Whilst a lot of Closet Classics are from a by gone era, and none of the fighters involved in them are still active, today's bout is one where both men are still in the sport, and one where they both came out looking like they were going to make an impact on the sport. The bout was one of the very best WBC Youth title bouts and is one that now, more than 6 years later, still stands the test of time as a truly sensational war. This is, for some, a bout that put the winner on the map, but in reality proved both men had guts, toughness and determination. It is a truly fantastic bout, and one that every fan owes themselves 20 minutes to sit down and enjoy all it's beautifully brutal action.
Daigo Higa (6-0, 6) vs Kongfah CP Freshmart (14-0, 10)
For the bout we travel back to the summer of 2015 and head over to Bangkok for a WBC Flyweight title bout between two unbeaten youngsters.
In one corner was 20 year old Thai local Kongfah CP Freshmart, also known as Jakkrawut Majoogoen. He had claimed the WBC Youth Light Flyweight title in just his second professional bout and defended it twice before moving up in weight, heading to Flyweight. Up to this point his competition had been lacking, though he had earned a good win over Filipino fighter Cris Alfante, the most notable name on his record by far.
Although he's not that well known now Kongfah was seen as one of the big hopes in Thai boxing at the time and seemed to be following the tried and tested route to the top in the country. Fight a lot at a young age, build up ring experience, build a close affiliation with a world title body and ride that through his career, eventually getting a world title fight. At this point he was looking talented, and was developing fight by fight into a decent prospect, but was still a long, long way from a world title fight.
In the other corner was 19 year old Daigo Higa, a rising Japanese youngster who was being groomed for success by former Light Flyweight world champion Yoko Gushiken. He had been a decent amateur at local level, but lacked top level domestic success when he turned professional in 2014. Despite not having much buzz about him he had quickly generated some buzz with a string of early wins, and was 6-0 (6) less than a year after his debut. Not only was he quietly creating some buzz, but he had notched a win overseas, stopping Pongpayu Chaiyonggym in South Korea, and had also stopped Cris Alfante, the fighter who had also been Kongfah's best win.
Despite looking destructive and impressive through his first 6 bouts there was a lot of questions left for Higa to answer. What was his chin like? What would happen when a fighter didn't buckle under his pressure? Did he have a gas tank? His 6 combined bouts up to this point had lasted just 11 combined rounds, he had never gone beyond 4 rounds, and had only gone beyond 2 rounds once. On paper he was stepping up, and was going to have to answer some very serious questions about his potential.
Going in we had huge expectations for this bout, but it easily out did those expectations, delivering in a huge way!
From the off we were seeing Higa coming forward and Kongfah trying to fight off the ropes. It wasn't the typical feeling out round we are so accustomed too and instead it was an exciting start to the bout, with the two men really not messing about. Although neither of the youngsters hurt the other in the first round, it was exciting and set the stage for what was to come, which was a high paced and exciting war.
In round 2 the pace increased again, with both men landing some solid shots in the middle of the ring. Sadly for Kongfah he was finding himself being backed up regularly but the fluid offense and combination punching of Higa. To his credit however the Thai fought well off the ropes and landing some solid counters through the round, testing Higa's chin and making the Japanese fighter pay for over-committing to his offensive work.
Just 2 rounds in it was clear we were getting something very special and the action only got better in round 3, a low key Asian round of the year that saw several swings in momentum and some some relentless work from both. This was amazing action, a phone booth war and intense none stop thrill a minute stuff from men with a combined 20 bouts between them.
We won't ruin any more of the bout, but if you like phone booth wars, non stop action and seeing a future world champion in their first serious test this is well worth of 20 minutes of any ones time. This really is something very special, very enjoyable, and showed how damn good boxing in Thailand was in 2015.
This might be a newer classic, but it was an instant classic!
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features