Just moments ago we saw the end of the trilogy between Saul Alvarez (58-2-2, 39) and Gennadiy Golovkin (42-2-1, 37), and it was a bout that lacked the drama and flow of the first two legendary bouts between the men. Instead of being an incredible back and forth between elite level fighters in, or at least near their primes, this was very much a case of a fighter in their pomp facing a fighter who was clearly faded and nothing like the fighter he had once been. Sadly the faded man was the now 40 year old Golovkin, who looked every bit the 40 year old from the off.
The bout began with rounds 25 and 26 of their rivalry, which were somewhat competitive. Canelo looked the quicker, sharper, cleaner fighter in the two rounds, but Golovkin had moments in those rounds as the bout eased it's way into action. Sadly from round 2 the handspeed, youth, explosiveness and energy of Canelo shone through as he controlled a large swathe of the bout. He shut down Golovkin's offense, hammered him with clean head shots, and short sharp combinations and left Golovkin marked up and looking like a beaten fighter after just 5 rounds. It seemed very much like Canelo was heading towards a stoppage of Golovkin in the middle rounds, and that Golovkin's incredible toughness was going to be the only thing keeping him in the fight.
Just as it seemed like Jonathan Banks in Golovkin's corner should consider throwing in the towel Canelo seemed to ease off. He began to lose some of the intensity of earlier in the bout, and almost out of respect dropped his work rate rather than look to punish his man. This allowed Golovkin some respite, and in round 9 Golovkin finally began to show glimpses of the fighter he once was. It wasn't prime Golovkin, but it was a great last stand by a man digging deep and letting his hands go, backing up Canelo for the first time in the fight. Golovkin continued to have success in rounds 10 and 11, though 11 did see Canelo fighting like a man who was happy to conserve some energy late rather than take too many risks when well ahead.
The final round saw Canelo put his foot on the gas a little, and show that he was fighting within himself the previous few rounds, and had more to offer had he needed to. After the final bell it seemed like Canelo had comfortably won. It was hard to give Golovkin more than 3 rounds. Some how however all 3 judges had the bout close, with scores of 116-112 and 115-113, twice, giving the reflection of a very hotly contested bout. Something it really wasn't.
After the bout it was revealed Canelo had damaged his left hand, likely a result of landing numerous left hooks early on, which could have explained why his work rate dropped. It was also clear that this was the end of the rivalry, with the two men showing real respect to each other and seemed to have put to bed any animosity. Notably Golovkin didn;t announce that his career was over, though we wouldn't be surprised to see him either hanging them up, or fighting a single bout before retiring in the new year. As for Canelo, who retained his WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF Super Middleweight titles, it seems a rematch with Dmitriy Bivol is in his sights for 2023.
Earlier today we saw WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (39-1, 23), aka Petchmanee Kokietgym, successfully defend his title, as he over-came Japanese veteran Norihito Tanaka (20-9, 10). Sadly for Panya however he did not look like a top fighter here, and instead looked somewhat fortunate that he had some very favourable judging working in his favour.
From the off Tanaka fought like a man determined to end Japan's horrible record in world title fights in Thailand, a record that now stands at 0-26-1. He pressed forward, he pushed the action and he set a very, very high work rate, making Tanaka back off, and fight on the back foot, with the champion regularly backing on to the ropes. To be fair Panya landed the best single shots, and showed glimpses of brilliance, landing clean, hurtful shots in spurts, here and there, but on the whole he looked like a man expecting an easy win and over-looking Tanaka. Tanaka on the other hand looked like someone who was hungry to rip the WBC title from the champion.
After 4 rounds the open scoring wasn't really showing a reflection of Tanaka's hard work, with all 3 judges having the bout 39-37 in favour of Panya when the open scoring kicked in for the first time. The scoring of the judges didn't really change through the middle rounds, despite Panya looking tired in the middle portion of the bout, as the judges struggled to give anything to the busier, more active, Tanaka. After 8 round, when we got the second round of open scoring, the scores were 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75, with only the third of those scored really reflecting the competitive nature of the bout.
Panya managed to look really good in round 9 and 10, as he looked to blunt the charge of Tanaka, but in the final 2 rounds Tanaka really dominated, especially in round 12 as Panya looked exhausted and couldn't avoid the headshots of the challenger. In fact Panya looked hurt a number of times in the final round, but saw out the storm, and lasted the round. As a result we went to the score-cards for a foregone conclusion, with Panya winning courtesy of scores of 119-109, a truly awful scorecard, 118-110, a very wide and unreflective score, and 116-112, which was in the realms of defendable. Just about.
With the win Panya retains his title, but paints a giant bullseye on his back, and the likes of Ginjiro Shigeoka will be licking their lips thinking of getting a chance at Panya who looked really poor here. Tanaka was harsh on himself after the bout, but in reality he did a great job at making Panya looked very, very, very beatable, and it would be a huge surprise to see Panya beating any legitimate top 10 contender on the of this performance.
