Earlier today in Thailand WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (37-1, 23) recorded his first defense of the title, as he over-came the gutsy and unheralded Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (9-3, 5) in Nakhon Sawan.
Panya, who famously upset Wanheng Menayothin a year ago, took the center of the ring very early on, whilst the challenger looked negative, worried and negative. Danai took a big body shot in the opening minute, and it was clear the champion had a gameplan in mind revolving around breaking down Danai with shots to the mid-section. To his credit Danai managed to show some fight as the round went on and had moments of offense, making the most of his speed, but his moments were few and far between.
As the rounds went on the challenger had a growing amount of success, not just with his offense but also in neutralising the pressure of Panya, who looked flat footed and slow at times. Sadly for Danai his shots didn't seem to do much to get Panya's attention, but he was landing some really nice looking work, even if he was typically getting out landed.
After 4 rounds it was clear the challenger was putting up a better effort than anyone would have expected, but he still seemed to be down, with his inexperience and lack of physical maturity being his major problems. It was like a boy fighting a man at times, and the champion simply wasn't phased by the challenger's shots. Surprisingly however Danai began to have growing success in the middle rounds, and the pressure of Panya, despite still being eye catching, wasn't having as much success as the champion would have wanted.
On the subject of the middle rounds, it's worth noting just how exciting round 7 was, with Danai rolling the dice more than he had in the earlier rounds, giving us a show case of his skills, his counter punching, and shot selection as he had, arguably, his best round of the fight and seemed to be turning the tide at one point. Sadly for him Panya responded late in the round, but it was a genuinely brilliant 3 minutes of back and forth action with both having sustained success.
Sadly in the later Danai's lack of experience over the longer distance showed, and whilst he continued to have moments he was regularly on the receiving end of the bigger, more meaningful shots. To his absolute credit however he continued to make a fight of things, whilst many, our selves included, expected him to have been stopped in the early rounds.
Sadly for Danai his great effort wasn't enough, and lost a clear decision, by scores of 118-110 and 117-111, twice, but he genuinely impressed. He stepped up in a big way, and showed he belonged in, and around this level. As for Panya this was an underwhelming performance by the champion in his first defense, and we expect to see better from him in the future.
World Title Results
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