Late yesterday Matchroom announced the line up for their card on June 25th, and it looks set to be a special show, with a number of major fights on the card, at 112lbs, 115lbs, 122lbs and 147lbs.
Whilst the card is one of the best of the year on paper, we really need to focus on two bouts for the card.
One of those is a WBC Super Flyweight title bout, as the talented Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez (15-0, 10) defends his title for the first time, taking on former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น]. For Rodriguez this will be his first defense of the title, which he won back in February when he beat Carlos Cuadras, incidentally he got that bout when Srisaket had to pull out of a scheduled bout with Cuadras due to nephritis, though was rumoured to have contracted either Covid19 or Aids.
For Srisaket this will be a chance to become a 3-time champion, though a loss to the incredibly talented and young Rodriguez would likely end his career at the top. As for Rodriguez, wins over Cuadras and Srisaket back to back would put him in the running for Fighter of the Year.
Another bout on this card of major interest to us is a WBA "Super" an IBF Super Bantamweight title defense by Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович], who will be taking on American challenger Ronny Rios (33-3, 16), in a bout that should be a lot of fun. This was arranged for November, but was scrapped on fight week when Rios contracted covid and was replaced by Jose Velasquez, who gave the unbeaten champion a good 12 round work out.
Other bouts on the card include a bout between WBC Flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez (18-2-0-1, 14) and McWilliams Arroyo (21-4-0-1, 16), who are facing off in a rematch of their 2021 No Contest, and a fight featuring unified female Welterweight queen Jessica McCaskill (11-2, 4), against a yet to be announced opponent.
Earlier today news broke that former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] had tested positive for Covid ahead of his rematch, this Saturday, against Carlos Cuadras (39-4-1, 27). Since that it has been revealed that Srisaket had been replaced by Jesse Rodriguez (14-0, 10), with Rodriguez and Cuadras fighting for the WBC title.
Following that story news has now broke from Srisaket's team announcing that the Thai fighter hasn't tested positive for Covid after all. However the bout is still off due to a medical issue that has affected Srisaket, with promoter Surachart Phisitvuthinun, the head of Nakornluang, explaining that that things will be addressed in more depth later today, or early morning tomorrow for fans in Thailand.
Given the medical situation we want to wish Srisaket all the best, and hope that it's nothing serious, though this isn't the first time a Thai boxer has had medical issues in the US, with Poonsawat Kratingdeanggym testing positive for a blood disorder ahead of a fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux, which was originally reported to have been HIV.
On Friday in Thailand world ranked 20 year old Thanongsak Simsri (15-0, 13) ended a stretch of inactivity as he returned and stopped Nutthakorn Sungsevee (0-1) in 3 rounds. The bout, held at the Kiatkririn Fitness & Martial Art in Bang Phli, wasn't supposed to be anything more than a rust shaker for Thanongsak and it served it's purpose.
Since then rumours have swirled through the Thai boxing scene regarding what is next for Simsri.
In 2020 the Thai had travelled over to Japan, where he was supposed to face WBA "Super" and Ring Magazine Light Flyweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人]. That bout was all set to go, and Simsri went through 2 weeks of isolation in Japan, before the contest was cancelled at the 11th hour following Kyoguchi testing positive for Covid19. Despite the cancellation Simsri's team managed to get a contractual agreement for their man to face Kyoguchi in the future.
Since the cancellation of that bout Kyoguchi has signed with Matchroom and made his US debut, defeating Axel Aragon Vega just over a week ago in Dallas.
The rumours now are that Kyoguchi and Simsri will indeed fight soon, in fact it appears their bout could be next, and could well be taking place in the US, and could be part of a rather stacked card featuring another Thai in a major bout.
The chatter from Thailand is that due to travel limitations Simsri would have a tricky time getting into Japan, thus staging the bout in the US would be much easier, and be possible much sooner. As a result the US option is being proposed by Simsri's team.
There is also talk that the bout could take place on the under-card of the much anticipated rubber bout between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] and Juan Francisco Estrada (42-3, 28), who both picked up wins just over a week ago. Srisaket is the mandatory for Estrada, and is eager for the chance to become a 3-time WBC Super Flyweight champion.
Whilst it's all very much "in the works", and a mix of rumours and speculation, it is interesting to note just how much Simsri's team are chasing this bout, and how great it would be to see the little men again getting a chance to shine in front of an international stage.
To kick off an exciting weekend of boxing fight fans turned their attention to Thailand for a WP Boxing event shown on WorkPoint in Thailand and DAZN internationally. It wasn't a massive show, but it was a rare chance for fight fans in the west to see boxing from Thailand on a premium service, and it was a chance to see a nice mix of young prospects, veterans and notable names all in action.
The DAZN broadcast of the show kicked off with a fairly low key bout, as Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (8-2, 4) made light work of Wichet Sengprakhon (11-10, 6), stopping him in 3 rounds in a rematch of a bout the men had back in December. With this win Danai has now reeled off 6 straight victories after starting his career 2-2 and it seems clear the youngster does have some potential, even if Wichet was an incredibly limited opponent. As for Wichet he has now lost 4 of his last 5 including 2 to Danai.
The first major bout of note on the show saw WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight champion Phongsaphon Panyakum (12-1, 6) [พงศพล ปัญญาคำ] retain his title in impressive fashion, as he battered former world title challenger Karoon Jarupianlerd (44-11, 20) [เพชรบางบอน ศิษย์หมอวิวัฒน์], aka Petchbarngborn Kokietym, over 10 rounds.
