Sadly 2020 was not a year to remember. It saw a pandemic being the major story of the year, fires in the US and Australia and swathes of Locusts. Sadly for those looking to sport to escape the world we were living in there was a massive hiatus in pretty much every sport, including boxing. One of the final Asian shows before that hiatus had an often forgotten upset taking place in Thailand, as TL Promotions saw one of their biggest hopefuls getting destroyed by an unheralded Filipino puncher. For today's What a Shock we are going to look at that upset, and try to draw attention to an upset that few noticed at the time, but is well worthy of a watch back.
Sarawut Thawornkham (21-2, 16) vs Jeny Boy Boca (13-6, 11)
Thailand's Sarawut Thawornkham, who has fought as both Dennapa Kiatniwat and Dennapa Trabaihor among other names, was once regarded as a very promising Thai hopeful. He lost on his debut, in 2014 to Masato Morisaki in Japan, but bounced back from that loss with 20 straight wins. Those wins lead him to getting a WBA world title fight in 2019, against Artem Dalakian. Although he came up short against the tricky Ukrainian, he did manage to last in to round 10 with Dalakian.
Following that loss to Dalakian we had seen the Thai fight once, claiming a minor regional title at Super Flyweight before dropping to Flyweight in early 2020. The hope was for him to re-establish himself as a Flyweight contender and work with TL Boxing Promotions to help him get back to world level.
In the opposite corner to the former world title challenger was Filipino fighter Jeny Boy Buca, a 25 year old who was sporting a 13-6 (11) record. Whilst that's not an awful record he had gone 1-3 in his previous 4 bouts, and had been beaten by some fairly average domestic level fighters, including Adrian Lerasan and Lony Cadayday. Not only had Boca struggled in his previous 4 bouts but he was 5-5 in his last 10 and had been stopped 3 times heading into this bout.
Whilst Boca's form was poor he had also lost in his only previous bout outside of the Philippines and had only beaten 4 opponents with more wins than losses, and all 4 of those had 6 or fewer wins. He had nothing at all on his record to suggest he stood a chance with the Thai. He was there to pad up the local man's record.
It was clear what this bout was about. Get the local man a win, help him rebuild some momentum and begin his pursuit of a second world title bout. Sadly for TL Promotions no one told Boca that he was supposed to lose.
Instead of turning up to play his role as the loser Boca started well, taking the fight to the local man, coming forward and trying to get Dennapa's respect almost immediately. The Thai looked like he was taking pressure well for the first minute but then Boca began to put his foot on the gas and was landing pretty frequently to the head and body of the local man. By the end of the round Dennapa began to try and fight fire with fire, giving us a thrilling end to the round.
With Dennapa seemingly building his confidence at the end of round 1 Boca didn't take look to put the Thai back in his place in round 2 as he again took the fight to the local and landed heavy leather. A gallant fight back from Dennapa gave us some exciting action but the Thai was still eating some wild left hands.
The power of Boca finally played it's role in round 3, when he dropped Dennapa in the early seconds, with a huge, sweeping right hand. This was as close to a round house punch as we could see, and it landed clean, putting the Thai down. Following the knockdown Boca went all out, looking for the finish. To his credit Dennapa tried to battle back of the ropes but couldn't avoid the shots of Boca, who put a huge effort in. Some how Dennapa survived the storm, as Boca seemed to punch himself out. By the end of round 3 it seemed like the bout might be turning against the Filipino who was looking like was running out of gas.
Unfortunately for local fans Boca still had something in the tank, and in round 4 he began to pick shots more carefully whilst Dennapa put his foot on the gas. The big effort from Dennapa made it seem like he had a chance to turn things around but then Boca turned the table and dropped Dennapa for a second time. Dennapa got back to his feet but he was about spent himself and Boca began unloading huge head shots forcing the referee to jump in.
Whilst not a massive shock that will go down in the history books as something big, this was certainly a big surprise and a major set back for Dennapa, who's hopes of getting a second world title fight in the near future were dashed, big time. Sadly however Boca struggled to build on the result, with boxing being shut down for months afterwards, preventing him from building any momentum on the back of this career best win.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).