Fighting on Christmas isn't a regular thing but rather notably Thai fighter Tepparith Kokietgym (35-3, 22) actually fought twice on Christmas day, in 2009 and 2015, so with that in mind we thought he was the perfect fighter to cover in today's "The 5 most significant wins for".
Tepparith was a talented Thai who excelled at boxing, winning the WBA Super Flyweight title, and was also a notable kick boxer having a fantastic dual sport career. Whilst he wasn't a star in either sport he was a solid competitor in both and had genuine success in both. As always however we're only going to look at his boxing contests, and rather notable a lot of his best wins took place over a rather small window of time. They did however include 4 very good wins, and one that has long gone under-rated.
With all that said, here are the 5 most significant wins for... Tepparith Kokietgym
Rey Megrino (September 19th 2010)
We'll start with the under-rated win which saw the future WBA Super Flyweight champion notching a win over someone who has gone criminally over-looked by so many. The win in question saw Tepparith defeating Filipino fighter Rey Megrino in September 2010. On paper this isn't a win that generate much attention, after all Megrino finished his career with a 24-20-4 (21) record and was 12-13-2 when Tepparith beat him. What that ignore is that Megrino had only been stopped 3 times previous to Tepparith taking him out, and had gone the distance with a number of world class fighters, and would late go the distance with the likes of Marlon Tapales, Arthur Villanueva and Pungluang Sor Singyu. In fact after this bout Megrino would go 12-6-2 and find himself in the world rankings. This is a seriously under-rated scalp on Tepparith's record.
Drian Francisco (May 1st 2011)
Whilst the win over Megrino is very under-rated it's Francisco's win over Drian Francisco in May 2011 that really helped put Tepparith on the map, with the Thai winning the WBA "interim" Super Flyweight title. The bout was a really competitive one, with the unbeaten Francisco running Tepparith really close in a hotly contested bout. After 12 rounds almost nothing separated the two men, but a 3rd round knockdown, scored by Tepparith, proved vital with two scores of 114-113 in his favour, as well as a wide 117-111 score. The win saw Tepparith claiming the "interim" title in his 20th professional bout and ending the 21 fight unbeaten streak of the then touted Francisco. Sadly footage of this one is poor, but it was clear from what was visible that Tepparith was a genuine talent, despite being relatively unknown going into the contest.
Daiki Kameda (December 7th 2011)
Despite only winning the "interim" title against Francisco strings were pulled behind the scene for Tepparith to be upgraded by the time he had his next fight. The situation here was a bizarre one where the Japanese Boxing Commission essentially told the WBA that their interim title was worthless and that their world champion had defended the belt at the end of August, just 3 months earlier. Due to the WBA being the WBA they WBA'd and made Shimizu the champion in recess, upgraded Tepparith and took a sanctioning fee from a bout with Tepparith defending against Daiki Kameda.
Despite the politics before the bout the contest was a genuinely good one, and an often over-looked bout of inside fight and toe-to-toe exchanges. It wasn't a fight of the year contender, but was an entertaining little war that saw Tepparith take a close but fair unanimous decision win. Despite being the champion coming in to the bout this was a bit of a coming out party for Tepparith, who was the much less well known fighter. This win was huge for Tepparith and started a brilliant little run where he beat 3 successive Japanese fighters.
Tomobu Shimizu (April 4th 2012)
The second Japanese fighter from Tepparith's run saw him take on "champion in recess" Tomonbu Shimizu, in what was essentially a WBA unification bout of their "Regular" and "In Recess" titles. Prior to the contest the WBA had stated that a draw would result in the men being "Co-Champions", yes the WBA tried to WBA again. Thankfully we avoided a much feared draw as Tepparith went on to stop Shimizu in the 9th round, though going into that round a draw was certainly not beyond the realm of possibilities. The bout was a well fought chess match for the most part, very well fought and competitive with Tepparith applying pressure on the Japanese man and eventually breaking him down to become the WBA's "regular" champion. But not their only champion, as Liborio Solis had now been crowned their interim champion.
Nobuo Nashiro (September 1st 2012)
To complete 3 major wins in a row against Japanese fighters, and thus earning the "Japan killer" moniker, Tepparith went on to record his third defense of the WBA Super Flyweight title by out pointing the teak tough Nobuo Nashiro. Nashiro, a former 2-time champion himself, proved to be hungry and desperately wanted to become a 3-time champion. This was an ultra-close and competitive bout with little between them as the styles gelled well. Tepparith boxed well, used his feet when he needed to and jabbed well, whilst Nashiro, picked his moments to strike making for a really tough to score and compelling contest. In the end however the champion retained his title with a razor thin majority decision.
For Nashiro, who would get one more big fight, this was as close as he came to becoming a 3-time champion. As for Tepparith this would actually be his final defense, with the Thai losing the belt a few months later when he was stopped by Kohei Kono, who salvaged his career with a major upset over the Thai. After losing his title Tepparith never really came close to fighting at the top level again, a real shame as he looked a class fighter when he was at his best and likely could have been in the mix over the year that followed his loss.
Of course with this going up on Christmas we want to wish you all have an amazing Christmas, especially after the year we've all had! Stay safe and enjoy the end of year celebrations, whatever they may be!
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