lucky this time around. There were a couple of minor headclashes in the round, but unlike the first fight they weren't major and neither man was cut from them.
The second round saw the pace from Gonzalez pick up, as both men traded blows in a round that was much more of a back-and-forth round. Gonzalez had moments but there was several massive body shots from Srisaket that seemed to have Gonzalez feeling pain, even though he made sure to fight back through it. It was clear that Gonzalez's leg didn't have the same bounce that they had had in the past and it almost caused him to fight Srisaket's fight. That was the case even more in round 3 as the two men traded blows incessantly on the inside giving us a potential round of the year. It was however a round that Gonzalez put a lot into, and did little to dent the Thai.
In round 4 Gonzalez tried to keep up the pace but sadly for him he eat a monstrous southpaw right hook that sent him down hard. Gonzalez was hurt big time by the shot, but gritted his teeth, showed his fighting heart made it back to his feet. That however left him a bit of a sitting duck with Srisaket on him in an instant. Gonzalez tried to fight back, but an even better left hook sent him down, and almost immediately the bout was stopped, giving Srisaket his biggest stoppage win to date.
With the stoppage under his belt Srisaket has some major options. He could hunt unification bouts with Naoya Inoue, Jerwin Ancajas or Kal Yafai or he could face mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada, eithr way those are going to be big paydays and fights that he will feel he should win.
For Gonzalez this is likely the end to his fantastic career. It's a shame for it to end in this way, but given how much punishment he has received since he moved to Super Flyweight it did seem like it was only a matter of time before it all caught up with him, as he did here. Sadly some fans will have only seen the final few bouts of Gonalez's great career, and those fans really have missed out on one of the sports best fights of the last decade. For those who followed Gonalez over the years however they'll know exactly how good he was in his pomp.
We've long said that the Super Flyweight division is the best in the sport, and today we saw another great Super Flyweight bout, as Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38) traded blows with Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] in a bout for the WBC title.
The Thai entered the bout as a massive under-dog, though looked calm and relaxed as he entered, whilst Gonzalez looked like a worried man, despite being a massive favourite. From the opening round it was clear that Srisaket hadn't read the script and he took the fight Gonzalez and scored a knockdown in the opening round. It wasn't a massively hurtful knockdown but it was one that seemed to essentially say, “I'm not here to make up the numbers”.
The Thai showed his firepower again in the second round as he backed up Gonzalez and seemed to hurt the Nicaraguan sensation, who simply looked over-whelmed, over-sized and under-powered. Gonzalez had his moments towards the end of round 2, but they weren't enough to get the round.
Things went from bad to worse for Gonzalez who managed to move through the gears in round 3 but was left with a cut from an accidental headclash, one of many to occur during the fight. Although cut it was clear that Gonzalez was finding his groove, despite Srisaket smelling the blood of the Nicaraguan.
Gonzalez was backed up early in round 4 but really showed his class as he took the fight back to Srisaket and landed some shots that would have felled most fighters in the division. It was only Srisaket's incredible chin that seemed to keep him upright. Gonzalez, now having the bit between his teeth, had a great round 5 and round 6 as he took on Srisaket in a war, and seemed to badly hurt the Thai in round 6, the best round for Gonzalez. Not only was Srisaket hurt but he also had a point deduction after another clash of heads. Although the heads were clashing the deduction seemed a harsh one with neither man really to blame, and the heads coming together was more a stance thing than an actual malicious act.
Despite having lost the sixth round 10-8, and being hurt, Srisaket bounced back to win round 7, hurting Gonzalez late in a round that was one of the best of the year, with both fighters trading through out. The traded again in round 8, with Srisaket starting well and bullying Gonzalez at times before being rocked late in the round
Unfortunately for Gonzalez the bleeding from the cut and the size disadvantage was taking it's toll, and although he had hurt Srisaket a couple of times he could never force the Thai down, like he had been able to do with foes earlier in his career. Instead Srisaket just out muscled Gonzalez, ate his bombs and regularly spat them out before firing back, using his natural size advantage.
Going into the championship rounds it seemed that Srisaket may have just been in the lead, and both looked exhausted. Srisaket however relied on his size again to force Gonzalez back for most of round 11, taking the round despite a real spirit fight back by Gonzalez late on. It seemed, in his head, that Srisaket believed he had done enough and he essentially did nothing in round 12, a round that seemed like it could be important. It was a round that Gonzalez took, and took clearly with Srisaket holding and spoiling. It could have cost the Thai.