Just moments ago we saw a new WBC Featherweight champion being crowned as Filipino Mark Magsayo (24-1, 16) lost the title in his first defense, losing a split decision to unbeaten Mexican Rey Vargas (36-0, 22), who becomes a 2-weight champion.
On paper the bout had the potential to be something really ugly, given that Vargas has a reputation for making stinking bouts and Magsayo being very hot and cold. Thankfully however we ended up with a genuinely solid, exciting, entertaining bout that had a bit of everything, including drama late on, a high tempo early on, and some really good back and forth action.
The first two rounds were really close as both men started well, and fought each other tit for tat whilst finding their groove. We felt Magsayo did the better work in round 1, but that Vargas seemed to find his groove in round 2, as he started to establish control of range, and land clean, hard shots to Magsayo.
Through the middle portion of the bout Vargas took control of the action, seeming dominating from round 3, as he made Magsayo look very flawed. Vargas regularly stood his ground, landing clean, heavy shots, he was busier than Magsayo, he was more accurate and whilst it seemed his shots didn't have nasty power on them they certainly appeared to take a toll on Magsayo who was clearly slowing down in rounds 5 and 6, a result of the sweeping body shots of Vargas. Magsayo wasn't just taking shot, he was also being made to miss with his own, looking really raw and crude at times.
The one thing Magsayo had going for him was his power, and he certainly showed that in round 8. He was out landed again, but did manage to land a really good right hand late in the round. The shot was essentially a warning of what was to come in round 9, when a huge right late in the round dropped Vargas. It was a huge moment in the fight, the biggest in fact. He beat the count but looked buzzed for the rest of the round. He appeared appeared to be hurt in round 10, though Magsayo foolishly didn't press the issue, instead giving Vargas the space and time he needed to clear his head and get his feet underneath himself.
Magsayo's failure to jump on Vargas was a huge mistake and by round 11 Vargas had recovered his legs, which proved vital as he re-established control in the final 2 rounds. Those were key for him in the eyes of the judges, as they decided that he had done enough to edge the decision, with scores of 115-112, twice, in his favour against a dissenting card of 114-113, in favour of Magsayo.
Just moments ago we saw WBC Super Flyweight champion Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez (16-0, 11) put on a performance that belied his 22 years of age as he didn't just score his first defense, but did so in dominant fashion against former 2-time champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-6-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], who took a genuine pasting at the hands of the incredible champion.
Going in to the bout it seemed the bout would be a case of Bam's speed, timing and movement, against Srisaket's power, toughness and strength. And in the early rounds that did seem to be the case with Rodriguez landing clean shots whilst using his footwork to create angles, keeping Srisaket from landing clean and chipping away at the Thai great. It was a perfect start for Bam who picked the Thai apart with smart body shots and clean headshots without taking much in return.
It wasn't really until round 4 that Bam in any trouble at all. And even that trouble was very short lived, as he took a body shot late in the round, a body shot that he seemed to be bothered by, albeit only for a moment. Just a round later however Bam was back in total control, whilst Srisaket seemed unable to land anything at all, whilst taking hard shots upstairs and downstairs. He was landing at will, and the only thing keeping Srisaket in the bout was his incredible toughness and iron chin. Just a round later however that iron chin was beginning to show cracks and in round 7 Srisaket was dropped, albeit in something of a flash knockdown as Srisaket claimed he slipped. Following the knockdown Bam continued to beat up Srisaket to the end of the round.
Between round 7 and 8 the DAZN camera team showed Srisaket in his corner and it seemed very much like he had something of a resigned look on his face. It was the look of a man who was trying everything he could, but nothing worked. It was the face of a man who knew he was beaten, but didn't want to accept it. It was the face of an old legend who's career was coming to an end, though he likely didn't realise how close the end was.
The 8th saw Srisaket under pressure early. He tried to fight back, but really had no response, he was begging to become something of a punch bag, with Rodriguez landing at will, and switching from head to body. The headshots seemed to bother Srisaket, but it was the body shots that really broke him down and forced on to the retreat. With Srisaket backing on to the ropes Bam unleashed on him, landing really clean head shots, one after the other until finally the referee stepped in, saving Srisaket from further punishment.
At the age of 35 Srisaket's legendary career is likely over. He managed to record one of the most notable careers of any Thai in the sport, having success not just in Thailand, where he win his first world title against Yota Sato, but also in the US, where he scored two wins over Roman Gonzalez and also beat Juan Francisco Estrada. His career is that of a certified Thai great. Sadly though this is almost certainly the end of it, at least the top level.
