In December we are going to be sharing our "20 for 20", a list of 20 fighters to keep an eye on for the new year. Ahead of that we will be looking at a number of fighters who just missed out on that list.
These are the fighters who perhaps won't be ready for a world title by the end of next year, but we feel will make a mark in the year, and go on to do big things in the following year or two. Typically they are the prospects who perhaps need a little more time to develop, or who are still a bit too young for the big fights, or maybe just don't seem like they are quite there yet. These are our "Honourable mentions - 20 for 20" fighters and these will be posted daily until the start of December!
Thanongsak Simsri (12-0, 11)
Teenage prospects, especially those from Thailand, can be rather hit and miss though we suspect that Thanongsak Simsri may well be one of the real hits for the future. The Thai, already dubbed "Srisaket II" in the Thai press, has already managed to make an impression in Asia his talent has earned him attention in both Thailand and in Japan. The youngster is currently working with both Kiatkreerin in Thailand and Green Tsuada in Japan and has has impressed in both countries whilst looking like a definitive one to watch for the future.
Blessed with an exciting and aggressive style, power and work rate he has the physical and technical tools to build a very promising career off. Combine that to working with two solid promotional outfits, both of whom seem to share a philosophy of how to get the most out of the kid and you already have the skills and financial backing for him to go places. The one thing to find out now is whether he has the mental capacity to be a star, and what he's like when he's forced to fight through some adversity. We suspect we'll find that out in December, when he faces the world ranked Christian Bacolod, and if he comes through that test then there is no reason that 2020 can't be a massive year for the talented youngster. Getting past Bacolod isn't going to be easy, but it is the sort of test that we love to see prospects take and the sort of match up that will see a fighter answer serious questions.
Expectations for 2020?
We don't think the upcoming bout with Bacolod is a foregone conclusion, but either way we have big hopes for Simsri in 2020.
If Simsri beats Bacolod then he'll likely break into the IBF world rankings, and we suspect the plan would be to move on wards and upwards with bouts against fellow world ranked fighters, or even regional title holders. We had heard early in 2019 that he was aiming for major regional honours in 2020 and a win over Bacolod would be a huge step towards bouts for OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title fights.
With a win over Bacolod not being a gimme a loss is certainly possible, and if that happens it's not the end for Simsri. Instead we'd expect his team to put him in with tough regional journeymen from the Philippines to get him some solid rounds, push his stamina and develop the areas they view as his weaknesses, for us that's mainly a lack of experience. With 3 or 4 good, experience building bouts in 2020, there would be no reason why 2021 couldn't see him in the regional title picture.
Either way we see him battling for regional titles sooner rather than later and given his age there's no need to rush him.
For those who haven't seen Thanongsak Simsri we have included his bout with Manop Audomphanawari below.
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