As we got to the score-cards the were announced 113-113, a draw, and 114-112, twice. It seemed close enough to have gone either way. Then it was announced that Srisaket had got the win, securing one of the biggest upsets of the year, and becoming a 2-time world champion.
Although size was clearly a factor, and the cut for Gonzalez, the reality is that the result essentially proves that Gonzalez's move to Super Flyweight wasn't the smartes. Srisaket is a huge Super Flyweight, but he was made to look even bigger due to the fact Gonzalez wasn't a natural at the weight, and that showed through out the fight. For Gonzalez the future is hard to call, a move to 112lbs, if his body can do that, would be best, a rematch would likely be damaging, and staying at 115lbs for a bout with Naoya Inoue has now lost it's shine, sadly. For Srisaket a bout with Inoue,a rematch with Cuadras or with Gonzalez are all going to be big money bouts, and great fights for fans.
Last December we predicted that boxing would get a WBC Super Flyweight title eliminator between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (27-4-1, 25) and Carlos Cuadras (30-0, 24). The bout, a few weeks later, was ordered by the WBC and ever since that announcement we became incredibly excited about a bout that we were suggesting was a potential FOTY. A bout we were thinking could be the "2014 version of Takahi Miura Vs Sergio Thompson", a rare but enthralling collision between the elite from the East and the West, a a coming together of monster punchers, the immoveable object and the irresistible force.
Unfortunately we were wrong, we were really wrong and instead of getting the anticipated tear up that would have been one for the ages we instead saw a fight that failed to really come alive before a disappointing clash of heads brought the action to a premature conclusion.
The bout was supposed to be a centre ring slug fest. Instead it became a case of Cuadras boxing and moving, showing more of his footspeed than his much vaunted power punching. Instead of a tear up we had Srisaket chasing a man who wanted to avoid a real fight. It was frustrating to watch as the Mexican fought scared of the Thai an it seemed every time Srisaket landed the feet of Cuadras became busier whilst his punch out put was limited to say the least.
The few times the fight did light up with exchanges were great but nowhere near as frequent as we had hoped for or expected. What was supposed to be a war between real warriors became a case of chase the home fighter who was never going to lose at home with the tactics he was using.
In round 5 things got worse for Srisaket who was deducted a point at the start of the round. It seemed an odd deduction though was unlikely to make any difference to the bout which he was always going to require a KO to win. Unfortunately due to the very negative, though intelligent, movement of the challenger the opportunity for a KO never came despite growing pressure from the Thai.
Sadly the bout ended in round 8 after a monster clash of heads cut Cuadras over the eye and forced us to the scorecards a few rounds early. Having failed to get the KO the result was an inevitable one with Cuadras claiming the title via a very disappointing 8th round decision.
Whilst this was the second technical decision of the day, following the very controversial bout between Simpiwe Vetyeka and Nonito Donaire it's fair to say this was actually the more disappointing bout. We had expected so much from the men involved and sadly we were left feeling let down. The Donaire bout saw the referee destroy what was warming up into a good fight for this fight however it never looked like quite catching fire as we had hoped.
We're hoping the WBC will allow for a rematch though we're doubting it. We think Cuadras will likely take the title over to Japan at some point in the next 12 months and defend it there on a Teiken show. We hope that, whilst Cuadras could defend the title in Japan, Srisaket won't be frozen out. He's too fun to be missing from the title picture for long despite this major set back.
(Image courtesy of Notifight)
If there was one Thai that caught our eyes earlier this year that was Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (23-3-1, 21) the man who literally man handled Yota Sato as he claimed the WBC Super Flyweight title.
Although Srisaket has been busy since claiming his world title, with 3 none title fights in the last 6 months, he hadn't actually made a defense of the belt he won back in May.
Earlier today Srisaket did make the first defense of that title as he took on Japan's brave warrior Hirofumi Mukai (9-3-1, 1). Unfortunately Mukai became the 21st victim of the Thai who demonstrated the savagery that we are starting to know, and love, about the Thai monster.
The Thai had bad intentions from the off and whilst Mukai went there to win it was obvious he was up against it by the end of the opening round. It was clear the Mukai lacked the firepower to keep Srisaket off and it was obvious that Srisaket wanted to make a statement.
