We continue the 2020 love in with Thailand this week as we return to the Workpoint Studio for this week's One to Watch, and it's a really intriguing one, matching a once beaten prospect against a former world champion, who always brings the head. The prospect is looking to notch a third notable win in 16 months whilst the former world champion is someone who always makes for fun and entertaining bouts, win or lose.
The One to Watch?
Phongsaphon Panyakum (10-1, 5) vs Kompayak Porpramook (60-10, 41)
December 5th (Saturday)
We love seeing prospects step up and here we have a 20 year old hopeful stepping up to face someone who has previously held a world title. The youngster appears to be on his way through the ranks, has an exciting style and despite being flawed is very much a man who seems to know his strengths, and fights to them. The veteran, is one of the most aggressive, exciting fighters in Thailand, who always comes to win and despite having 10 losses never enters the ring for just a pay day. He always comes to fight. Given the styles of the two men this should be something of a thrilling war
Once beaten 20 year old Phongsaphon Panyakum isn't a name we expect many fans to be aware of. That's despite the fact he debuted in June 2017, against Kai Ishizawa, won a Work Point tournament, and holds two wins over former world title challengers. If you've seen him you'll know that he's a big, strong, aggressive, exciting, and relatively open fighter. He comes forward, he lets shots go and even his supposedly easy bouts end up being fun and exciting.
Despite being fun Phongsaphon is very much a work in prospect. He depends, a lot, on his size, toughness, strength and physical power. That power has seen him stopped 3 of his last 4, but his open defense and aggressive tactics have seen him eat a fair bit of leather from poor opposition. We suspect that, at least partly, is due to his belief in his chin, and his confidence, but he may well need to tidy up here against his most testing opponent to date.
Aged 38 Kompayak is a veteran of the ring and has one of the most crowd pleasing styles out there, based around all out pressure and aggression. During his long career he has faced Hussein Hussein, Adrian Hernandez, Jonathan Taconing, Koki Eto, Jing Xiang and Wenfeng Ge. In recent years he has been picking up a lot of losses, losing 5 of his last 6, but he has never been an easy man to beat and he always comes forward and comes in great shape with a lot of hunger and desire. Technically he's not the quickest, sharpest and more skilled, but he is among the most aggressive and exciting.
Given his aggression and style he has taken punishment through his career, though has surprisingly only been stopped 4 times during his long, 20 year, career. He's not just a come forward pressure fighter, but he's also a really tough guy and as a result he will ask serious questions of younger, less experienced opponents.
What to expect?
At his very best Kompayak was undeniable world class. His world title win over Adrian Hernandez was an amazing war that saw Kompayak show determination, power, work-rate, toughness and real will to win. Sadly however that was more than 9 years ago, and he has been in some real wars since then. There's still a lot of heart here, but at 38 he's not the same fighter he once was.
Saying that however Phongsaphon is taking a step up here, and will find an opponent in front of him who will be looking to march him down, break him up and press, press, press. The youngster will be given a real mental test here and it's going to be very interesting to see how he responds to the pressure that gets sent his way. Without a doubt Phongsaphon will be the bigger, faster, stronger man, but can he cope with the pressure and does he have the power to get Kopmpayak's respect?
We suspect the youngster will win here. We feel his natural size and youth will be the difference. But oh boy will he need to work for this win. It will not be easy. It'll be a fun tear up, with Kompayak pressing and Phongsaphon forced to respond with the two trading blows continually through the bout. This is certainly one to watch for those who like fun brawls!
The bad news?
It's worth noting that originally Phongsaphon was supposed to face Sarawut Thawornkham (21-3, 16), though he was injured in November and had to be replaced by Kompayak. This is a shame in some ways, as Sarawut would have been a more interesting test, however Kompayak is no push over and will be there to win.
For those tuning in, this bout will be shown for free, as part of WP Boxing, and we suspect it will be something very intriguing and pretty exciting, for as long as it lasts!
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.