Dubbed the “Thai Mike Tyson” Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (57-3-1, 46) was one of the stars of Thai boxing in the 1990’s and 00’s. Western fans might not remember him quite as well as they remember names like Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, but was very much a star in Thailand. He had a long and successful career which saw him accomplish far more than many Thai’s, and do so in a weight class we don’t usually see Thai’s having success in, the Super Featherweight division.
For those unfamiliar with Yodsanan, who was also known as Yodsanan 3-K Battery and Theera Phongwan, he fought from 1993 to 2009 and hailed from Si Sa Ket, the same place as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. He managed to make his name in 2002, winning the “regular” WBA Super Featherweight title, and recorded 3 defenses before losing the belt in 2005.
For those unfamiliar with him we’ve decided to take Yodsanan and look at some of his biggest achievements, as we bring you the 5 most significant wins for... Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai.
1-Lakva Sim (April 13th 2002)
Sadly much of the early part of Yodsanan’s career was fought very much under-the-radar with a focus on winning, and defending, the PABA title. His first 40 fights came and went and there wasn’t a single notable name on his record through that stretch, which saw him going 37-2-1 (31). He had been active, he had been racking up wins, but he had done little of note. That changed in 2002 when he faced off with Mongolian tough guy Lakva Sim for the vacant WBA Super Featherweight title. At the time Sim was 30 years old and had lost a step from the fighter he had once been, though he was still a tough, heavy handed and world class fighter capable of giving anyone a tough test.
Despite being a huge step up for the Thai he managed to hang tough with Sim and did enough to earn the decision, in a thrilling war held outdoors in Nakhon Ratchasima. Yodsanan, then aged 27, seemed to have a bit more zip than Sim, and the conditions certainly seemed to favour the local. The bout was a hotly contested one and a very competitive one, though somehow two of the judges saw it as a clear and wide win for Yodsanan. Despite some poor scorecards this win put Yodsanan on the map, big time.
2-Lamont Pearson (December 5th 2002)
In his first defense Yodsanan took on American challenger Lamont Pearson, with the bout coming almost 8 months after Yodsanan’s title win. Despite the lengthy wait for Yodsanan to return to the ring the bout was held as part of the birthday celebrations for Bhumibol Adulyadej, the then king of Thailand, and was held at the Royal Square in Bangkok. This, alone, was significant, but to then consider that there was 60,000 fans in attendance and it was Yodsanan’s first defense, the pressure was all on Yodsanan to impress.
Thankfully for the Thai he did impress, stopping his American challenger in 9 rounds to give the King, and the Thai people, another reason to celebrate. The fight itself was decent, but it was everything going on around it that really made this something special. The venue looked less like a boxing event and more like a music festival.
For a first defense to be held like this was huge and further evidence that Yodsanan was a star at home, even if fans in the West weren’t particularly aware of him.
3-Ryuhei Sugita (February 8th 2004)
Sadly for Yodsanan his title reign was very, very stop-start. He won the title in April 2002, as mentioned, and defended the belt for the first time 8 months later. In the interim he had no fights. Following his win over Pearson he would have 3 stay busy fights, covering the entire of 2003, but wouldn’t actually defend his title until 2004. When he did he ended up making his international debut, travelling over to Japan to face Ryuhei Sugita.
At this point in time Sugita was a well respected fighter in Japan, boasting a 25-1-2 (21) record and was seen as a live challenger, with a solid bang and a good chin. In the end however he was stopped in 7 rounds as Yodsanan’s power got too much for him. Despite a gutsy effort the referee was forced to step in and save Sugita, who was out on his feet.
Although Sugita isn’t a big name internationally, this was still an impressive international debut, and proof, after 3 easy wins, that Yodsanan was still world class as he retained his title.
4-Steve Forbes (August 7th 2004)
Thankfully for Yodsanan there wasn’t a lengthy gap between his second and third defense, in fact it was just 6 months until he returned to the ring again. This time he was not only defending his title, for the third time, but also making his US debut as he travelled to Mashantucket, Connecticut, and took on Steve Forbes. This was his Yodsanan’s 47th bout and his big chance to make a statement to an international audience, who were tuning in on Showtime to see Deigo Corrales clash with Acelino Freitas.
The bout was somewhat dramaless with Yodsanan taking a clear decision win over Forbes in a bout that saw all 3 judges score the contest 117-111. As boxrec puts it “No knockdowns, No Cuts, Nobody hurt”. Despite the lack of drama, a rarity for a Yodsanan fight, the Thai still took home a win in the US and would later return Stateside for his more well remembered title loss, against Vicente Mosquera in 2005, in what was a much more dramatic bout.
Whilst the main event of the show may be more fondly remembered, with Freitas’ “no mas” in round 10, it was still a massive and significant milestone for Yodsanan who did something very, very few Thai’s have done. Defended a world title in the US.
5-Jimrex Jaca (June 27th 2008)
Sadly for Yodsanan the win over Forbes would be his last victory at world level and as mentioned he would lose the title to Vicente Mosquera in 2005, in what was a thrilling bout. Given the risk-reward for fighting him, Yodsanan never got another big fight and instead his career slowly wound down over the years that followed. It’s hard to spot many names of note. There was however one exception and that came in 2008 when he faced the then 28-4-3 (13) Jiimrex Jaca.
Jaca, a Filipino, was never an amazing fighter but was someone with some international recognition following a 2006 bout with Juan Manuel Marquez. Jaca had been stopped in 9 rounds by Marquez, in a WBO ”interim” Featherweight title bout and had struggled to get any momentum into his career following that loss. His downfall continued in 2008 when he was stopped by Yodsanan in 6 rounds, becoming the last noteworthy name on Yodsanan’s record.
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