After taking the opening round Srisaket managed to score the contests sole knockdown in the opening seconds of the second round. Mukai managed to fight his way through the round but Srisaket maintained the nasty intentions that saw him clearly chasing a stoppage.
With the WBC's open scoring in effect there was little doubt on the score after 4 rounds. Srisaket 40-35 up again Mukai, there was no possible way to see the fight scored in any other way. The Japanese fighter, whilst game, had been out fought, out worked and out punched through the first 4.
With the Japanese fighter in a hole after 4 it was great to see him fight back in rounds 5 and 6, by far the closest rounds of the fight. In fact he may well have taken round 5 despite taking some heavy artillery from the champion. Round 6 however he lost in the final few moments as Srisaket rocked him hard as a stoppage began to look imminent.
Mukai's toughness saw him coming out for round 7 though by the end of it he was beginning to look like a man who was genuinely being beaten up. Had it not been for the heart and bravery of Mukai the fight certainly would have been stopped at the end of the round. Instead of pulling their man out the Japanese corner sent their man out for round 8 and the beat down continued with Mukai's boxing really starting to unravel mid-way in to the round. One thing Mukai had been able to do in the earlier rounds was fire back and protect himself though that resistance had been totally beaten out of him.
With Mukai's short lived fight back well and truly over the scorecards should have been enough to have made the Japanese corner think about retiring their man. The cards, which had Srisaket winning 80-71 and 79-72, twice, really did represent the fight which was one sided.
Instead of pulling Mukai his corner sent him out for round 9. Presumably under the warning that if this continued they'd throw in the towel. They did just that in the ninth as Srisaket began to use Mukai as a human punch bag in what was starting to get very ugly.
For Srisaket aren't going to be a hard thing to get. If his promoter wants to keep him busy then he will as he rips through Thai, Filipino and Japanese fighters in non-title fights. Unfortunately he may struggle to get challengers. Mukai was ranked #15 by the WBC and whilst some may say this Srisaket picking an easy opponent we dare say many of the others didn't want to know. This kid looks like a monster every time he steps in the ring.
Although Srisaket lost 3 of his first 5 contests, including a stoppage to Akira Yaegashi, it's going to take someone very, very special to beat him. In fact we're not sure there is a fighter in the division who could stand up to this monster who doesn't just defeat opponents but instead breaks them.
In a notable upset Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (19-3-1, 18) scored the most notable victory of his career as he dethroned Japanese fighter Yota Sato (26-3-1, 12) of the WBC Super Flyweight title.
The bout, the first world title bout for Srisaket took some time to get going after a long series of formal introductions speeches and advertising, though once the bell went to start the bout the Thai challenge brought the action.
The opening round was some what close with Sato managing to land a number of his own shots early though Srisaket managed to land several eye catching flurries that won him the round on one of the judges score cards. From then on Srisaket merely took over the bout and clearly won rounds 2-4 as he started to set an unbelievable tempo.
At the start of round 5 the score cards all read in favour of the Thai with scores of 39-37 (twice) and 40-35. It was thought by many, including myself that Srisaket would have to slow eventually and after the hectic pace he was forcing it seemed likely he would tire soon.
Both rounds 5 and 6 were better for the defending champion as he managed to create some space though the bout was typically being fought at close quarters which suited Srisaket due to being naturally smaller.
After the two good rounds for Sato it didn't take long for Srisaket to put his foot back on the gas and launch a ridiculous assault in round 7 that saw Sato pinned in the corner whilst the challenger unloaded for a good portion of the round. The referee, Italy's Guido Cavalleri, did well not to stop the bout at the end of the round with Sato taking a genuine pounding in a round that was hard not to score 10-8 to the challenger.
Having just survived round 7 Sato knew that he was going to have to regain his senses in round 8 though Sriaket jumped on him trying to corner him once again. This time when Sato was forced to eat a series of shots the referee stepped in seeing that Sato was now being battered with little chance of turning it around in the coming rounds.
This loss for Sato, his first loss since 2005, was the first stoppage loss of his career and sees the trend of defending Japanese world champions being defeated in Thailand continue.
Sor Srisaket, who genuinely announced himself on the world stage with this victory will not be a fighter that many will be wanting to face. He's relentless, hard hitting and whilst technically not great he's fantastic at cutting the distance as he did time and time again here.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.