Earlier today we got the long awaited rematch between WBC Minimumweight champion Petchmanee CP Freshmart (38-1, 23), aka Panya Pradabsri, and former champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-2, 19) [วันเฮง มีนะโยธิน, with Panya seeking his second defense of the title and Wanheng looking to recapture the belt that he held from 2014 to 2020.
The two men, who first clashed in 2020, had been scheduled to fight in January before the bout got postponed and rescheduled to today. Despite the delay it was clear both men were hungry and, much like their first bout, they gave us something a little bit special.
In the first round the former champion forward with his footwork, though was lacking in terms of output whilst trying to close the range and force Panya to work hard to create space. It saw the defending champion take the round on work rate, but it was clear that Wanehng and his team had a game plan in mind. Although he lost the round, he did begin to come alive in the last 45 seconds of it, and worked the body smartly through out the round with single clean body jabs.
In round 2 Wanheng began to pick up the pace, have eased himself into the contest, and he began to close the distance more successfully, whilst having more of the action go his way. Panya still had plenty of moments himself, including a huge right hand part way through the round, but this was much better from Wanheng, who was making the fight his fight, and making Panya work hard. The close back and forth action of round 2 continued through the rest of the early going, and after 4 rounds the open scoring had the bout even at 38-38. It wasn't just even on the cards, but also in terms of action, with neither man managing to event dictate the tempo and action for long. Both had their moments, in every round and both managed to land some very eye catching shots in some thrilling exchanges.
As we went through the middle rounds of the bout the action continued to be hotly contested, with Panya's size, speed and youth playing a factor, just as much as Wanheng's experience, ring craft and known how. Sadly for Wanheng however it seemed that through the middles the judges weren't as impressed by his work as they were by Panya, who seemed to create space with more ease than he had earlier and also backed up Wanheng several times. Sadly for Wanehng it was during those middle rounds that he began to fall behind on the scorecards, with Panya leading 78-74, twice, and 77-75, after 8 rounds, when the open scoring kicked in for the second time.
Knowing he was down Wanhen tried to put his foot on the gas in the final third of the bout. He was more aggressive, worked really well on the inside and seemed to outwork Panya, who was regularly forced to give ground under the pressure of Wanheng. It was a great late surge by the veteran, who was showing in his mid 30's that he still has a great engine, and still fight hard in rounds 11 and 12.
Sadly though the great late surge from Wanheng was seemingly ignored by the judges, with all 3 judges scoring the bout 117-111 for Panya, a score that really didn't reflect the late charge by the veteran, or the very, very close and competitive nature of the bout.
Whilst Panya is now 2-0 against Wanheng, this rivalry still feels unfinished, with both of the wins for Panya being incredibly close, and the feeling was that Wanheng could easily have gotten the decision, in either bout. Whilst Panya might be the WBC champion for the next few years, it feels very much like he's not going to have the lengthy and impressive reign that Wanheng head. As for Wanheng, we'd love to see him get another world title fight before he hangs them up. On the back of this performance it's the least he deserves.
Just moments ago we saw IBF Flyweight champion Sunny Edwards (18-0, 4) make his second defenses as he over-came Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (12-2, 8) in a rough, messy, dirty fight in Dubai.
The opening round was a quiet feeling out round, which Edwards did enough to take, though neither man really did a lot of anything. There was a long period of both guys looking to see what the other hand to offer, but neither really stood out as such, with Edwards edging it on the quality of what little work he did do. In rounds 2, thankfully, the action did pick up with both men picking up the pace. This saw Waseem's pressure intensifying whilst Edwards looked to box, move and counter, though again it was somewhat quiet and felt like the bout was going to struggle to come alive.
Thankfully in round 3 the action did pick up as Waseem began to get in to range and back Edwards on to the ropes, where he let shots go in an attempt to break down the champion. Despite being against the ropes Edwards showed silky skills, timing and counter punching as he landed just as much as he was taking as the bout began to come alive. The following few rounds, through the middle of the bout, saw the bout keep the same pattern, with Waseem backing up Edwards, and Edwards boxing on the back foot, landing some amazing counters, but taking body shots on the ropes.
