We have often applauded fighters for chasing history, it's why we have been to vocal in our support of fighters like Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka. Of course historical achievements can questioned, such as a fighter who wins a serious of vacant titles or a fighter who pads their record, but it's nice to see fighters do historical things. We mention that as today WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (51-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] notched his 10th defense and over-came gallant Filipino Pedro Taduran (12-2, 9) to move to 51-0.
Now whilst Wanheng's achievement isn't actually a record, a number of fighters have had better starts to their career, it is potentially setting the stage for history as he has now surpassed the 50-0 record of Floyd Mayweather Jr, who holds the most statistically impressive unbeaten record of any retired world champion. A record that would end tomorrow if Wanheng decided to retire following today's win.
The fight saw Taduran getting into Wanheng's face from the off, with his pressure being impressive straight away. Sadly for the challenger Wanheng's defense and counter punching was equal to the aggression and pressure of the challenger with the champion often landing clean crisp counter shots that caught the eye in the opening round. In the second round both men increased their output, giving us a thrilling round of none stop action, and it seemed like they had both agreed that they would go for a stoppage win with one of the rounds of the year. The round however took a toll on both men and both seemed to slow down in the rounds that followed. Despite the slow down the pattern of the bout during the other early rounds continued, with Taduran pressing and Wanheng countering, with some eye catching and solid shots.
It was a case of accuracy over work rate, and the judges seemed to take Wanheng's side after 4 rounds, scoring the contest 40-36, twice, and 39-37 in favour of the Thai.
The bout continued to slow in the middle rounds, which appeared to suit the more technically solid Wanheng. Taduran still had some solid moments, particularly in round 6 when he managed to get off some solid body shots on the inside and backed Wanheng on to the ropes, but took some heavy punishment of his own. The challenger was also beginning to battle the referee who, very harshly, took a point from the Filipino for a low blow that really really didn't deserve a punishment of any kind. It was harsh certainly didn't help the challenger, but the judges did seem more impressed by him in the middle rounds, with the open scoring showing the scores of 78-74, twice, and 79-74. He was still well behind, but the judges were starting to give him more credit.
The 9th round was one of the most compelling. Wanheng seemed to win the first half of it, he landed some really nasty shots but part way through the round the referee adjusted the champions trunks. Following that Taduran seemed to sense something and let his shots go in a way we hadn't seen since round 2, it forced a response from Wanehng as the two began to trade. The intensity from Taduran continued in the early part of round 10, before Wanheng began to re-establish his control with his defense and clean counter shots.
The result was made a total formality in round 11 when the referee again got involved to the detriment of Taduran, deducting a point from the Filipino for leading with the head. He had been warned about it a number of times, but the deduction seemed harsh, especially given the previous deduction for low blows. It essentially put the bout to bed, despite being a good round for the challenger who showed his desire. Sadly his technical faults showed up and he still took some solid counters.
With the decision essentially in the bag Wanheng seemed happy to spoil and stall through the final round. Taduran, still wanting to win, fought hard but never looked like downing the champion, who held and complained and danced through much of the round.
The win for Wanheng seems him retain the gold and Petchyindee promotions will be happy that their man is still the champion, and has reached the marvellous mark of 51-0. They however will know their man will need to perform better if he intends to win a planned bout in Japan in December. Away from home he may not get the breaks given to him here. He would have still won with out the deductions, given the scores were 118-108, 115-111 and 117-110, but they would certainly have made things a lot more interesting going into the final few rounds.
For Taduran the shot did seem to come a little too early. Given another year or two of seasoning, some technical work on his offensive and balance, he could have potentially over-come Wanheng. Instead he'll have learned a lot in defeat, and will likely improve as a result. He will be wondering why there was a referee with next to know world title experience in the middle of the ring with him but the tough conditions in Thailand have given him a huge platform to build from. And he really did impress here, especially in the rounds when he upped the pace and really let his hands go.
The career of Floyd Mayweather Jr ended last year, at least for now, with the American having amassed an excellent 50-0 professional record. A number his fans celebrated, despite win #50 coming against the debuting Connor McGregor. Mayweather's record is a very impressive one, but today it was tied, as Thai fighter Wanheng Menayothin (50-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] matched the figure, and recorded his 9th defense of the WBC Minimumweight title. Not only that but he did it in amazingly dominant fashion.
