Earlier today Thai promotional outfit TL Promotions announced their next show under the "The Fighter" banner and it's an interesting double header, with two young and emerging talent battling against veterans of the Thai scene. It's not a massive card, by any stretch, but it's an interesting one, and one that will be available to view, for free.
The main event will see 17 year old sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (10-0, 5) [แสงอาทิตย์ ลูกทรายกองดิน], aka Sangarthit Looksaikongdin, defending his WBA Asia Light Welterweight title against former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-7, 41) [ชลธาร อ.พิริยะภิญโญ], aka Suriya Tatakhun.
Despite making his debut back in 2018, as a 14 year old, we really saw Phoobadin announce himself as one to watch in 2020. He impressed in July, when he beat Muay Thai stand out Kulabdam Sor.Jor.Piek-U-Thai, to win the WBA Asia title, and then stopped the talented Atchariya Wirojanasunobol a few months later to record his first defense. Those wins, as well as some training clips from Thailand, saw Phoobadin's profile sky rocket, and he is now on the verge of becoming one of the most notable fighters in Thailand.
Chonlatarn on the other hand is a proper veteran. The 36 year old has been a professional since 2003 and has faced some genuinely big names during his 68 fight career. Fans who recognise his name will likely be aware that he has shared the ring with the likes of Yoddamrong Sithyodthong, Chris John, Vasyl Lomachenko and Miguel Berchelt. Sadly though he was schooled by "Loma" and blasted by Berchelt, and since then he aged, and is naturally a tiny fighter at 140lbs. In theory his experience should see him asking some questions of Phoobadin, but we suspect he'll get stopped by the younger, bigger man.
The other bout announced for the show will see Tanes Ongjunta (7-1, 4) [จอมโว ก.ศักดิ์ลำพูน] battle against Kompayak TC Muay Thai (61-11, 41), [คมพยัคฆ์ ทีซีมวยไทย], aka Kompayak Porpramook or Suriyan Satorn, with this bout being for the WBA Asia Flyweight title.
The once beaten Ongjunta is a 28 year old who was a solid amateur before beginning his professional careeer in 2019. After winning his irst 4 bouts he was upset by unheralded Filipino Adrian Lerasan in March 2020, though has bounced back with 3 straight wins and got his career back on track.
Kompayak on the other hand is grizzled veteran, who is now 38 years old and made his debut all the way back in 2000. At his best he was world class, and did actually hold the WBC Light Flyweight following an amazing win over Adrian Hernandez in 2011. Sadly his reign was a short one and now a days he has become something of a domestic gate keeper picking up losses against the likes of Nonthasith Petchnamthong and Phongsaphon Panyakum last year. Despite picking up losses, losing 6 of his last 8, he always comes to fight and should make for an entertaining bout here, even if he does come up short.
For fans wanting to watch this show, it will be aired live on Thairath and on Facebook, though either the TL Promotions page or "The Fighter" page.
With the year now over we're going to slowly be putting out our awards over the coming days. To start with we're going to go with the Prospect of the Year award, and there a lot of fighters considered here, from right across Asia.
We had fighters like Rentaro Kimura, Ryosuke Nishida, Tursynbay Kulakhmet, Kamshybek Kunkabayev, Jin Sasaki, Odiljon Aslonov and Sung Min Yuh all in the running for what they've done in the past 12 months.
In the end however we thought "which prospect has got us to the point where we are more excited about their future than any other fighter, due to what they have done in 2020?"
When we asked ourselves that question the answer suddenly became quite easy, and that was Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (10-0, 5).
The 16 year old Thai went into 2020 with an 8-0 (4) record, and the reality was that he hadn't actually faced anyone. He had won TL's promotion's rather low key "The Fighter" tournament in 2019, but other than that, and being super young nothing was too notable about him. By the end of 2020 however he had become the youngest fighter to ever claim a WBA regional title, at the age of 16, and he had impressed in different ways in his two bouts.
His first bout of the year, in July, saw him out point Kulabdam Sor Jor Piekuthai over 10 rounds, proving his stamina, his mental attitude, his composure and and his boxing skills. It was an excellent boxing performance.
In his second bout of the year he again showed composure, showed he could cope with pressure and box. But he also showed killer instinct, and after figuring out Atchariya Wirojanasunobol over the first 3 rounds, he completely dismantled him in round 6, showing a much more destructive side to his boxing.
Fighting at 140lbs Phoobadin looks like he has everything need to develop into a genuine world class contender. He's not a Thai feasting on scraps to make his name, but is someone who is impressing against decent fighters, showing a lot to his boxing and is still only 16 years old. Sure there is a very real chance his promoters rush him, and push him, and he slips up in the next year or two, like other Thai youngsters, but there is also a chance that TL Promotions hold back on him a little, get him decent competition and, in 2024 for example, get him into the world rankings with 20 or so bouts behind him and move him towards a big title fight.
In 2020 this youngster proved he was an absolute prodigy and is, in our eyes, the deserving prospect of the year, and one of the most exciting youngsters in the sport today.
2019 - Sadriddin Akhmedov.
2018 - Ulugbek Sobirov
2016 - Hinata Maruta
Boxing can, and is, often full of hyperbole, and trying to build a fighter's reputation and name quickly to grab attention, whether the fighter deserves it or not. For every sensational prospect, like Naoya Inoue or Kosei Tanaka we've seen a flop who failed to cut it for whatever reason, such as Stamp Kiatniwat or Marvin Sonsona.
With that in mind we need to be cautious when raving about young prospects. However 16 year old Thai Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (10-0, 5) is making it really hard to not get over-excited. That is particularly true after what we saw him do earlier today Suamlum Night Bazaar, on a TL Promoted event shown live on Thairath. In fact what we saw from Phoobadin today makes it impossible not to suggest that Thailand have a genuine future champion making his name.