Sadly though, for both, the action was marred by a lot of wrestling, accidental headclashes, holding, and general rough house tactics from both. It was the style of fight that suited Waseem, who didn't have the speed or skills to keep up with Edwards, but it was messy and the referee did little to really tidy things up. In fact the referee seemed to be making things worse, with warnings for minor infractions, and man handling Waseen a number of times whilst working in the clinch.
The referee continued to make a mess of things in rounds 6, when he deducted Waseem a point for holding, something both men were doing repeatedly though the fight, and then doubled his frustration with a second point deduction a round later. By then it seemed the referee wasn't exactly acting an impartial authority on the bout, and certainly seemed harsher on Waseem than Edwards, when both were just as dirty as each other.
Sadly for Waseem the deductions seemed to kill some off some of his fighting spirit, and although he was solid in round 8 he did very, very little afterwards as Edwards began to box, move, using his feet and showing what he can do. Edwards began to make things look easy and started to make Waseem look incredibly slow, clumsy and old as he began to run away with the bout, which had been close through much of bout thanks to Waseem's pressure.
Given how Edwards fought rounds 9, 10 and 11, it was clear the win was his and he seemed to know it as he got on his bike through round 12, essentially doing victory laps as Waseem ineffectively chased him around the ring for the better part of 3 minutes.
After 12 rounds there was no denying Edwards was the rightful winner. His eye catching counter shots made even the good rounds for Waseem close, whilst the early rounds, where he edged them, and the later rounds, where he made things look easy, were undeniable rounds for the champion. And then with the deductions any debate on the winner was moot. Despite that Waseem climbed the turn buckle to celebrate, and we suspect he may have been the only man in the venue, which to be fair was mostly empty, to think he'd won.
The judges had it closer than most, with scores of 115-111, twice, and 116-110. We felt they were closer than they should have been, but can certainly see why the judges had it that close given that many of the middle rounds were hotly contested, and Waseem's pressure in them was certainly successful.
Sadly the real disappointment was the referee, who seemed poor through out, and could have easily taken points from both. It was a dirty fight, but not one where a man had to effectively fight on a tightrope, as Waseem did.
Last year Japanese boxing got a major upset as Masamichi Yabuki (13-4, 12) [佐藤政道] dethroned Kenshiro Teraji (19-1, 11) [寺地 拳四朗], and claimed the WBC Light Flyweight title in one of the major Japanese upsets of the year. Soon after the bout Kenshiro's team put the loss down to some headclashes that Kenshiro had suffered in round 9, and issues with training for the bout, with his preparations being hampered by the fact he and his trainer had contracted covid.
Today we get the much anticipated rematch between the two men and we got a bout that was very, very different. In fact we got a Kenshiro that was very different, as he came in with a seek and destroy mentality, and it was clear that he had a point to prove, to the fans, to himself and for everyone who has followed his career.
The first round saw Kenshiro pressing the action behind his jab, and trying to put his gameplan of pressure, activity and keeping Yabuki on the back foot, in to effect. Yabuki had moments in the first round, but it was, for the most part Kenshiro's jab and occassional right hand that controlled the round whilst Yabuki was forced to back up, and try to create space to land his own shots.
Round 2 saw Kenshiro move things up a gear and really take the fight to Yabuki, landing numerous right hands up top, and some eye catching body blow as he began to bully Yabuki around the ring. To his credit Yabuki did find some success with counter shots, but they were few and far between, and when he did land them, they had no real effect against Kenshiro who took them in his stride.
With Yabuki knowing the fight wasn't going his way he came out for round 3 with a new gameplan. Trying to fight Yabuki off, and holding his feet. This was a tactic that was short lived, and within only a few moments Yabuki was back on the back foot, and unable to stop the forward march of the former champion, who found a home for some body shots that backed Yabuki on to the ropes, where he took more body shots. When he finally got off the ropes and created space he left himself open for a huge right hand, that dropped Yabuki. The defending champion got to his feet, but was in not fit state to continue, with the referee waving off the bout.
The performance was a clear statement from Kenshiro, who was desperate to show he was the strongest, the best in the division and that the loss was a freak result. Whilst the loss will hang over him, it's fair to say on this performance not many at 108lbs could live with him, and that he's certainly in the mix to be regarded as the best at 108lbs.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.