The unbeaten champion was up against young mandatory challenger Leroy Estrada (16-3, 6) from Panama and the bout looked like a man against a child.
The energetic and naturally quicker Estrada had a decent first first round. He looked busy, confident and aggressive as he used his southpaw jab and straight left hand to score with what were clean, but relatively harmless shots. It seemed like all the powerful blows came from Wanheng, but there was few of them, with the Thai instead choosing to use the round to see what the visitor had. Unfortunately for Estrada it was as good as things got for him, and whilst it was a solid round for the challenger, he didnt look like he had the power, the output or the tenacity to really trouble the champion, who looked very relaxed and confident.
The second round saw Estrada try to continue to use his speed and jab, but by now Wanheng was beginning to move through the gears, and rocked Estrada early in the round. A right hand late on again stung the challenger. It was clear by the end of the round that Wanheng had the power to hurt the challenger and was starting to get his timing down as well. Going into round 3 it seemed less a case of whether Wanheng was going to reach 50-0 and more a case of when. That when seemed "soon" when Estrada was dropped early in round 3 as he began to look like a child in there against a more mature, stronger fighter. Estrada showed his heart to get up but was hurt again by a right hand, and dropped with about a minute left, this time his legs were gone. Another right hand saw Estrada wobble again, and it looked like the referee could have jumped in before the challenger fired back and showed signs of fighter.
The third round was a huge 10-7 round for the champion, but Estrada's fight kept him in the bout. Sadly it was for nought as he was again dropped twice in round 4, with Wanheng again dominating the challenger, dropping his man with a big right hand early in the round before scoring another knockdown late to secure back-to-back 10-7 rounds. At the end of the end of the round it seemed almost certain the referee would step in, if not Estrada's corner given that the open scoring had the bout 39-33, twice, and 40-32, in favour of the Thai. Instead Estrada went out for round 5, and was finally stopped, following the bouts 5th knockdown.
For Estrada the bout was a bit of a beating, and one prolonged by a referee who really seemed to hate the challenger, and it showed that whilst he's a very good fighter he's not a top tier one. As for Wanheng, who scored his first stoppage since May 2016, the win sees him match Mayweather's figure and further cement his reign as the WBC champion.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
Boxing has a number of records, which seem odd and look rather unreal. One of those is the record of Japanese fighters in Thailand in world title fights, a record that stands at 0 wins, 23 losses and 1 draw. The latest of those losses however was a controversial one, as WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (49-0, 17) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] retained his title with a very questionable win over former WBO champion Tatsuya Fukuhara (19-6-6, 7) [福原 辰弥].
On paper it looked like a mismatch in favour of the Thai, who was looking to equal the 49-0 record of Rocky Marciano and record his 8th defense. It was however the total opposite of what we expected, with Fukuhara setting an insane pace in the opening round and forcing Wanheng to fight fire with fire. It was as if no one had told Fukuhara that he was there to lose, and instead of being respectful of Wanheng's unbeaten record he went straight at the champion. To his credit Wanheng did fight back, and landed the better shots, but was very much taken by surprise by the intense work rate of the challenger.
Wanheng managed to have better success in rounds 2 and 3, as he landed the bigger shots, and actually started round 3 with the initiative, something he hadn't done in the first two rounds. Despite starting well Fukuhara came back at him later in the round, showing good variety and the high tempo which had caused so many issues for Wanheng, not only in the opening stages of this bout bus also against Melvin Jerusalem.
Wanheng also had credible success in round 4, arguably his best round of the fight, as he forced Fukuhara to fight at range, made the most of his technical abilities and prevented the challenger from unloading with volume. It was a round that showed the skill level differences between the two men. After 4 rounds the champion was up on the score-cards, with all 3 judges favouring the local, and although it felt like he was fortunate to be in the lead it wasn't out of the question for him to be up.
The success of Wanheng continued in round 5 as he managed to make the most of his heavier hands, but he wasn't able to discourage Fukuhara who continued to press the action and ended the round looking like a man possessed, despite eating the best Wanheng had to offer. In round 6 Wanheng's pace seemed to drop off as Fukuhara managed to again cut the distance, get to work and press with not only his volume but also some very solid shots, including a big head shot mid-way through the round. Wanheng did land his own stiff right hand late in the bout, but it seemed like a clear round for the challenger.
