The last few bouts covered in this series have been in Japan so we thought it was a good time to get out of the Land of the rising Sun and bring you a treasure from else where. With that in mind we pop over to the Land of Smiles for this week's Treasure Trove bout, and this time it's the turn of one of boxing brightest young prospects scoring his most impressive win to date.
If you like prospects, and young fighters, and getting to know them before they are big names this is a Treasure Trove fight that you need to watch!
Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 4) vs Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (13-0, 5)
Over the last few years there had been talk about a Thai youngster called Phoobadin Yoohanngoh, who was born in 2004 and made his debut in 2018, at the age of 14. Early on it seemed weird that such a youngster was fighting, but by the end of 2018 he had racked up a 3-0 (2) record and proven himself capable in the ring, albeit against novices. In 2019 he added 5 more wins to his record, winning TL Promotion' "The Fighter" series.
By then Phoobadin had moved from a young fighter to a genuine curiosity, and entered 2020 8-0 (4). Was this youngster the new megastar of Thai boxing? Was he a boxing savant? Was there more to this young man than just the latest in a long line of kids thrown into the ring at a young age? In July 2020 he proved there was more to him, out pointing Somboon Meesitdee for the WBA Asia Light Welterweight title. Some 4 months later, after a training scuppered the original date, he made his first defense.
Unlike many fighter who get an easy first defense Phoobadin was matched with the once very highly regarded Atchariya Wirojanasunobol, who like Phoobadin was an unbeaten fighter with aspirations of big fights. Atchariya had promised a lot early in his career, but a 2018 arrest for drugs charges, which were later dropped, had derailed his career. He had started his comeback, and noted a solid win in September, but needed something big. He needed a win here over his teenage compatriot.
With TL Promotions putting the fight on in November we had high hopes of something truly intriguing. What we ended up getting was intriguing but also sensational.
Atchariya started the bout on the front foot. Like many men he likely assumed the teenager he was up against wasn't going to be able to take his shots, and was hype rather than true substance. Phoobadin however shows great composure under some early pressure, moved around the ring well and made Atachariya miss, and the countered him with some excellent clean shots.
Atchariya wasn't discouraged by the counters in the first round and kept his pressure up in round 2, making Phoobadin back up and fight from the ropes. It was clear by the end of the round however that Phoobadin had no fear of Atchariya. He was getting a read on his opponent, understanding him, catching him and making the most of the clear difference in speed. Phoobadin continued to bide his time, countering well through rounds 3 and 4, though did let some combinations go when he decided to counter and there was a tension that maybe, just maybe, Atchariya's composed and educated pressure would have an effect on the youngster mentally.
By round 5 Phoobadin had began to look more at ease and more comfortable letting his hands go, whilst Atachariya had began to look wary, realising that he was putting in a lot of effort for little return. He wasn't taking a lot of punishment, but Atchariya was certainly not having much success and was starting to visibly slow, getting more cautious and and wary that the teenager he was up against was a very smart and talented young man.
In round 6 we finally saw Phoobadin open up properly and this was the start of the end for Atchariya who took a pounding in round 6 forcing his corner to step in and save him after he had been down numerous times. It was statement finish from Phoobadin, who had boxed smartly on the backfoot later on, punished his older foe with counters and then took him out. It was an amazingly mature performance by someone who was still just a kid, in their 10th professional bout.
If you want to talk about sensational prospects shining in 2020 there wasn't many more impressive than the 16 year old Phoobadin was here. Brilliant from him both defensively and offensively. A genuine star making performance in his homeland, and a win that really should help open big doors for him in the future.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.