Earlier today Japanese fans in Tokyo saw WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (32-8-1, 13) [河野 公平] retain his title with a relatively straight forward win against limited Thai Inthanon Sithchamuang (28-8-1, 15) [อินทนนท์ ศิษย์ชะมวง].
The fight saw the two men gradually ease their way in to the bout with the opening round being a relatively quiet one before the pace picked up in round 2. Unfortunately for the challenger the quicker the pace became the worse it became for him and in round 3 it seemed like Kono was beginning to out work and break down the challenger.
The aggression from Kono continued in round 4 with Inthanon being beaten through the round before finally going down, just seconds before the bell. The bell had saved the challenger but it was clear that Inthanon was being beaten up and broken down with little coming back from him.
The following round saw Inthanon being dropped again, this time their was more time in the round but Kono couldn't quite for the stoppage. Despite seeing out the 5th round Inthanon seemed to be on to a hiding to nothing and bravely came out for round 6.
Surprisingly, given he had been dropped in the previous two rounds, Inthanon had a decent 6th and managed to stay up right for the full 3 minutes. That was however just a momentary bit of success for the challenger who tasted the canvas again in round 7, with Kono coming close to scoring a stoppage with a follow up attack before the bell prolonged the contest.
The Thai looked like he had no hope at the end of round 7 though showed his heart in round 8 to fight back bravely. It was a better round from the Thai and it seemed like he grew in bravery coming out and giving Kono a bit of a battle in round 9, though it looked like Inthanon was a man fighting out of desperation whilst Kono, who was a mile ahead on the cards,
Although Inthanon had had success, from rounds 8 through to 10, it seemed as if Kono had snapped back in to searching for a KO in 11 as dominated Inthanon, though was unable to find a decisive blow that would have finished off the game, but out matched Thai challenger.
Having really gone for it in round 11 it seemed that Kono would again go for a stoppage in round 12. Amazingly however Inthanon refused to buckle and when he needed to he fought back, defying the odds to survive to the final bell and hear the decision, something that seemed remarkable given the beating he had received in the earlier rounds, as well as the championship rounds.
Given the knockdowns and one-sided nature of the bout there was no doubting the scorecards, which had given Inthanon some credit for his bravery in the later rounds, with all 3 reading 119-106 to the Japanese fighter.
Whilst Kono failed to secure a stoppage he was never at risk of losing this one and hopefully a bigger bout will be just around the corner for the popular “Tough Boy”. As for Inthanon he defied the general belief that he would be stopped, though never really seemed competitive here.
*Note- TV Tokyo listed Inthanon as being 43-11-1 (22) entering the bout.
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