Fukuhara's success seemed to grow from there, as he pressured Wanheng with serious intensity, landing not only flurries to the body but also some really eye catching head shots, including a big uppercut. Wanheng returned the favour with some body shots of his own, but was clearly out worked through the round, and appeared to be showing signs of tiredness as Fukuhara refused to back off. The challenger was even more intense and driven in round 8 as he thoroughly out worked Wanheng, landing bigger and heavier shots on to a champion who was looking at the referee for every minor incident. It was looking like the champion was frustrated by the fact Fukuhara was always in his face and always refusing to back off, despite the clean shots the champion had been able to land.
With the champion looking like he was flagging the open scores after round 8 seemed like they were going to be very interesting, bizarrely however they were all widely in favour of Wanheng, reading 80-73, 79-73, and 78-74. It seemed clear at this point that Fukuhara wasn't only up against the unbeaten champion, but also the judges.
Knowing that he wasn't going to get the decision Fukuhara changed his tactics in round 9. The high energy and intense assaults were put on the back burner as he looked to land bigger, heavier shots. Those became the key in round 9 as he landed some big shots which seemed to force Wanheng to on to the back foot. Wanheng had his moments, but was again out worked, and out landed by the challenger. Fukuhara continued to look bombs in rounds 10 and 11 as Wanheng looked more and more tired, struggling to even raise his arms at the end of round 11. Fukuhara seemed to ignore his defense at times, instead choosing to just chase Wanheng and unload, and the only real breaks in action happened when Wanheng tired up the challenger, or complained about some small issue, with the referee starting to seem like yet another opponent for the challenger.
The final round saw Fukuhara go all out for the stoppage. He combined power shots with volume and an insane intensity that saw him jump on Wanheng at every opportunity. It was a thrilling final round that saw Wanheng being forced to respond with power shots, until he was spent and forced into pure survival mode. It was a thrilling all action effort from the challenger, but given the scores after round 8 it was clear it wasn't going to be enough to see the title change hands.
With the judges scoring the bout in favour of Wanheng he had now scored 8 defenses, but this is the second time where he could be regarded as very fortunate in recent times, and it does seem like his reign is living on borrowed time. For Fukuhara the bout seems to suggest he can continue fighting at world level, and will almost certainly get another shot down the line.
Earlier today fans in Thailand saw WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (47-0, 17) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม], retian his title, as he over-came Tanzanian born Australian based fighter Omari Kimweri (16-4, 6) in a tougher than expected bout.
Straight from the off the challenger looked to make a statement and opened up with an aggressive salvo, which saw him set his stall out and tell the champion that this wasn't going to be easy. Things got worse for Wanheng late in the round, when a headclash left him looking badly cut around the left eye, and could well have resulted in a technical decision. The cut clearly shook Wanheng who struggled to get through the later stages of the opening round and he looked genuinely buzzed. It was however a cut that brought about a point deduction from Kimweri, as part of the WBC's accidental foul rule.
Kimweri's aggression was again notable in round 2, as he looked to once against put Wanheng on to the back foot. This time however Wanheng had started to become aware of what was coming back, and landed some solid right hands of his own.
Having started to relax in to the bout Wanheng slowly but surely moved through the gears, taking rounds 3 and 4 to establish a clear lead on all 3 cards when they were first made public.
In the middle rounds Wanheng continued to dominate, landing numerous right hands as a tired looking Kimweri backed up more, and fired back less. By the end of round 8 it looked like the challenger was clearly fading and it was looking like he may end up being stopped.
As we've seen from the Thai in the past he eased off in the later rounds, knowing he had a wide enough lead to take the decision, which he did with scores of 117-110 and 118-109, twice, to retain his titl. Despite the wide cards he was put under genuine pressure easy,and following the cut it did look like we could have been heading to the cards very early. It was a bad cut, and the work his team did in controlling it was impressive, it could have ended the fight but it didn't, and thats, in part, thanks to the experience of the officials, including the brilliant Bruce McTavish who again showed why he's one of the more highly regarded referees in the Oriental region.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
It's fair to say that January 2017 has been a slow burner, but today we had the first world title bout to be held on Asian soil for the year. The bout saw the unbeaten Wanheng Menayothin (44-0, 17) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] narrowly retain the WBC Minimumweight title with a very close win over rising Filipino Melvin Jerusalem (11-1, 7). Although Wanheng won, and recorded the 6th defense of his title, it was actually the Filipino who came out with the enhanced reputation and it's fair to say that Wanheng will have been glad to have faced Jerusalem now, rather than in 12 months time.
