Through boxing history we've seen so many amazing boxers, great fighters and those with otherworldly abilities. For us however they aren't, be default, the ones we most enjoy. Instead we prefer the fighters who get in the ring and put on a show. The fighters who come to fight, and put in a great every time they are in the ring. Win or or lose, they put on a show. Typically those fighters are aggressive fighters, with their offensive being their best form of defense and their game plans being built around pressure and output.
One such fighter was Pornsawan Porpramook (28-6-1, 17), aka "The Tank".
Pornsawan wasn't some brilliant boxer mover. He was some counter punching genius. He wasn't a slippery fighter, who got in and got out, whilst making the opponents question themselves. Instead he was a rugged, aggressive fighter who put in some amazing performance during his career. Sadly his most memorable performances came in losses, notably to Akira Yaegashi and Ryo Miyazaki, but those losses helped enhance his reputation as a tough man who loved a tear up.
Today we're not going to focus on how fun he was to watch however, and instead we're going to bring you the 5 most significant wins for... Pornsawan Porpramook
1-Juharum Silaban (November 28th 2001)
The significant win for Pornsawan came in just his second professional bout and saw him defeat Indonesian novice Juharum Silaban in Sa Kaeo, Thailand. On paper this looks like a nothing bout, very early in the careers of both men, and in reality it meant little to Silaban, who was stopped in 3 rounds and never really got his career going afterwards. It was however a meaningful win for Pornsawan.
The win saw Pornsawan claim his first professional title, the PABA Minimumweight title. Unlike some fighters with the PABA belt Pornsawan made the belt his, and went on to make 7 defenses before vacating the belt more than 2 years later. At the point where he vacated belt he had amassed more defenses than anyone else, he had given the title real value, and had proven the PABA belt had fighters wanting to hold it. Prior to him winning it the previous 7 reigns had seen a combined 9 defenses. He helped legitimise it, and that is genuinely something worthy of note.
Interestingly Pornsawan would later claim the PABA title for a second time, running up 8 defenses in his second reign, to make 15 career defenses of the PABA title, more than any other fighter in the titles history.
2-Sonny Boco (April 11th 2002)
Sadly not all wins are significant for positive reasons and sadly Pornsawan's third professional win was certainly significant for negative reasons as well as a positive one. It was a 5th round KO win over previously unbeaten Filipino fighter Sonny Boco, a win that saw Pornsawan move to 3-0 (3).
We'll start with the positive reason, this bout marked Pornsawan's first defense of the PABA title and was also his international debut, with the bout taking place in Cambodia. It was also one of only two wins Pornsawan had on foreign soil, we'll talk about the other one a little later.
Sadly though this bout left Boco with a severe brain injury, which ended his career and saw him requiring two major operations to save his life. This is sadly a win for Porpramook that was significant mostly for a negative reason, that completely changed the life of another young man.
3-Nico Thomas (August 1st 2002)
In just his 4th professional bout Pornsawan took on former IBF Minimumweight champion Nico Thomas, from Indonesia. The highly experienced Thomas was well beyond his best at this point, aged 36 and more than a decade removed from losing his IBF world title, but still had name value and recognition regionally in the 105lb division. He was someone that was being as a stepping stone by many of the emerging Minimumweight's of the era and in his previous 4 bouts he had shared the ring with both Eagle Den Junlaphan and Muhammad Rachman.
Given that Thomas had been stopped in 4 of his previous 6 bouts there was no real surprise that Pornsawan stopped him, doing so in a round, but the real significance here was Pornsawan stopping a former world champion in just his 4th professional bout. This was a clear statement from his team that they were confident in their guy to be a star, even if he was just picking up a win against a "name" here. A very faded name.
4-Sonny Boy Jaro (March 29th 2006)
After starting his career with a number of notable wins Pornsawan's career then took the same type of road as so many Thai fighters. That's the road of activity, over quality, and he regularly defended the PABA title against C and D level visitors from the Philippines Indonesia and even South Africa. It was the part of his career that was all about building up his in ring identity and letting him have ring time. That portion of his career saw him face only a single opponent of note. That was future WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro.
At this point in his career Jaro was picking up minor titles, having won the GAB title and a regional IBF title, but didn't look like he was really going anywhere. He was, essentially, a journeyman fighter, taking fights where he could and when he could, and had fought in both Indonesia and South Africa the previous year. Pornsawan would go on to stop Jaro in 5 rounds, scoring a win that at the time didn't really stand out much. Of course Jaro would later bounce back from this loss and, in 2012, beat the legendary Pongsaklek Wonjongkam for the WBC Flyweight title. This was certainly a win that aged well, even if it meant nothing at the time.
5-Muhammad Rachman (July 30th 2011)
When Pornsawan beat Jaro in 2006 he moved to 16-0 (13) and was 28 years old. he would then continue to tick over until 2007, when he got his first world title fight and lost to Donnie Nietes. Soon after he would lose to Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Edgar Sosa, before suffering a draw in a rematch with Oleydong. He had gone from 20-0 (15) to 22-3-1 (46), with 4 set backs in world title bouts. He was also 33, an old age for a Minimumweight. Then he got one more shot as he took on WBA Minimumweight champion Muhammad Rachman over in Jakarta.
Rachman had won the title in a massive upset against Kwanthai Sithmorseng in April 2011 and was now making his first defense against the struggling Pornsawan. Despite being the champion, and being at home, Rachman wasn't able to do enough to keep his title. Instead Pornsawan took home a razor thin majority decision, to win the title, scoring his career defining win in the process and finally, at the 5th time of trying, taking a world title.
