When you have two fighters known for their exciting styles, which mix aggression, power and scary toughness, face off we tend to expect a special type of fight. Today we look at once such fight from the early part of this century, and this really was a properly brutal war that saw the fighter landing heavy leather through, in what turned out to be an instant classic. Despite being an instant classic it's one we suspect most fans haven't actually seen, making it a perfect fight for this series.
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (37-2-1, 31) vs Lakva Sim (16-2-1, 13)
Thailand's Theera Phongwan went by a number of names, such as Yodsanan 3-K Battery, which he was called in this fight, and Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai. No matter what name he was using he was always an aggressive, hungry fighter who came forward and looked to take the heads off of his opponents. Due to his style and power he was dubbed the "Thai Tyson" on his rise through the ranks. He had suffered a couple of early set backs, losing twice in his first 10 bouts, before reeling off a long unbeaten run to earn a shot at the WBA title. In many ways he was the Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of his era, a hard hitting southpaw from Si Sa Ket. Like Srisaket, Yodsanan also got his shot on the back of his destructive run, rather than the level of his competition.
Lakva Sim on the other hand a 30 year old Mongolian who had won the WBA Super Featherweight title in 1999 when he beat him and broke down popular Japanese star Takanori Hatakeyama. His reign was a short one, losing the title in controversial fashion to Jong Kwon Baek, but he was owed a second shot due to the controversy of the loss. He had racked up 5 straight wins following his title loss, and had looked destructive against the likes of Hidekazu Matsunobu. Although he was getting on Sim was still very highly regarded for his power, aggression, toughness and thrilling style. He had been unlucky in both losses, both split decision defeats in South Korea to more experienced fighters, and had given everyone he had faced absolute fits with his all out aggression.
Given the fact both men had similar hard hitting styles it's fair to expect this to be a war, and it really lives up to the expectations.
From the opening round both men were finding themselves in range, and both were finding themselves launching some huge bombs, with Sim often forcing Yodsanan on to the back foot and catching him with hard short right hands up top. The Thai responded in kind with some big left hands and nasty body shots. By the end of the first round we were already seeing both men needing to prove their toughness. Things then ramped up a gear in round 2 as both men had moments where their power and aggression forced the other backwards.
With the sun beaming down on the two men, in an outdoor event in Thailand, we would have expected the bout to slow down, a lot, but instead the pace remained hot. The heat and humidity seemed to take their foot work and movement away, rather than their output, and both men continued landing huge head shots and wicked body shots.
Even when the pace did, eventually slow, it seemed that we still had a lot of brilliant back and forth action with Sim the one forcing the pace, with his pressure. Yodsanan, who should have been the man more adapt with the Thai conditions, seemed to be the one flagging more, but even then he still had real bursts of activity and huge power shots in what was a genuine test of both men's toughness and mental fortitude.
We don't think many fans will have seen this punishing war, but really if you're reading this, you owe it to yourself to get 50 minutes of free and watch this all heavy handed, bombs away thriller from 2002!
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