The Filipino started hot and clearly won the first 2 rounds, using his speed, movement and work rate to make the champion look slow and sluggish. Although Jerusalem wasn't hurting the Thai he was putting him totally off his game and make life look easy as he prevented Wanheng from firing anything of note in his direction. In round 3 the Filipino slowed a tad and the champion managed to do just enough to impress the judges into giving him rounds 3 and 4, though both were close and likely would have gone to which ever fighter was at home.
After 4 rounds there was little complaining with the open scoring, with all 3 cards reading 38-38. Jerusalem took those cards as sign that close rounds weren't going to be his and he seemed to do enough late in round 5 to take the round, and sneak back into the lead. Sadly for the challenger that lead wouldn't last long with Wanheng spoiling through much of round 6 before landing some really eye catching shots late that would have left a lasting impression on the judges. Those shots seemed to spur on Wanheng who intelligently spoiled in round 7 to frustrate the Filipino and landed just enough to take the round.
The momentum continued to go with Wanheng who had a 10-8 round in round 8 when Jerusalem was deducted a harsh point for a low blow. The shot was low, but the deduction was harsh given it was a first offense in an other wise clean bout. That 10-8 round helped Wanheng hold a the advantage on the open scoring after 8 rounds, with a lead of 77-74 -twice and 78-74.
Round 9 was another where Wanheng seemed to spoil and bully. He pushed and threw a tired looking Jerusalem to the canvas whilst the challenger tried to land flurries in little raids. Unfortunately for the Filipino he looked too tired to get in and out before being tired up and tagged by single shots. The round, however, was one of the closer ones with it being perhaps the key swing round for the fight.
In the final 3 rounds a lazy and tired Wanheng did very little whilst a tired, and very arm weary, Jerusalem put it all on the line. It was as if Wanheng knew he'd done just enough and Jerusalem knew he'd have to secure a 10-8 round. That showed more as the final 3 rounds progressed, with Jerusalem doing everything he could in the final round to turn things around.
Sadly for the Filipino his great effort wasn't quite enough to over-come Wanheng, with the judges favouring the local fight with scores of 114-113, twice, and 115-113. We had it 114-113 to Wanheng, but feel that the Filipino came out looking like the fighter going places, whilst Wanheng is probably coming to the end of his long career. For Jerusalem the bout could either make him a new jewel for ALA or, possibly, the next Filipino to avoid, in a similar vein to Rey Loreto and Jonathan Taconing. If ALA can get Jerusalem some good 12 rounds through this year he really could be a very big force over the next decade or so.
The Minimumweight division is without a clear #1 however Thailand's Wanheng Menayothin (43-0, 17) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] strengthened his claim to be the best in the division today as he over-came mandatory challenger Saul Juarez (23-5-1, 12) to retain the WBC title.
The bout was Wanheng's 5th defense of the title and was by far the toughest with the Mexican having the skills to ask questions of any one in the division. Those skills were on show particularly in the early rounds with very little to separate the men during the first 4 rounds. The first two were very quiet with a chess match mentality from both but the bout built to an exciting 4th round with the men engaging in a high skilled war that saw both men prove their offensive capabilities.
After 4 rounds the scorecards read 38-38, 38-38 and 39-38, with the WBC open scoring being in effect. The card were spot on with very, very little to split the men and no real argument if a round had been scored 10-10, like one was on one of the cards.
Wanheng managed to establish a lead in the middle sector of the fight as he neutralise much of Juarez's work with his defense and sharp counter skills. Juarez had his jab countered by straight right hands and much of his other work was blocked with Wanheng establishing himself as the boss in the ring. By round 8 there was no doubting the man in the lead, but the question was “how clearly was he winning?”
On the open scoring the judges had it 78-74, 78-75 and 77-75 for the Thai. Giving him the bout by 4, 3 and 2 points going into the final part of the bout.
Knowing he was behind Juarez tried to turn the bout around but Wanheng seemed to do enough in rounds 9 and 10 to move further ahead, putting himself out of reach of Juarez on the cards, barring a knockdown. With that lead stretched the Thai then cruised through the final 2 rounds, doing little more than he had to whilst Juarez looked to turn it on and take the fight to the champion, in what proved to be a futile effort.
