It's not often we get to talk about female fighters in this series but this week we get one of those rare opportunities, as we take a look at emerging Thai hopeful Phannarai Netisri (7-0, 4), a German based Thai hopeful who has been turning heads in her adopted homeland over the last couple of years. She's certainly not a big name, but could be set for a big 2021, if things go her way over the next few months.
The talented 20 year old, also known as Fai Phannarai and "Sweet Chilli", was born in Khon Kaen, one of the major cities in Thailand, where she originally grew up with her grandparents. She would later relocate to Germany along with her mother, who decided Germany was a place for a better life. Prior to relocating however Fai had been training Muay Thai, something she was introduced to by her grandfather. That training carried in good stead when she moved to Germany and took up kick boxing, winning her first 3 bouts.
Of course kicking might not be boxing, but it did give Fai a good foundation to build off as a boxer, which she did under the guidance of Jiri Resl in Germany.
In 2019 Fai made her professional debut, aged just 19, and made an immediate impact in the sport, stopping fellow debutant Elizabeta Konaj in just 44 secords. Although this bout was an obscure one, tucked away on a small card in Bayern, it was a perfect way for Fai to begin her boxing career, shaking off some nerves and getting a boost of confidence straight away.
Fai was back in the ring 3 months after her debut, taking on fellow novice Sanja Cebic, a southpaw from Serbia. Thankfully this bout is actually online allowing fans a chance to see what Fai is like as a fighter and at this point in time she was offensively wild, and looked powerful but nervous. Cebic's southpaw stance and long arms gave Fai something to think about, but as the bout went on the Thai begun to land the bigger shots and started to calm down somewhat. She still seemed wild through out, but was a clear and worthy winner after 4 rounds.
By the end of 2019 Fai had squeezed in 2 more bouts, showing off her power with a 4th round TKO against Croatian fighter Manuela Zulj and an opening round win over Valeria Aletta Kovacs. Again footage of Fai in action showed up, with her bout against Zulj being online. She still seemed like a fighter with nervous energy to begin with, but settled very quickly, and put on an exciting and aggressive performance, before forcing the referee to save Zulj, who had been beaten into submission in the corner.
Having fit 4 bouts into less than 6 months in 2019 Fai was, like many fighters, a lot less active in 2020 as Covid19 really put a hold on boxing around the world. Amazingly however she did manage to fit in 3 bouts, including 2 in the Czech Republic. The first of those was against Eva Hrkotova in what looked like a big beer tent at a festival or something. This bout with Hrkotova ended when Hrkotova was apparently DQ'd, for spinning around and turning her back... errr, yeah we were confused by that too. The second bout in the Czech Republic saw Fai take a 6 round decision win over the much bigger Veronika Andrisikova. In November 2020 she returned to a German ring to beat Kim Angeline Jaeckel, in the 5th round of a scheduled 10 rounder.
The bout with Jaeckel was the best performance that we've come across from Fai, who looked composed, sharp, and a lot, lot more polished than she had earlier in her career. She threw nice body shots, came forward with a lot of upper body movement, and broke down a naturally bigger fighter, who seemed to want to avoid a fight. Despite the negativity of Jaeckel it was clear to see that Fai had improved a lot from her early bouts, and her improvement in just 18 months was massive. She looked polished, comfortable and confident in the ring, rather than rushed and feeling like she needed to throw big shots. This was a performance of a professional and it was a real mark of the fighter she had become.
We're expecting to see Fai back in the ring later this month in a WBC Youth title bout, with her opponent expected to be Cheyenne Hanson, if Hanson recovers from what was a nasty injury she suffered a few weeks ago. If that takes place we'll see Fai in a real fight for the first time. A win there and the Thai will prove she's one to watch. A loss however wouldn't be the end of the world for the Thai youngster, who has come a long way in a short amount of time, and can certainly continue improving.
If not often we get to talk about European based fighters or female fighters, but Fai is certainly someone making a mental note of, and she looks like she could, potentially, go on to make noise in women's boxing in the coming years.
We've included Fai's most recent bout below, and as you can see Jaeckel really didn't want to fight, but Fai did what she needed to and got some rounds in.
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