As for Bam. The sports has a genuine star on it's hand, and he should be regarded as the front runner for Fighter of the Year, with this win following a victory over Carlos Cuadras, he should be on the pound for pound rankings, and his team should be looking to match him against other top fighters. There is talk of him moving down in weight. to Flyweight, though selfishly, we'd prefer to see him stay at 115lbs and face the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Kazuto Ioka, Juan Francisco Estrada and Fernando Daniel Martinez whilst cleaning out the division. Regardless of what he ends up doing, fans should be taking notice of him, and following him. We could well be watching the career and development of a generational fighter here.
Earlier today we saw the highly anticipated rematch between Japanese Monster Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (41-7, 27), who battled to unify the WBA "super", IBF, WBC and Ring Magazine titles.
The bout was hugely anticipated due, in part, to their brilliant 2019 clash which saw Inoue over-coming a fractured orbital to win a decision over Donaire in the Fight of the Year. This time around we were expecting something just as good, especially given how Donaire had looked since then, blasting out Nordine Oubaali and Reymart Gaballo since that loss.
What few would have anticipated was for Inoue to completely smash Donaire in a way that no one had ever done before.
The opening round started with Donaire looking to land his huge left hook within seconds. It was clear that the "Filipino Flash" wanted to remind Inoue what his power and left hand could do. Sadly for Donaire the shot didn't really land. Following Donaire's earlier left hook Inoue back to box and move, looking for openings and waiting for Donaire to leave a gap. The action seemed tense for a minute, before Inoue began to find a home for his jab, and left Donaire chasing him. The jab of Inoue was sensational, but it wasn't going to hurt Donaire. Instead a left hook with about 35 seconds of round left saw Inoue almost wake Donaire up and the Filipino became more aggressive, before being dropped just moments before the bell from a clinical Inoue right hand. Donaire beat the count, and was lucky there wasn't any of the round left, but it was clear that Inoue didn't want to have this one going rounds.
Given Donaire's excellent chin it was a surprise to see him going down this early, but it was a sign of Inoue's power and a real wake up call to just how spiteful Inoue in Reyes gloves were.
In round 2 Inoue work rate picked up as he looked to take the fight to Donaire, something fighters rarely do. It seemed like Donaire wasn't really expecting to see Inoue go after him like was. Despite being under pressure Donaire did manage try fighting back, but he was wobbled several times by Inoue's power, with the monster backing Donaire on to the ropes and landing a huge right hand. The pressure from Inoue kept coming as he applied an intelligent swarming attack. Donaire tried to fight back but was hurt again, stumbling across the ring. It seemed like he was set to go down but some how he stayed up right, and soon afterwards Inoue was all over him again, unloading to head and body before finally sending Donaire down for the second time in the fight with a clinical left hook, with the referee quickly waving the bout off immediately after the knockdown.
After the bout Inoue attended a press conference and seemed incredibly proud about his performance, whilst explaining he focused on using his speed. He also explained that when he got caught by a left hook he thought he'd give Donaire one back. He also explained that it was like a dream. Notable Inoue also stated that while he is looking to move up to Super Bantamweight he still wants to unify all the Bantamweight titles, and it seems like he wants to face Englishman Paul Butler, the current WBO champion, before moving up in weight. If that bout can't be made by the end of the year however, he will move up in weight.
Inoue also stated that he felt proud to fight against Donaire.
As for Donaire he reportedly cancelled his plans to attend the press conference, and we dare say it is now, finally, time for the legendary Filipino great to hang them up and retire following what has been an incredible career
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.
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.
The first world title fight to feature an Asian fighter in 2022 saw a notable upset in what was a bout that left us scratching our heads rather than being really impressed by either man. That was despite the fact the bout featured one of the best natural talented from the USA taking on one of the best natural talents of the Philippines.
The bout in question saw unbeaten Filipino Mark Magsayo (24-0, 16) score a major upset over long reigning WBC Featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr (31-2, 18) , in a bout that was confusing, confounding and one that really, hopefully, isn't a sign of what 2022 will bring.
Early on Magsayo started really, really well. He used his speed, size, and youth really effectively to out boxing, out fight and out-speed the lightning quick Russell Jr. It was the perfect start for the Filipino who looked the boss, and looked like he was going to put on a career defining performance. Sadly though he is Mark Magsayo, a sensationally talented fighter who seems to be his own worse enemy at times. After making Russell Jr look second best through the first 3 rounds, he then seemed confused when Russell Jr changed tactics.
In round 4 Magsayo started well, and even seemed to hurt Russell Jr early in the round, before allowing Russell Jr to create space and distance, which Magsayo happy walked into. It was a round that Magsayo won, but set the stage for what was going to happen through the middle of the fight.