With the result all but known going to the final bell Juarez seemed happy that he'd done enough against a genuine top contender, whilst Juarez seemed to know that defeat was heading his way, as was confirmed when the cards were read out loud confirming that Wanheng had indeed retained his title.
On paper the bout will be close, with cards ranging from 115-113 to 116-112, but in reality Wanheng eased off giving the final 2 rounds away and could have really made that wider if he'd wished. That has lead to criticism of the open scoring, which didn't really help this bout, but the right man won and it was a genuinely engaging bout for the most part, with rounds 4, 5 and 8 being particularly good rounds. The fight saw both show off good defense early on, it saw Wanheng show off his offensive capability through the middle and saw Juarez go all out late in the contest.
Sadly with the division lacking in terms of depth right now we're not expecting to see Wanheng in with anyone too tasty next time out, though we wouldn't be shocked to see him in the ring again before the year is over as he continues one of the sports active longest unbeaten runs.
This week is a good one for Asian boxing fans with the Orient playing host to a trio of world title fights. They began earlier today with a WBC Minimweight title fighter between unbeaten champion Wanheng Menayothin [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] and Japanese challenger Go Odaira [大平 剛]. The bout, a relatively low key world title bout for those outside of the East was Odaira's second shot at a world title and was Wanheng's fourth defense of the title that he won in late 2014, when he stopped Oswaldo Novoa.
On paper it was a mismatch, with the champion boasting an impressive 40-0 (15) record coming in to the bout against Odaira's 12-4-3 (1) record however Odaira's team been planning for this challenge for several months and seemed confident of scoring the shock win.
The preparation of the challenger was obvious in the first round as the visitor fought to orders, using a lot of movement to try and get in and out. The output from the challenger was relatively low compared to the division's usual high intensity, but it was significantly more than we saw from Wanheng who applied very conservative pressure. Although Wanheng was very limited with his output the locals cheered every shot and he did land the best punch of the round, a straight right hand late on. It wasn't enough to steal the round, but it was clear that the power and physical strength both lay with the champion.
The second round was much like the first, with Wanheng doing very little other than applying intense and educated pressure on to the Japanese challenger. Odaira was the man letting his hands go, in short bursts, and then trying to get away. It was intelligent from Odaira but as the round came to a close you could almost see Wanheng shifting up a gear, which is exactly what he did in round 3.
Odaira's early success was essentially wiped out in round 3 as Wanheng went on to the offensive and a sweeping right hand caught the challenger, who was dropped. Odaira got up from the knockdown but it seemed to further spur on the champion who could almost smell a win. Wanheng continued to bully the challenger, who did well with his movement to see out the storm without taking too much punishment.
By round things weren't looking good at all for Odaira who simply couldn't create the distance he needed and was on the receiving end of more solid shots. The only thing really keeping Odaira fight was his movement, which was helping him get off the ropes, but his output was dropping and he was forced to taste the under-rated power of Wanheng, who almost scored a second knockdown late in the round, rocking the challenger with a right hand.
Although we had given Odaira the first 2 rounds the judges disagreed, and when the open scoring was shown after 4 rounds the judges all had Wanheng in a comfortable lead, with scores of 40-35, 39-36 and 39-36, again.
Odaira's discomfort from round 4 was made worse in round 5 as his counter shots simply bounced off Wanheng who was in seek and destroy mode. It didn't take long for Wanheng to corner his foe, and this time Odaira's fancy footwork wasn't able to come to his help, instead he was forced to take a series of hard right hands. Those shots bent him over and seemed to have him read to go before a final shot, albeit to the back of his head, sent him down. Immediately the referee waved the bout off.
Although the finishing blow was a foul it did seem like one caused by Odaira bending over and the Japanese fighter didn't complain about the stoppage, instead he congratulated the champion, now 41-0 (16), who looks set to defend against Saul Juarez in the summer.
For the challenger, now 12-5-3 (1) this was a second loss in a world tile fight and it seems unlikely he'll get another given he's 31 and has 2 stoppage losses in his last 3 bouts.
It's fair to say that Korean boxing isn't at a high point. In fact there is very little in Korean boxing to be excited about, with even their best prospects looking a little bit limited, though Kyoo Hwan Hwang does look like he will be fun to follow.
