Earlier today sources in Thailand reported the details regarding the next defense of the WBA Minimumweight "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท]. They not only reported the when but also the who and it now appears we have taken a huge step towards seeing Knockout fight for the first time in over a year.
The unbeaten champion was last seen in the ring in March 2020, when he out pointed Japanese veteran Norihito Tanaka [田中教仁], just days before boxing in Thailand was put on hiatus due to Covid19. There had been talk of him defending his title in September 2020 but those plans fell though and rumours, at the start of this year, suggested his team were looking for a May bout.
Today our sources reported that unbeaten Thai world champion will indeed be defending his title in May, with a bout set for May 29th against Pongsaklek Sithdabnij (23-6-1, 13), also known as Siridech Deebook.
For Knockout this will be his second defend of the WBA "super" title, which he was awarded last year after a host of defenses of the "regular" title. Coming in to this he is widely regarded as the best in the division. As for Pongsaklek this will be his first world title bout, and he comes into the bout on the back of 6 straight wins, albeit against very weak opposition.
The bout is a bit of a mismatch, but with Covid19 restrictions still in place in Thailand, when it comes to entering a exiting the country, the options for Knockout were limited. With that in mind this is not an awful match up, and it's always good to see a "Blood Line Battle", the name used for all Thai world title bouts, even if it does seem to have a very very clear favourite.
Last year was a strange one for boxing in Thailand, with a massive decrease in the number of shows, but a huge increase in the quality of them, with NKL, TL and Tan Telecom promotions all putting on solid shows through out the year. Sadly however it only saw Thailand hosting 2 world title fights, with one of those coming in early March when Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] successfully defended the WBA Minimumweight "Super" title.
Since that March bout Knockout has been out of the ring, though there are now plans for him to return sooner rather than later.
Although no date has been set in stone, and no opponent has been agreed as of yet, the plan is for the WBA Minimumweight " Super" champion to defend his title again in May, according to numerous reports from Thailand.
The reports all mention that Piyarat Vachirarattanawong, Knockout's promoter, has previously revealed the plan, though nothing is official as of yet due to the ongoing issues with Covid19 and the various problems with travel caused by the on going Pandemic.
Thailand, which is notoriously hostile for visiting fighters at the best of times, has seen many of it's provinces set out mandatory quarantine, and other provinces limiting or discouraging travel. With this in mind it would certainly limit travel options, though there is a chance things will become more flexible by May.
Earlier today fight fans tuning in to Thai Channel 7, or the Petchyindee Facebook steam, got the chance to enjoy a show from the Rangsit International Stadium in Rangsit. The card, like many Thai shows, wasn't deep in terms of quality, but did feature a number of notable Thai's in what were, essentially, tick over bouts.
The most notable man in an fight was world ranked Thai Petchmanee CP Freshmart (34-1, 22), aka Panya Pradabsri, who picked up his latest win as he easily defeated the over-matched Wichet Sengprakhon (11-8, 6).
The talented Petchmanee was in control through out, and showed the gulf in class from the early going. Credit needs to go to Wichet for giving an effort, but in the end he was taking a lot of unanswered punishment and the bout was stopped between rounds 4 and 5, when the bout was becoming more and more one sided.
With the win Petchmanee claims the WBC Asian Boxing Council Minimumweight title.
Interestingly this broadcast also featured a notable public spar between world champions Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18) [วันเฮง มีนะโยธิน], the WBC Minimumweight champion, and Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], the WBA Minimumweight champion,. Although it was only a spar it was still interesting to see the two men in the ring together and it was a pretty hotly contested spar between two men who certainly have some frustrations building given how 2020 has treat both men.
It's hard to believe that the last bout for a top world title was 4 months ago. That saw the WBA Minimumweight Super champion Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] successfully retaining his title as he out pointed Japanese challenger Norihito Tanaka (19-8, 10) [田中教仁] in Thailand. Since then the world has changed massively and it's hard to even remember what March was like.
Today news broke from Thailand that Knockout will now likely be defending his WBA title again in September, though few other details have been made clear.
It's unclear, given he's the super champion and their is no regular champion, whether Knockout will need to defend in a mandatory, for example against #1 ranked Jose Argumedo (23-4-1, 14), or WBA "Gold" champion Leyman Benavides (17-6-1, 3), or will be able to select a voluntary defense, whilst the world comes to terms with the new normal and the WBA get around to crowning a "regular" champion.
There has been talk in Japan of the returning Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] wanting to face Knockout in Osaka later in the year. Whilst it's unclear if that will be possible, given Takayama has himself not fought as a professional in years, though is currently ranked by the WBA at Light Flyweight.
*Note we are aware of Joshua Franco's win over Andrew Moloney, but that was for the WBA's second title with Roman Gonzalez being their super champion. Blame the WBA for their mess.
Earlier today Japanese site Sports Hochi reported that there is talk of former multi-time Japanese world champion Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] facing a world champion on his return to the ring later in the year.
The site has reported that an offer has been sent to Takayama and promoter Nobuhiro Ishida for Takayama to face WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (21-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], with the bout expected to be taking place in Osaka, if negotiations can be completed.
Originally the plan for Takayama's return was to be a move up in weight, to fight at Light Flyweight, though he had been open to fighting for the WBA Minimumweight title, as he had only held the "interim" title earlier in his career. He has long wanted to win all 4 belts in the division, hence his willingness to fight at Minmumweight to face Knockout.
Of course things are certainly not a done here by any stretch, and negotiations are far from complete, and the bout is far from being signed and sealed. It would take for the JBC to allow Takayama to be licensed and for international fighters to be able to travel before the fight could take place.
At the moment the 37 year old Takayama hasn't fought as a professional since August 2016, and to take on a champion in his ring return would be an incredibly big ask.
Whilst much of the focus on the Sports Hochi story is around Takayama the bout would also be a notable one for the 29 year old Thai, who has lacked big name wins and a win over Takayama, even a faded Takayama, in Japan would be among his most noteworthy.
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