The middle rounds saw the Filipino trudge forward, not throwing nearly enough, being made to miss, and then being pot-shotted by Russell Jr who's jab completely vanished in round 5, and instead he become a totally 1-handed fighter, landing little more then straight left hands. Those straight left hands were limited in number, but landed at a high accuracy level, whilst Magsayo came forward with limit success.
The limited effective pressure work from Magsayo, and clean accuracy from Russell Jr allowed Russell to fight his way back in to the bout, despite fighting with 1 hand, and despite not doing a lot himself. He was just defensive smart and offensively opportunistic against a challenger who has often lost himself in the middle of fights, something he did again here.
Thankfully for Magsayo it seemed somebody, likely trainer Freddie Roach, managed to light a rocket under his ass as we went into the final rounds, and Magsayo was a lot more offensively minded, with an increased output in rounds 10 and 11. Something he needed big time to re-establish his lead. Surprisingly however he failed to keep up the same intensity in the 12th round, allowing, once again, for Russell Jr to do what he could to essentially steal a round and make the cards very close.
After 12 rounds it seemed almost impossible to make a case that Russell could have won, but it seemed like a legitimate argument could have been made, on the basis of round by round scoring, for the bout to have been very close. Magsayo had won his rounds clearly. He had won them dominantly, especially early on, but Russell Jr had fiddled his way through enough rounds to make things tight.
That tightness showed on the cards, which were 114-114, 115-113 and 115-113, giving Magsayo a majority decision.
Given the Gary Russell Jr that Magsayo fought the result was performance was horribly under-whelming, but will be covered up by the result. It was another poor performance from Magsayo, where he has just managed to get over the line, and we do worry this reign is not going to be a long one for the Filipino unless he sorts out the mental side of things.
As for Russell Jr, it's hard to have sympathy for someone with his talented, but no real drive to be a star. His was his first bout in almost 2 years, and now at the age of 33 he could well find himself in the "who needs him club?" especially after this performance the fact he seemed to come in to the bout with an injury.
The bout promised a lot, delivered a surprise, but will not be well remembered at the end of the year.
Last night in Carson, California we saw a rare-all Filipino world title fight as WBC champion Nonito Donaire (42-6, 28) took on mandatory challenged Reymart Gaballo (24-1, 20) in a bout to unify the WBC regular and interim titles.
On paper this looked really interesting. Donaire, at the age of 39, is ancient for a Bantamweight and to be fighting at world level at such an advanced age is amazing at the lower weights. On the other hand Gaballo had looked explosive, exciting and was coming into his physical prime. It seemed like maybe Gaballo would be the right man, in the right place at the right time, or alternatively Donaire was going to add another big win to his record as he continues to push back father time.
The opening round saw Donaire intelligent pressure his man, coming forward and making Gaballo fight off the back foot, something he has never been comfortable doing. Gaballo had moments where he came forward, and moments where he landed, but he looked constantly fearful of Donaire, and his timing and power. When Donaire landed it seemed to clearly take an effect on Gaballo, whilst Gaballo's shots never really phased Donaire. To his credit Gaballo was the quicker man, but and he had that edge, but that was neutralised by the timing of Donaire.
In round 2 Gaballo, usually an aggressive and exciting fighter, was forced to over-think, and look for single shots when Donaire made mistakes. It was clear that Gaballo was losing his self belief, and his in ring identity, well before Donaire clocked him with a big right hand 2 minutes into the round. A right hand that forced Gaballo to hold. Gaballo had moments boxing, moving, moving, moving and jabbing, but it felt like their was an inevitability about things, given how timid he was becoming and how Donaire's pressure was taking a toll.
Gaballo did have a good moment in round 3, getting Donaire's respect, and clearly having one of his best moments as he looked to kick start his effort, but it was merely a flash point in a round that quickly saw Donaire again force Gaballo on to the back foot, and again seemed to show the challenger being hurt. It was technical, tense, but the inevitability remained, and we got a reminder of that when Donaire landed some huge shots late in the round. It felt, sooner or later, like the power of Donaire was going to see off his man, unless Gaballo sold out and went for it.
Donaire, who seemed to get tuned in at the end of round 3, started round 4 well, landing several big shots in the opening minute. Gaballo tried to respond but his successes were limited, hitting the guard or missing completely. Donaire then seemed to go into seek an destroy mode, walking down Gaballo, forcing him to fire back and stand his ground. That left Gaballo in position for a brutal right hand to the mid section with dropped Gaballo. Gaballo did seem to get to his feet, but quickly dropped back to his knees, realising he was in far too much pain to continue.
Following the bout talk emerged of a rematch between Donaire and Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥], who will defend his WBA "super" and IBF titles this coming Tuesday. Inoue and his promoter Hideyuki Ohashi have both mentioned the potential rematch, and if Inoue is successful next week it seems their focus will be on setting up this highly anticipated rematch.
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
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.