The low quality of Korean boxing was shown again today as Young Gil Bae (26-5-1, 21), came up very short against WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (40-0, 15) in Thailand.
The challenger couldn't actually win the belt, as failed to make weight yesterday, though failed to even make his size weight count for much as he was made to look third rate by a champion who scarcely went through the gears.
From the opening it was clear that Wanheng, the much shorter man, was able to land his jab at will. Bae, who boasted a clear reach advantage, was the man who seemed to want to get inside where his hooks were more likely to connect. For the first 3 rounds it was Wanheng's jab that was key to the fight as he moved, landed the jab and neutralised the Korean slugger, who seemed to run out of ideas quickly and kept repeating the same mistakes.
In round 4 we finally saw the tempo take a significant change as Wanehng went through the gears and began to unload heavy right hands on Bae. Bae, to his credit, did his best to land return fire though it was clear that he lacked the know how to land cleanly and the ability to defend himself from Wanheng's shots which were, at times, looking like they couldn't miss.
After 4 rounds the opening scoring kicked in with Wanheng leading 40-36, twice, and 39-37.
The Thai kept the work rate up on rounds 5, 6 and 7 as he began to clearly break down the Korean who was perhaps lucky that rounds 6 and 7 ended when they did, as both rounds seemed to end as Wanehng was smelling blood. It wasn't an all out offensive from the Thai, but it was calculating and cerebral from the champion who was systematically breaking down the Korean
Sadly Wanheng then completely eased off the gas for the entire of round 8, a round that showed the huge gulf in class between the two men. Wanheng did little, he hardly broke a sweat for the round, but still landed his jab at will when Bae, who was putting forth a genuine effort, failed to do much other than swing at air and follow the champion.
Despite putting little into round 8 Wanheng took the round on all 3 cards, which read 80-72, twice, and 79-73 after round 8.
Having put little effort forth in the 8th it was great to see Wanheng step on the gas in round 9 as he swiftly went on the offensive and a huge right dropped Bae. The Korean got up and a follow up attack from Wanheng was thwarted by Bae who held. A second follow up attack however saw the referee step in to wave Bae, who appeared to be fighting back at the time, though was taking punishment from the under-rated champion.
In isolation the stoppage was an odd one, in reality however it was a mercy stoppage for the Korean who was looking swollen and out gunned. He had no complaint and whilst it did look like peculiar timing, it was likely to come soon anyway.
The career of WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (38-0, 13) has been a frustrating one. On paper his record is incredibly though the reality is that he has been facing a lot of weak opponents. In fact on paper his best win came almost 5 years ago when he out pointed the hard hitting Florante Condes. Despite his competition he is genuinely a good fighter and a very exciting pressure fight who is offensively tidy and fun to watch.
Today we saw Wanheng make the second of his world title, though again he took on a less than stellar opponent, as he faced Filipino national champion Jerry Tomogdan (17-6-3, 9). On paper Tomogdan had nothing to trouble the Thai and it showed in the ring as the champion quickly established control of the action and never really looked like being tested.
From the off we saw Wanheng figuring out his over-matched challenger whilst applying his trademark educated pressure. There was never anything rushed from the Thai who seemed able to get inside and land solid early on. Whilst the shots were solid none of them were concussive, that is one of Wanheng's flaws, but each shot seemed to slowly demoralise the challenger.
The WBC's open scoring at the end of round 4 said almost everything that needed to be said with 2 of the judges having the bout a white wash, whilst the third judge some how managed to give Tomogdan a pity round. Sadly for the Filipino the beating had only just begun.
In rounds 5 and 6 Wanheng moved up a gear and it was clear that his pressure was taking it's toll on the challenger who wasn't helped by the crowd cheering loudly every time he was tagged. It was clear the fans were enjoying seeing their man go to work on Tomogdan, despite the huge gulf in ability between the two men.
Having fallen even further behind by the start of the 9th round it was clear that the Filipino would need a knockout to claim the title. That was always going to be a huge ask given that Wanheng is defensively sound and that Tomogdan doesn't really have fight changing power. What was looking more likely was that Tomogdan was going to wilt completely from the pressure and accuracy of Wanheng who was landing almost at will.
Eventually that pressure told with the Filipino being dropped from a left hand to the body. It was clear he was done and he chose to take the full count on his knees, accepting defeat to a much better fighter.