That win, Pornsawan's second on foreign soil was, by far and away, the highlight of his career. The defining moment for the Thai Tank. Sadly however the success was short lived, as he lost the title in his first defense, less than 3 months later, to Akira Yaegashi in a gem of a fight from late 2011. After that he struggled to get any moment going and retired after a huge upset loss in 2013 to Rey Loreto, hanging up the gloves with a 28-6-1 (17) record.
We are now just a few days away from the return of boxing in both Japan and Thailand as Asia begins to gear up towards the sport taking off once again. Despite that we will be continuing to looks at fights we could have had with another article in the "Fight we wish we had..." series. This time we're looking relatively recent history with a bout that would have been great to watch around a decade ago, and had the ingredients to be a real FOTY contender between two little guys who always came to fight.
Denver Cuello Vs Pornsawan Porpramook
The Minimumweight division hasn't had many fights that have managed to create talking points among the wider boxing fan base. Despite that the division has always had the potential to give us something special. One man who was involved in two of the best Minimumweight fights of the 21st century was Pornsawan Porpramook, who's wars with Akira Yaegashi and Ryo Miyazaki were amazing. Likewise we don't get too many little men known for their thunderous power, and heavy hands, however Denver Cuello was certainly a big punching monster in the smallest division. Put them together and we would have had something spectacular.
The window for this particular fight is a rather large one, with both men being in and around the world title mix for several years. Pornsawan had his first world title fight in 2007, losing to Donnie Neites, winning a belt in 2011 and having his final fight coming in 2013. On the other hand Cuello was knocking on the door from around 2009 with his sole would title fight coming in 2013. The reality however is that these two could just have easily have met in an eliminator during that time. So any time, really, from 2007 to 2013 would have been great for this.
Despite the big window of opportunity the bout would likely have been at it's most notable in 2011, when Pornsawan won the WBA title. Sadly however that optimum window closed quickly with Pornsawan losing the belt in his first defense to Akira Yaegashi. With that in mind maybe 2012 would have been ideal.
Denver "The Excitement" Cuello was one of the most must watch fighters to compete at 105lbs. He was a strong, powerful southpaw, who loved to let his shots fly. He didn't have the most polished of styles but did have rocks for hands, an aggressive mentality, a solid shin and a willingness to take one to land one. His fights could get sloppy at times, but they were rarely dull with the Filipino knowing that he had to put on a show to get attention. He was all about power, aggression, toughness and intensity in the exchanges.
Sadly Cuello, who was a top contender with the WBC for years, struggled to get his shot at the world title, being over-looked by the WBC for Xiong Zhao Zhong, who managed to have the WBC help him out in the hope of getting a foot hold in the Chinese market. When Cuello did get his shot, in June 2013, he seemed to be carrying an injury into the bout that was then massively worsened during the contest, forcing him to fight much of the contest 1-handed.
Pornsawan Porpramook, known as "The Tank", was a high energy tough guy who applied constant pressure and looked to make every bout into a war. He's best known for his battles with Yaegashi and Miyazaki, two brilliant wars, but showed he was world class with his bouts against Sonny Boy Jaro, Donnie Neites, Oleydong Sithsamerchai and Muhammad Rachman. He was never the best Minimumweight in the world but was one of the world level guys who always made for fun fights, and his style, when matched with the right guys, was capable of making Fight of the Year contenders.
Whilst Pornsawan's two most memorable bouts are losses he was a world class fighter and did claim the WBA title with a win over Muhammad Rachman in Indonesia. His pressure, aggression and work rate was a nightmare, though his footwork was slow and opponents could make him chase them, leaving him open to counters.
How would we see it playing out?
Whilst he wasn't a very polished fighter Pornsawan was tough. He was stopped twice in his career, once at Minimumweight against Akira Yaegashi, and once against Edgar Sosa at Light Flyweight. His pressure and aggression would see him looking to charge down the Filipino pressing the fight hard and looking to get inside. Although he was rather basic and his game plan wasn't complicated it was a tactic he used and he knew how to make it work for him. He chipped away at opponents with work rate and aggression, but lacked single punch power.
Sadly for Pornsawan the one fighter that type of tactic was unlikely to work well against was Cuello. Walking to Cuello and looking to have a fight with him was never a good idea. Cuello's thunderous power was not something you wanted to walk on to and it was the type of power that would break down fighters.
We suspect that Pornsawan would outwork Cuello on a round by round basis, but the quality and power would be with the Thai who would be slowly breaking down the Thai, before backing him up. By the middle rounds Pornsawan would be boxing off the back foot and would eventually succumbing to the power of the Filipino.
Up to the stoppage this would have been sensational and one of the best fights of the era at the weight. A total, brutal, high octane war.
Would history of been changed?
Obviously things for both men would have been different, though it really depends on when this bout took place as to how much different things would have been. Had the bout come as an eliminator after Pornsawan lost the WBA title we may have ended up with a WBA title bout between Cuello and Ryo Miyazaki in 2012, and boy would that have been a great one, and missed out on Zhong's win over Cuello. The reality however is that it seems any changes to history would have been short lived.
Pornsawan retired after a loss to Rey Loreto in 2013, and we suspect that he would never have had a career much longer thab that. As for Cuellom who actually fought last year, he had mounting injuries. By 2012/2013 his days as a top fighter were ticking away. Repeated shoulder injuries were taking away from what he was and even if he had avoided the Xiong bout he was never going to be a top tier fighter for long due to his injuries.
There's a chance Cuello could have won a world title on the back of this bout, but any reign he would have had would have been very short lived, sadly.
Whilst we would have loved to have seen this, and to have seen Cuello against Miyazaki, the reality is that we ended up with Pornsawan Vs Miyazaki and Pornsawan Vs Loreto, and we would likely have missed both of those had we had this clash.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces