Not all upsets happen at the highest level, and not all get a lot of attention. Today we look a rather obscure upset from 2018, but that was truly shocking a a man regarded as a true Thai prospect wasn't just beaten, but was completely taken out by someone who was, for all intents, little more than a Filipino journeyman. Saying that however the journeyman in question is one of the best journeyman in the sport.
January 19th 2018
Pathum Thani, Thailand
Saenganan Sithsaithong (19-0, 7) vs Edison Berwela (15-37-8, 4)
At the start of 2018 Thai teenager Saenganan Sithsaithong, also known as Thiranan Matsali, looked to be on his way to big things. Despite only being 18 years old he had amassed a 19-0 record, claimed a number of minor titles and had looked like he was heading in the direction of something big. Of course at 18 that "something big" was still some way away, but he was seen as a real hopeful for Thai boxing. Several years earlier their was talk about Saenganan viewing the Thai record for the youngest world champion. They held off on pushing the Thai like that but the fact their was even talk showed that he was seen as someone worth getting behind.
In the opposite corner to Saenganan was Filipino journeyman Edison Berwela. The 34 year old had lost 37 of his 62 bouts at this point. He was rarely stopped but had little in terms of stopping power, with just 5 stoppage wins. Coming in to this he had won just 2 of his previous 12 bouts and had gained a reputation as the type of fighter who will put in an effort but ultimately lose.
Notably in 9 previous bouts outside of the Philippines Berwela had failed to score a single win. He was regularly travelling to lose bouts, and the same was expected again here.
The bout started slowly with Berwela looking like he was going to fight in sparring partner made. Oddly Saenganan was himself fighting with very little intensity and he seemed to almost look lazy himself. He did nothing to get Berwela's respect and did nothing with any intensity.
In round 2 it seemed that Berwela's confidence had grown and he moved from sparring partner mentality to that of a fighter who began to look like he felt he could win. He had gotten his belief, and Saenganan was doing nothing to take it away. Although Berwela was a journeyman he was, and still is, a capable fighter. That was shown when he dropped the Thai in round 3. He then began looking for the stoppage.
Realising Berwela was better than his record suggested Saenganan began to fight scared, moving away from the Filipino and hold every time he needed to.
Sadly for the supposed future off Thai boxing Saenganan couldn't keep Berwela away for ever, and in round 6 he was put down a second time, from a hard, sweeping left hand landing clean on his jaw. This time Saenganan failed to get as Berwela took the biggest win of his career, and scored a major shock.
The only negative for Berwela is that he failed to make weight for the bout, and as a result missed out on the WBC Asian Boxing Council Bantamweight title.
Interestingly both men are stilled active fighters. Since this win Berwela has gone 2-7 whilst Saenganan has gone 7-0 and rebuild his career following this shocking loss.
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).