By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
BAVET,CAMBODIA- A boxing ring was set up in the middle of the casino floor of the Felix Hotel and Casino. There was already a captive audience at hand as gamblers gathered around the tables hours before the event actually started. The crowd was immediately drawn to the ring action and were not disappointed.
The main event saw Vietnamese Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen beat Thailand’s Kanyarat Yoohanngoh in a hard fought match for the vacant WBO Female mini-flyweight title. It was a feisty affair marred by a lot of holding, which cost Yoohanngoh a point in the third. In the end, Nguyen got a split verdict from judges Surat Soikrachang (Thailand) and Jung Taek Lee (S.Korea) – 99-90,with Edward Ligas (Philippines) scoring for Kanyarat 95-94.
Nguyen is now 4-0,1KO and could be in line for a title shot. Yoohanngoh drops to 7-5,4KO’s.
The ring became a madhouse after the last bout as fans and press members mingled inside.
Uzbek boxer Olimjon Nazarov overcame a tough Orlie Silvestre by unanimous decision to retain his WBO Oriental Flyweight title. Nazarov was the bigger man during the weigh-in and his size advantage became more obvious on fight night. Silvestre, the Philippine Light Flyweight champion, tried to use his lateral movement and speed. But Nazarov’s edge in power during exchanges enabled him to build a lead. In the ninth, facial swelling developed on Silvestre. It gradually became worse but did not hamper his vision and ability to fight as he tried to win the final two rounds but it was not enough. The judges scores – Sungworn Klungboonkrung (Thailand) – 116-112,Mekin Sumon -115-113 and Jung Taek Lee (S.Korea) – 117-111.
Nazarov is now 22-5,12KO’s. He was ranked number nine by the WBO going into this bout. Silvestre suffers another loss on the road and drops to 15-6-2,8KO’s.
The WBO bouts were supervised by WBO VP for Asia Pacific Leon Panoncillo.
For the undercard matches - Abdurasul Ismoilov (8-1,5KO’s) of Uzbekistan beat grizzled Filipino veteran Adones Aguelo (33-21-2,23KO’s) by TKO end of round two due to a cut on Aguelo’s right eyelid inflicted by a legal blow.
There were two more Vietnam vs Thailand matches - Hong Quan Dinh (5-1-1,2KO) stopped Roonayut Boonraksa (8-9,1KO) in the fifth round with Boonraksa being knocked down in rounds three and five. Minh Phat Sam (6-3,5KO’s) beat Gerttipong Kumsahwat (3-6,3KO’s) by TKO in the second round.
Van Thao Tran (13-1,8KO’s) of Vietnam won a lopsided six round decision Filipino Aries Buenavides (13-5,7KO’s) and in another female match, Vietnamese Tran Thi Linh made her debut with a unanimous verdict over Bo Mi Re Shin of South Korea. This fight card was supervised and sanctioned by the Professional Boxing Commission (PBC),International.
Photos - THI THU NHI NGUYEN (LEFT) AND OLIMJON NAZARO
Earlier this year we reported that Tran Van Thao (11-0, 8) [Trần Văn Thảo] would be making his US debut in April. Now we have a lot more details of that bout.
As per the original report the Vietnamese fighter will be fighting in Florida, with the date of the bout now being set on April 12th. The bout will be for a lightly regarded WBF "world" title, presumably at Super Flyweight though that was unconfirmed, and will see the unbeaten Thao battle against Argentina's Lucas Emmanuel Fernandez (12-2-1, 9).
Thao, originally dubbed the "Vietnamese Mayweather" though now going by the nickname of "The Trigger", made huge news in his homeland in 2017 when he won an interim regional WBC title. Following that title win he has has picked up 4 low profile wins, all in Thailand. This bout with Fernandez is huge news in Vietnamese, but those circles are certainly small and he's not a given to actually win the bout, and a loss could be a big hit the growing Vietnamese scene.
Fernandez is a 27 year old who made his debut in 2013 as a Flyweight. He has fought mostly in Argentina, though his last 2 bouts have been on the road, stopping Joshua Franco in Puerto Rico and losing to Gideon Buthelezi in South Africa. Although he's seemingly been selected to make Thai look good he is very much a live opponent here and won't be sharing the ring with Thao to just roll over and improve the Vietnamese fighters profile.
At the moment details in regards to TV are yet to be announced, though its seen as likely that the Vietnamese fans will be getting the bout shown live, some how.
According to Vietnamese sources unbeaten local boxing star Tran Van Thao (11-0, 8) [Trần Văn Thảo] is set to have a huge 2019.
Today it was announced that a press conference will be held with the unbeaten fighter, on January 17th in Saigon to announce that he will be fighting for a WBF title in Florida in April.
The full details of the planned press conference haven't been made public yet, but the news has rippled through the Vietnamese sports paper with Thao being seen as the countries only notable boxing hope, and with his US debut now looking like it's only a few months away we may be about to hear a lot more about him.
Although unknown outside of Asia Thao is noteworthy star in Vietnam, where he has been their face of boxing. He was their first fighter to win a WBC Asian Boxing Council title, and was a former national standout. His US debut is set to be the first US bout from a genuine Vietnamese prospect, though of course Dat Nguyen (20-3, 7) was a Vietnamese-American who fought his whole career in the US, and that will further enhanced his profile.
The January press conference will be a massive one for Vietnamese boxing as Thao, who was once dubbed the Mayweather of Vietnam, looks like he is about to become a big star in his homeland, despite struggling to make his mark on a bigger audience so far.
It's worth noting that Thao mae his debut in Vietnam, back in 2015, and since then has done a mini tour of Asia with bouts in Korea, Philippines and Thailand.
(Imagge courtesy of enh14.vn)
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