The opening round was one sided, with Phongsaphon coming forward, pressing his man backwards and pounding him against the ropes. Rounds 2 and 3 were even more one sided, with Karoon doing his best to protect himself and land the occasional counter, the best of which came late in round 3. Sadly for Karoon he simply couldn't get Phongsaphon's respect and the younger man continued to walk him down round after round. Despite the pressure from Phongsaphon the veteran wasn't just folding however and in round 5 he managed to walk the younger man on to plenty of good shots. Sadly for him they merely seemed to irritate the younger, fresher, hungrier man, rather than really bother him.
Despite taking a hammering round, after round, after round, Karoon refused to go away and as we went into the second half of the fight he had more and more success, landing some lovely clean uppercuts as Phongsaphon held his feet up close. They continued to be more of a hinderance than a real problem for Phongsaphon, though they did show that the youngster did have a lot of work to do defensively, even if he was in control of the action.
After 10 rounds the decision was a formality with Phongsaphon taking a clear unanimous decision, with scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 98-92a second time, though credit goes to Karoon for making this a fun bout, with his gritty determination and will to win showing through out the contest. Despite his excellent effort it is worth noting that even if he had won Karoon wouldn't have won the title given he failed to make weight for the bout, coming in at 116.7lbs.
The main event of the bout saw former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] take on former WBA Minimumweight champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-8-1, 27) [ขวัญไทย ศิษย์หมอเส็ง], also known as Ekkawit Songnui, in what was a clear tune up for Srisaket.
From the opening round it was clear the talented 2-time world champion had little respect for his older, smaller foe and applied constant, though very basic pressure. Kwanthai, to his credit, tried to fight back in spurts, but was second best in every area and was dropped for the first time in rounds 3 as the pressure got too much for him. Kwanthai managed to beat the count, and complete the round, though remained on his stool at the start of round 4, with a badly swollen left eye.
Despite winning this without needing to break a sweat, we suspect Srisaket would have wanted more than just 9 minutes of action here to shake whatever ring rust he had. He looked dominant from the opening bell, but never got out of second gear. As for Kwanthai this was another performance from him that suggests he simply hasn't got it any more, and should seriously consider leaving the sport rather than taking any more punishment.
The final notable bout on the show saw rising Super Bantamweight contender Chainoi Worawut (14-0-1, 12) [ชายน้อย วรวุฒิ] defeatformer 2-time world champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-10, 36) [ผึ้งหลวง ส.สิงห์อยู่], and retaining WBC Asia Super Bantamweight title.
Sadly at the weigh in Pungluang had missed weight, by a staggering 5lbs, making him ineligible to win the title, though the bout went ahead regardless.
The opening couple of rounds saw Chainoi control the action well behind his jab, keeping the usually aggressive Pungluang at range. The veteran came to fight, but he was struggling to close the distance, with Chainoi not only having the better jab but also the better movement and quicker footwork. In round 3 we finally saw Pungluang having some sustained success, getting close, and showing his trademark smile as he began to cut the cut the distance. His success parlayed into more success in round 4 as he landed some huge overhand rights on to the youngster, who was being give a genuine chin check by the veteran. The youngster was outworking and out landing Pungluang still, but things were getting tougher for the promising youngster.
Despite some worries in rounds 3 and 4 Chainoi managed to get back behind his boxing and ended up controlling much the rest of the bout, though he did seemed to be buzzed at one point in round 7as a right hand from Pungluang landed clean. That big shot aside the youngster never looked too phased by the veteran, who seemed to lack the fire and vigour we've seen from him in the past. In fact it seemed like he was there with the purpose of asking questions of Chainoi, without really going through the gears himself and showing what he can really do.
After 10 rounds it was a wide decision win for Chainoi, and his biggest win to date, but it felt like there was more both men could have done here. On paper this is a good win for the youngster, but it wasn't the type of bout that will prepare him for a world title bout any time soon.
Tomorrow in Thailand we'll see former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (49-5-1, 42) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] kick off his 2021 campaign with a tune up fight, as he takes on former WBA Minimumweight champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-7-1, 27) [ขวัญไทย ศิษย์หมอเส็ง] at the Workpoint Studio in Bang Phun, Thailand.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 115lb limit with no issues at all.
On the scales Srisaket, the natural Super Flyweight, was comfortably under the limit, weighing in at 114.7lbs. Despite being the natural Super Flyweight, and being under the limit, he didn't look particularly ripped, though in fairness he has never been a body beautiful type of fighter. Instead he looked comfortable at the weight. Although some might try and sell this as a major fight for him his Thai backers have made it clear that this is a tune up bout, and have eyes on bigger and better things, including a third bout with either Juan Francisco Estrada or Roman Gonzalez.
Kwanthai came in slightly heavier than Srisaket, weighing 114.9lbs and actually looked in genuinely good shape, in fact he looked as good here as he did when he was fighting at 105lbs earlier in his career. That was a surprise given he's now 38 and has looked way past his best in recent years, in fact he's 9-6 in his last 15 dating back to September 2013! Interestingly it seems he's genuinely up for this one, despite being a massive under-dog, and is looking to try and roll back the clock. Although he's rightfully the massive under-dog, it is worth noting that he has only ever lost once to a Thai opponent, though he has never faced a Thai quite like Srisaket before.
For fans wanting to watch this one it will be aired live on DAZN worldwide and on Workpoint for those in Thailand.
(Image credit - WP Boxing)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!