Among the many bouts we saw over the weekend one of the most notable was a bout between 20 year old Thai Flyweight Thananchai Charunphak (11-1, 9) and veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (61-14-2, 25), with Pigmy being stopped in 4 rounds by his much younger foe. The bout wasn't the most exciting, but it was the next step forward for the talented youngster who is progressing really well and being matched with notable names in Thailand's as he continues to develop and build his name.
Having watched the bout live, and now rewatched it we've decided to share our take aways from the contest.
1-Pigmy came with hunger
In some countries we see the under-dog come to survive, this was the case with Yuriorkis Gamboa when he took on Devin Haney over the weekend and together they stunk out the joint. In Thailand however the veterans enter the ring with the intention of beating up the youngsters. This made the bout actually quite compelling, with Pigmy coming forward through out, pressuring and trying to drag Thananchai into a fight. It was all effort from Pigmy, but relatively wasted effort and although he came forward, and did have a hunger for victory, he didn't look capable of really pulling the trigger on a consistent basis and more and it's clear father time has caught up with him.
2-Pigmy should retire
Ok so Pigmy did come with hunger, but it's the other issues that are the problem. We mentioned he didn't look like he could pull the trigger when he wanted and that father time had caught up with him. That's not really a surprise. The 29 year old has been a professional for 21 years, he's had 77 bouts, and over 400 professional rounds. He's had a damaging, punishing and hard career and has lost 5 of his last 6, including 3 by stoppage. Given his style, and age, we really would advise him to retire. He's not "shot to shit" but he's certainly taking damage and when a young fighter puts their foot on the gas, as Thananchai did here, they can hurt him. Credit to him for still being hungry and full of fire, but it's probably time he hung them up. Given his experience we suspect he'd be a decent trainer and certainly should remain in the sport, but not take punishment at the hands of these youngsters.
3-Thananchai is a really classy operator
We don't really see many Thai's boxing on the back foot, using their feet to control the ring, and boxing behind a stiff, rigid jab. Thananchai however does all of that. When he's on the back foot he establishes range well, moves very nicely around the ring and neutralises aggression well, something we also saw him do against Kompayak Porpramook. His jab is a really good weapon, and unlike some with great jabs he can also throw some great shots on the inside. The way he finished this bout was spectacular, with a brutal body shot, and his first knockdown came from a fantastic combination. We really think he has the potential to go a long way, and wins against formers contenders and champions are doing him the world of good at this stage.
4-All Thai bouts are fun
For many years we saw a lot of Thai prospects and hopefuls beating up on over-matched foreign opponents there to pick up a pay check and a loss, and to pad a fighters record. It served little purpose in the long term and saw a lot of prospects getting heavily padded records with no substance. Some fighters were good enough to come the lack of actual developmental fights, whilst many others fell by the way side, coming up short at the top level. Over the last year or so we've seen more and more all-Thai bouts and they have seen the prospects and hopefuls being forced to answer questions, often in fun bouts. The last generation if Thai's may technically have been a bit limited, but their aggressive mentality makes them fun to watch and the new generation of more polished fighters are getting a chance to shine when facing the older, aggressive guys. We'll probably say this a lot in this series, but those really gel, and make for some really fan friendly contests.
5-The ring looked huge!
On thing we've began paying attention to during this series is the venue, the ring and the officials. This time the really eye catching thing was the size of the ring, which looked huge compared to the fighters. Fair enough the two guys were Flyweights, but with that in mind they seemed to have a lot of room to move around in. This suited the movement and boxing style of Thananchai but really did seem to dwarf the two men. We've seen Heavyweights fighting recently in smaller rings. This was particularly notable when WP used a higher camera angle, and shows so much of the ring being empty. Maybe, just maybe, a slightly smaller ring guys?
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).