The unbeaten teenager, who turns 17 in January, was up against the unbeaten Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (13-1, 5) earlier today, with Phoobadin looking to defend his WBA Asia Light Welterweight title for the first time.
Coming in to this it looked like a real test for the teenager. After all Atchariya was a highly touted fighter himself until he ended up being arrested on drugs charges, which were later dropped. He had looked good in his in ring return earlier this year and was once tipped for big things. Whilst he was potentially on the slide he was still only 31 and was very much a fighter with a point to prove.
In the opening round Atchariya pressed the action, he was the one coming forward, but that was at some expense as Phoobadin began to read him, counter him with big single rights hands and mentally crack Atchariya. The pressure from the challenger continued in rounds 2 and 3, but round by round Phoobadin was building his success, growing into the fight, and slowly starting to make Atchariya apprehensive. The right hand counters were eye catching, the body shots were subtle, and the movement was smart. Phoobadin was slowly taking the fight out of Atchariya without putting a lot of effort into things.
By round 5 Atchariya was slowing to the point where looked unsure of himself. He seemed to realise that when he threw he was going to get countered. Not only was he becoming less willing to throw shows but Phoobadin was beginning to open up more himself, ending the round with a good flurry.
It seemed like Phoobadin was happy to out box Atchariya, fight a slow, deliberate bout, and take control slowly. Relying on his boxing and speed rather than anything else. Then everything changed as Phoobadin let his shots go, and landed a shot around the ear that seemed to totally take the legs away from Atchariya, who wobbled. A following wobbled him again, before he hit the canvas for the first knockdown. He got to his feet without any problems but Phoobadin smelled blood and went in for the kill, scoring a second knockdown and then a third forcing Atchariya's corner to come in to the ring before he got back up.
Despite fighting at a very slow tempo for 4 and a bit rounds Phoobadin impressed here. He showed he could box, he could get a read on an opponent, he could counter and then, when the time came for it, he could turn up the pace, put his foot on the gas and force a finish. This was a very, very complete performance for a 16 year old who will know there is pressure on his shoulders but seems very comfortable with that pressure and seems to be getting better fight after fight.
Tomorrow in Thailand we'll see a really interesting WBA Asia title bout at 140lbs as 16 year old champion Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 5) [แสงอาทิตย์ ลูกทรายกองดิน] takes on fellow unbeaten Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (13-0, 5) [อัจฉริยะ อำนาจมวยไทยยิม] on the latest episode of "The Fighter", promoted by TL Promotions and shown on Thairath.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout and both men made the 140lb limit, although they did so in different fashions.
The 31 year old Atchariya made weight first time, coming in under the limit at 139.8lbs. For him him this will be just the second bout for more than 2 years, after being arrested on drugs charges at an airport on route to a fight in Japan, against Andy Hiraoka. Those charges collapsed this year, but by then he had already all momentum in his career, his rankings, and had been out of the ring for well over a year by the time of his release. He is now looking to get his career back on track, and looked decent last time out, when he took a clear decision win over Kaewfah Tor Buamas in September. That was his first bout in over 2 years and came when Kaewfah actually replaced Phoobadin, who suffered an injury in the build up to the bout.
Whilst the challenger made weight with no issues, the champion actually did struggle to make weight. On his first attempt make weight he was 140.8lbs and needed a second attempt on the scales to make weight, hitting the limit of 140lbs dead on. It's unclear if he actually struggled with the weight, or just misjudged things, but it's a worry ahead of what is a very big step up in class for the youngster. A win here boosts his standing, and will push him on to the fringes of the WBA world rankings, but a loss will leave many wondering whether the 16 year wunderkind is really as good as touted.
Again for fans wanting to watch it will be aired from 4PM local time on Thairath, which is Thai TV channel 32.
(Image courtesy of - The Fighter Thailand)
It's fair to say one of the few winners of 2020 in terms of boxing has been Thailand, with the country giving us some excellent match making this year, and perfectly blending match ups in a way we have rarely seen from the country. The inability to import foreign foes has made the promoters step up and deliver in some very impressive ways. Not only have they been bringing prospects along but they have also been matching veterans in some very fun to watch bouts.
Whilst Thailand has given us some great bouts it did seem like one got away from us in September, when teenager sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 5) [แสงอาทิตย์ ลูกทรายกองดิน] had to pull out of a bout against Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (13-0, 5) [อัจฉริยะ อำนาจมวยไทยยิม] due to an injury. Thankfully however that bout didn't vanish into the ether and it's now been confirmed that the bout will take place later this month! In fact the bout is now set for November 28th on the next TL Promoted "The Fighter" show, which will be aired live on Thairath, and will be for the WBA Asia 140lb title that Phoobadin won earlier this year.
Originally the contest had been set for September 26th before the 16 year old Phoobadin was forced to take time to rest. As a result Atchariya took on Kaewfah Tor Buamas (29-7, 10) [แก้วฟ้า สวนปาล์มฟาร์มนก], aka Krai Setthaphon, instead whilst giving Phoobadin time to recover. That bout resulted in a decision win for Atachariya, who was fighting for the first time in over 2 years.
For those that aren't aware Atchariya went through a nightmare 2 years. In 2018 he was arrested at a Thai airport on drug charges, days before a fight in Japan against Andy Hiraoka. Those charges against him collapsed earlier this year, though they had cost him 18 or so months of his career. His return to normality was an emotional one, and his hunger to get back into the ring to make up for lost time is something that needs to be commended.
As for Phoobadin the teenage sensation is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Thailand, and has shown to be very advanced for his young age. He is now recovered from the injuries that kept him out of the ring in September and will be looking to score his most notable win to date as he takes on the 31 year old Atchariya.
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