Whilst this was an easy defense for the champion we are now expecting to see him facing a mandatory challenger before the year is over. Interestingly that could be Tomogdan's compatriot Denver Cuello, who would make for a really good fight with Wanheng. On paper a Wanheng Vs Cuello bout would be the toughest for the Thai so far, and the biggest threat to his unbeaten record whilst it would give Cuello his second shot at a title, following a defeat to Xing Zhao Zhong back in 2013.
Last year we saw Thailand's Wanheng Menayothin (37-0, 12) prove there was substance to his long unbeaten record as he beat Oswaldo Novoa to claim the WBC Minnimumweight title. It was fair to say that Wanheng's record was padded but the Novoa win was one that rightfully put him in the conversation along with the other top fighters in the division.
Today the Thai made the first defense of his well earned world title as he took on the unheralded, and essentially unknown, Jeffrey Galero (11-1, 5) of the Philippines.
So unknown was Galero that we hadn't seen any footage of him prior to a sparring session with Knockout CP Freshmart, released earlier this week. Until then we had assumed Galero was a southpaw. In that footage Galero genuinely impressed us with his speed, movement and understand of the ring environment. Prior to the footage we suspect Wanheng wouldn't have any problems with the Filipino though the footage showed someone who could give Wanheng some questions to answer.
In the first round we saw Galero's movement and speed keep him out of Wanheng's range. It wasn't a pretty or exciting round but it did give us a glimpse of the ability Galero had and he possibly shaded the round, though little of real note happened as both tried to see what the other man had.
Although the first round was quiet we began to see a fight breaking out in round 2 in what was a competitive round and it did seem like Galero was there to cause the champion some real issues. An upset was unlikely but Galero certainly seemed comfortable in the ring as he neutralised some of the pressure of the champion whilst firing off short but sharp flurries which were eye catching though not particularly damaging. Sadly for the challenger however this was essentially the start of the end for his success as Wanheng began to find a home for his body shots which seemed to sap the impressive movement of the challenger.
From round 3 we began to see Wanheng's pressure taking effect as he began to close the ring down, cut off Galero's escape routes and land cleaner and heavier blows. Those blows seemed to take the wind out of Galero's sails almost immediately and from the end of round 3 Galero did little more survive as Wanheng turned up the pressure, bit by bit.
By the end of round 5 Galero's clever movement had vanished, his footwork was becoming more and more basic and Wanheng was finding it easy to corner the challenger. To his credit Galero often found ways out of tricky situations but was often forced to take hurtful hooks, straights and uppercuts before he managed to get away from danger. Sadly however he could never do much more than keep the champion honest as Wanheng intelligently went about his work.
After 7 rounds the fight had become less a case of who was going to win and more a case of whether Galero would survive. At times in rounds 7, 8 and 9 it seemed unlikely as the pressure from Wanheng grew and the success of the champion began to grind away at the gutsy but over-matched challenger. In round 10 however Wanheng seemed to ease off a little bit. It was as if the champion had decided a decision was enough, though he wasn't letting Galero get away with out taking some more lumps through the round.
In the championship rounds Wanheng again amped up the assault, as if he had taken a breather and was ready to look for the late stoppage. Galero, for his part, did what he could to neutralise the champion in round 11 and then began fighting back in the final round, By then however the bout was a foregone conclusion with Wanheng a mile ahead on the cards.
At the end there was no drama, no problems for Wanheng and no shock on the cards. Wanheng won a clear decision and made an impressive first defence of his title.
For Wanheng this win could well open him up for a big Japanese pay day against Kosei Tanaka (4-0, 2) though if he feels like turning that down there is a likely mandatory title defence later in the year, possibly against Denver Cuello (35-5-6, 23). We'll be honest we'd love to see either of those fights for Wanheng and suspect that they'd both make for attractive viewing, especially the Cuello fight which would be a brilliant combination of styles.
As for Galero, he impressed in his gameness despite being outclassed. Hopefully this won't be the final time we see him and if he shares the ring with up and coming prospects we'll certainly not complain as he appears to have the traits to test good promising fighters. Today however he came up against someone who is world class and has a style that took away his strengths. It was an unfortunate style match up though we believe Galero will come back stronger from this experience and hopefully go on to compete at a solid level over the coming years.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
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.