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.