Last week in this series we looked at the notable upset that saw Tanes Ongjunta lose his unbeaten record to Filipino Adrian Lerasan in what was a genuine barn burner of a fight. Amazingly that wasn’t the only Treasure Trove worthy bout on that show, and it probably wasn’t even the biggest upset on the card, though it was the best bout on the show. For today’s Treasure Trove we return to that same show, which took place in March 2020, for another Treasure Trove bout!
Sarawut Thawornkham (21-2, 16) vs Jeny Boy Boca (13-6, 11)
In 2014 Thailand’s Sarawut Thawornkham, who later became Dennapa Kiatniwat, made his professional debut, over in Japan, and lost to Masato Morisaki. He then went on a run of 20 straight wins to earn a shot at WBA Flyweight champion Artem Dalakian, losing in 10 rounds to the Ukrainian champion. He then returned to the Asian scene and picked up the WBA Asia Super Flyweight title, before moving back down in weight to take on an opponent he was supposed to easily overcome, in the form of Jeny Boy Boca.
Although no world beater the Thai was a pretty decent fighter. A long way from world class, but still solid. He had decent skills, solid power, though sadly lacked wins of any real note. It seemed he would be building towards another future title fight, and that a win here would be the beginning of that journey to bigger and better things.
Boca on the other hand was a known puncher, on the Filipino domestic scene. He was the sort of fight who, when he was on point, could be a handful, but was very inconsistent and had lost 3 of his previous 4 bouts coming into this, including one to Adrian Lerasen. When he was on point he was a threat, but it seemed like his ambition had gone when Sarawut’s team decided to pit their man against him.
How wrong they were!
From the off Boca came forward, he showed little respect to Sarawut and even looked a bit clumsy at times, switching stance, as he came forward. Despite looking crude Boca looked power, strong and quickly got Sarawut’s attention, backing him on to the ropes about a minute into the bout. The Thai didn’t really seem to know how to cope with the marauding Pinoy, who looked hungry, but flawed. In the middle of the round Sarawut finally seemed to establish himself, but it was a temporary success for him as Boca continued to land the heavier looking blows.
In round 2 Sarawut looked to take control, starting fast and putting Boca under pressure. Boca saw out the storm and started to find a home for his heavy shots, whilst again switching stance, confusing Sarawut before unloading heavy leather and hurting Sarawut with some nasty body shots. The Thai backed off and it was clear he was hurt as he looked for space to recover. Boca failed to finish him, but it was clear that Sarawut didn’t like the punishment he had been taking.
In round 3 Sarawut again came out aggressively, but just seconds into the round he was caught by a round right hand that seemed to be thrown wildly. It dropped him hard. From there on Sarawut was in complete survival mode with Boca pressing, pushing and looking for a finish. Sarawut knew he had to throw something back, but when he did it had little effect on Boca, who seemed to have tired himself out going for the finish. The slowdown in Boca gave Sarawut a chance to clear his head, and by the end of the round the Thai was looking like the man with more left in the tank.
Going out for round 4 the Thai was again the one on the offensive, and took the fight directly to Boca to begin the round. It was as if he could smell the exhaustion of the Filipino, who took a long time to land anything of real note in round 4, though a body shout, about 70 seconds into the round, followed by a head shot sent the Thai to the canvas. Again he was hurt, but he was trying to gut it out. This time around Boca wasn’t in the mood to let the Thai recover and pinned him on the ropes, unleashing a barrage of shots until the referee waved off the bout saving Sarawut.
Sadly for Sarawut this bout would seemingly end his career. He was supposed to fight later in the year but repeated headaches, dizziness and lethargy saw him pull out of the bout, and retire from the sport. It seems like he may have suffered some form of undiagnosed medical issue from this loss. As for Boca, he would show his inconsistency again when he lost to Muhammad Waseem in Pakistan in December, losing whatever momentum this shock win had got him.
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.