Whilst we get a lot of great all-Japanese wars we don't tend to see the same in other countries, and fantastic all-Korea, all-Filipino and all-Thai bouts are surprisingly rather rare. This is, genuinely quite disappointing, but easily explained, with top talent in those countries rarely facing off. It's not unheard of, but it is rare. Today we look at one of those rarities are we bring you an amazing all-Thai bout from 2008, pitting two world class Thai's against each other in a world title eliminator, that delivered in amazing fashion.
Somsak Sithchatchawal (56-2-1, 43) vs Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (32-1, 22)
We suspect many fans who follow the lower weights will be familiar with both Samsak Sithchatchawak and Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, as they were really notable during their careers. Somsak is best known for his incredible, 2006 bout with Mayhar Monshipour, which saw him win the WBA Super Bantamweight title, whilst Poonsawat was the guy who had to cancel a bout with Guillermo Rigondeaux due to an irregularity in his blood test. In 2008 the two men clashed.
Before we talk about the clash lets talk about the fighters in a little more detail.
Somsak, as mentioned, fought in "that bout" with Monshipour. Sadly his reign with the WBA Super Bantamweight title was short lived and he was stopped by Celestino Caballero in his first defense. Despite the short reign he had rebuilt his reputation with 10 straight wins to climb towards another world title fight. By 2008 he was highly ranked again and had earned his place in a world title eliminator. In the opposite corner would been Poonsawat. In the ring Somsak was a tough, talented, skilled southpaw, who proved he could battle off the ropes against Monshipour and was able ti box in the middle of the ring. He wasn't a pure brawl, but could brawl when he needed to. Whilst he had under-rated skills his big strength was his power, and at Supe Bantamweight he hit hard enough to get get opponents respect, and worked at a high enough pace to grind opponents down.
Somsak was the only one of these tow to be proven world class. Poonsawat had been the WBA "interim" Bantamweight champion in 2005 and 2006, he won that title with a brilliant win against Ricardo Cordoba and defended it once, against Leo Gamez, before losing to Volodymyr Sydorenko in a bout for the main title. He was an aggressive but technically sound fighter and despite not being a pure KO puncher was a fighter with very solid power . Whilst many will remember him for the fact the Rigondeaux fell apart, he had actually been a very solid fighter before that incident. In fact before the issues with the Rigondeaux bout, in 2012, he had actually gone all the way to winning a Super Bantamweight title and would have been one of the best opponents on Rigondeaux's record had they fought.
From the opening bell it was Poonsawat coming forward, pressing and attacking. Somsak was looking to soak up the pressure, as he had against Monshipour. Despite being the aggressor Poonsawat was smart with his aggression. He was looking to apply a lot of pressure with is footwork, and fire off combinations with both hands when Somsak was there to hit. He wasn't recklessly coming in, but was fighting smart.
The pressure from Poonsawat ramped up in round 2 as we began to get more of a war. Somsak again soaked it up, but took more punishment than he had in the opening round as Poonsawat's clean power shots rocked him and drew screams from the fans. Somsak responded by firing back and we were already getting something very special. Somsak's shots back at Poonsawat weren't always the best but he was looking to counter his countryman. In just 2 rounds we were already getting a bout that was stating to resemble Somsak's bout with Monshipour.
The pace did drop slightly to begin round 3, but it didn't slow for long and the action grew in intensity as the round went on.
We'll leave this here, so as to not spoil what happens, but the bout is well and truly worth a watch. Round by round the two men were knocking lumps out of each other in a truly spectacular all-Thai bout. This was very much fit to be a world title eliminator. It was intense, exciting, power shots being thrown regularly from both and was a perfect clash of styles. It may not have been as good as Somsak's war with Monshipour, but it's still a brilliant bout on it's own merit.
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