For today's Closet Classic we don't go too far back into the closet, in fact it's less than 10 years, but we do get one hell of a war, in fact we get to cover what was, arguably, the fight of the year for 2011. It was a fight that saw even Western journalists talking about a Minimumweight title bout, and was something very, very special, very exciting, and a real must watch!
Akira Yaegashi (14-2, 7) vs Pornsawan Porpramook (23-3-1, 16)
To fully understand this bout we need to roll the clocks back to October 2011. At this point Pornsawan Porpranook was the WBA Minimumweight champion, having narrowly beat Muhammad Rachman in Indonesia. In his first defense he travelled over to Japan to take on Akira Yaegashi.
For those who perhaps aren't too familiar with with Pornsawan, aka Somporn Seeta, the Thai was an aggressive monster. He was dubbed the "Tank" and up to this point his only set backs came to Donnie Neites, Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Edgar Sosa, with the loss to Sosa coming at 108lbs. He was tough, aggressive, hit solidly for a Minimumweight and was a real physical handful. He had fought in 4 previous world title bouts, before eventually winning the title against Rachman, and was very much a world class fighter, even if he was just shy of the divisional elite.
In 2020 we all look back fondly on Akira Yaegashi as one of the modern day great warriors. A must watch icon with a sizeable international cult following. In 2011 however the Japanese warrior was an unknown outside of Japan. In Japan he was regarded as a hopeful, and had been fast tracked to an OPBF title in his 6th bout and a world title shot in his 8th bout. Despite falling short in his first world title bout, in 2007 to Den Junlaphan, he had rebuilt and went on to win the Japanese title in 2009 before building to a second world title fight, this one with Pornsawan. Like the Thai Yaegashi was an exciting warrior to watch, and despite having been a solid amateur was very much a blood and guts warrior as a professional.
Looking back it seems obvious this was going to be a thriller, though few would have expected what we got.
The opening minute saw the two men feel each other out, but soon afterwards the bout quickly moved into the next gear as Pornsawan applied intense pressure and Yaegashi countered it brilliantly with his speed and footwork. It was smart from Yaegashi, who was using the ring, but it didn't slow down the pressure from the Thai who kept coming forward.
The pressure of Pornsawan was stepped up again in round 2, and he began to slowly drag Yaegashi into his fight. It seemed like he dropped the Japanese fighter midway through the round, though it was ruled a slip. By the end of the round Pornsawan was beginning to get Yaegashi on to the ropes and that success from the Thai was something he was hoping to build on in round 3. Despite his success Pornsawan was regularly being countered with combinations and walking into shots from Yaegashi, giving the bout an amazing back and forth feel.
From there on the action intensified, round by round things got more and more exciting, more and more thrilling as Yaegashi began to stand his ground more often. With Yaegashi willingly trading we began to get a fight that was becoming an instant classic. What had started nicely quickly warmed up massively in the middle rounds, to give us a bout that quickly took on the feel of being something truly spectacular.
The middle rounds were sensational and the longer the bout went on the more, and more brutal this became with rounds 8, 9 and 10, being truly incredible! This wasn't a crude brawl, but was a bout that had skills, action, a building intensity and real excitement. This was something very, very special!
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