Later this week fans in Thailand will get the chance to see unbeaten local Wanheng Menayothin (40-0, 15) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] defend his WBA Minimumweight title against Japanese speedster Go Odaira (12-4-3, 1) [大平 剛]. Ahead of that bout the two men met face-to-face and Odaira took part in a public training session.
That training session took place today and saw Odaira work up a real sweat during a spar as he tried to use the opportunity to get used to the conditions in Thailand, including the humidity and heat, both real issues for visiting fighters. Although the bout isn't until this coming Thursday Odaira has been in Thailand preparing for the conditions for a few days now and appears to be relatively comfortable for his first fight outside of Japan.
At the training session the challenger admitted that he knew the champion was strong, and that Japanese fighters have a historically poor record in world title fights in Thailand, but he seemed confident and seems to have focussed on a gameplan that is based around his speed and movement. Of course using a gameplan like that in Thai conditions is incredibly draining and if it's a gameplan that will work, it will take a lot of energy and stamina from the challenger.
It's thought that if Wanheng over-comes Odaira then we are set to see the champion return to the ring in summer to face Saul Juarez in his next defense, however their are some thinking that Wanheng may be looking past Odaira with comments regarding Juarez and it may be that the challenger could make the most of this. Saying that Wanheng is the clear favourite and he seems to be just as confident of victory as the challenger.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
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