In the last 12 months or so we really saw boxing in Thailand pick up in terms of quality, and the exciting feeling of the country having some genuinely good prospects, contenders and hopefuls. One of those that we didn’t speak too much about in 2020 was Super Bantamweight hopeful Yuttapong Tongdee (5-0, 4), who got a little bit lost in the shuffle, though does deserve some real attention as we head through 2021, which could be a huge year for the 27 year old.
Despite being highly regarded as a prospect as we head into the year, Yuttapong actually only made his professional debut in 2020. Before that he had been a very solid amateur and had competed not just on the national scene but was a regular on the international circuit.
Whilst full amateur records are rarely available we know that Yuttapong was fighting internationally as early as 2014, when he competed in the Tammer Tournament in Finland, where he sadly lost to English fighter Jack Bateson in the semi-final of the 52KG division.
Yuttapong’s international appearances became more regular in 2015. One of his early tournaments for the year was an International in Thailand, where he reached the final before losing to Chatchai Butdee. He then reached the semi-finals of an International Invitational Tournament in Taipei City, losing a close decision to Dannel Maamo.
In 2016 Yuttapong competed at the Asian Students Championships in Uzbekistan but was unfortunate to face Ertugan Zeynullinov in the first round, with Zeynullinov going on to win the gold medal a few days later. He did however get revenge several months later, when the two clashed in semi-finals of the World University Championships, before Yuttapong went all the way and won the tournament, beating current Japanese professional prospect Yuki Yamauchi in the final.
Yuttapong had one of his most notable wins at the 2017 Giraldo Cordova Cardin Tournament in Cuba, where he beat Cuban great Robeisy Ramirez in the quarter final of the tournament, before losing in the semi final.
In 2018 Yuttapong had another notable year, winning gold at the Asian games, winning an International tournament in Thailand, and a bronze medal at the Asian games. That same year he also took second place at the Galym Zharylgapov Memorial, reached the quarter finals of the President's Cup in Kazakhstan, and the semi final at the Thailand National Championships, making a stellar year for Yuttapong.
After having had such a long and successful amateur career Yuttapong turned professional in 2020, debuting in July on a show promoted by T.L. Promotions, one of the leading promotional outfits in Thailand. On his debut he defeated Artid Bamrungauea via 4th round TKO, in a scheduled 6 rounder, on a card that also featured the highly touted Phoobadin Yoohanngoh and the talented Arnon Yupang.
Around 6 weeks after his debut Yuttapong returned to the ring and took his second professional win, defeating Jirawat Thammachot with a 6 round unanimous decision. The bout saw Tongdee dominate from the off, proving he was too quick, too accurate, too sharp and too smart and dropping Jirawat in round 3 on route to a shutout win. Yuttapong would stay busy after the win over Jirawat in August, stopping Tongthep Taeyawong in September, after beating the fight out of his man in 2 rounds, and then stopping Kan Hamongkol in 4 rounds to race out to 4-0 (3) by the end of October.
Yuttapong would return for one more bout before the end of 2020 and that was a bout with former world title challenger Pigmy Kokietgym, aka Wicha Phulaikhao, a 77 fight veteran who had faced some very notable fighters during his long career. On paper this was a big step up for Yuttapong, but he made it look easy and barely got out of second gear against his smaller and older opponent, who was stopped in round 5.
Since turning professional Yuttapong has looked like a natural fighter. His amateur experience really shows and he’s composed, calm and relaxed in the ring. He throws lovely combinations, looks crips of offensive and very nice variety in his shots. Defensively he can be hit, and can leave himself open when attacking, something that saw him being tagged several times by Pigmy, but it often seems like a calculated gamble from him against out-matched opponents, and something we expect to see him tighten up when he steps up.
Yuttapong is expected back in the ring in later this month, and from there on we expect him to be busy, maybe as busy as last year, but still busy, as he climbs into the regional title scene and, potentially, the world rankings this year.
Aged 27 time isn’t really on Yuttapong’s side, but with 5 fights since July 2020 it’s clear he and his team know activity is key, and that appears to be their currently focus for the promising Super Bantamweight hopeful.
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