Earlier this year we saw Azeri born Ukrainian fighter Artem Dalakian (16-0, 11) score a career defining win and claim the WBA Flyweight title, as he clearly out-pointed Brian Viloria. Whilst the win came against against a shadow of Viloria it did put Dalakian on the boxing map, especially given that the win came on one the second "Superfly" show in Inglewood, California. This coming weekend Dalakian returns to the ring to defend that title against his mandatory challenger Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (50-3, 25), himself a former WBA “interim” champion.
Prior to his title win Dalakian was a bit of an unknown, though an unknown who had some solid power and had beaten some fringe fighters, like Silvio Olteanu. Against Viloria he proved he was a really solid boxer, with nice movement, good solid jab, unexpected speed and impressive size for a Flyweight. He didn't seem to be the toughest, and did look very wary of Viloria's power, but was too quick and too smart for the popular, but faded, Filipino.
Although he looked impressive against Viloria it's fair to say that Dalakian looked like a fighter who was being made to look better than he really is. Viloria was far too slow to punish Dalakian, he was unable to cut the distance, and was unable to really force Dalakian to fight. Instead Dalakian was allowed to use his jab, move and tie up on the few occasions that Viloria was close. It prevented Viloria from using his power and showed that there was a boxing to Dalakian. Admittedly he was also a frustrating fighter to watch at times, being a bit too cautious and even being a bit dirty, being deducted a point for pushing Viloria's head down, in what was a bit of a “6 of one, half a dozen of the other”.
Unbeaten, fighting at home and as a new champion Dalakian will come in to this bout riding a huge high and the 30 year old will know that big bouts could be around the corner if he can come out on top here. Fights against the likes of Ryoichi Taguchi, Andrew Selby, Paddy Barnes, or Kosei Tanaka are likely to be on the table if he can successfully defend his belt here, and are potentially good paying defenses if he's willing to travel.
Aged 27 it feels like Yodmongkol has been around the sport for a lot longer than he really has, though has managed to fit in an impressive 53 fights in just over 9 years. As with many Thai's his record is relatively inflated, focusing more on quantity rather than quality. Saying that however Yodmongkol does hold relatively notable wins against the likes of Jerry Tomogdan, Crison Omayao, Koki Eto and Takuya Kogawa, and even in his most recent loss, a 2014 defeat to Juan Carlos Reveco, he looked very decent before being stopped.
As a fighter Yodmongkol has a good work rate, with his win against Koki Eto proving that, good but not massive power, despite stopping 15 of his last 16 opponent, and pretty solid defensive and technical ability. Sadly where it comes apart is that he's perhaps not the toughest, as his stoppage to Reveco showed, he's not got the best work rate, with Kogawa seemingly out working him in their clash, and he has very little experience of fighting outside of Thailand, the loss to Reveco is the only time he has fought away from home.
Although Yodmongkol is better than many would assume, as is usually the case with Thai's who have got padded records, we don't see him coming out on top here. We suspect that Dalakian will be out to make a statement, will look to set a high tempo and will get to his man early on. Yodmongkol may have some moments with his counter punching, specifically to the body, but we don't see him lasting the distance with the champion.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.