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.
In 2017 we saw Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-5-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] announce himself to an international audience as he beat Roman Gonzalez in a close decision to reclaim the WBC Super Flyweight title that he had a lost a few years earlier to Carlos Cuadras. A second win over Gonzalez followed for the Thai who was proving he was no one hit wonder. Last year we saw him again shine on US soil, winning a FOTY contender against excellent Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (39-3, 26). Just moments ago we saw the rematch between Srisaket and Estrada, and we ended up with one of the most disappointing and odd fights of 2019.
Srisaket, known for being a huge punching Thai southpaw, came out in the orthodox stance, and wasn't fighting to his strengths. Instead of pressing the action he was boxing with the master boxer, and being made to look silly by a sharp, accurate and quick Estrada. Srisaket was being picked off, made to look clumsy and silly and really being schooled in the first half of the fight. Even when Srisaket did turn southpaw there was no concentrated effort to fight in the stance, turning righty against after just a few moments.
Whilst Srisaket did have moments, landing some solid right hands and some notable body shots, he was being out landed, out boxed, out moved and out thought. It seemed as if his entire gameplan was wrong, and yet he was sticking to it, not reverting to what had got him so much success through his career.
By round 7 Estrada was starting to bully Srisaket, and it looked like he could end up forcing a stoppage if he wished. Thankfully for Srisaket he began to wake up, began to realise he had to show more intensity and had to try and keep his title.
Sadly it wasn't until round 10 that Srisaket actually made an effort to fight southpaw. When he elected to to do that he began to have success, landing his power shots and making life very uncomfortable for the Mexican. A low blow in round 11 left Estrada in agony and Srisaket kept the pressure on from there, drawing out the machishmo from Estrada who stood and fought rather than boxed smartly. It made the final couple of rounds exciting, but by then it was clear Srisaket needed a knockout, and he hadn't looked like getting one in over 20 rounds of being in the ring with Estrada.
The final couple of rounds helped Srisaket close the gap on the scorecards, but he was clearly second best, and Estrada took the decision with scores of 116-112, and 115-113 twice. We struggle to see how any judge could have it 115-113, in fact even 116-112 feels closer than it should have been.
The big question after the fight has to be "Why did Srisaket fight orthodox?" He has had success through his career as a southpaw, had success today when he fought lefty and clearly should have fought as a southpaw again. There may be a chance, down the line, for a third meeting, but on this stupid performance it's hard to see many pushing for it to be made immediately given the depth of the division. There are more attractive options out there for Estrada than a third meeting with Srisaket, especially a Srisaket set on proving a point.
Strangely, given how sharp Estrada looked, it may not have actually mattered had Srisaket fought southpaw through the fight or not.
In 2017 Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], aka Wisaksil Wangek, put himself on the boxing man as he became a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion and ended the long unbeaten run of Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez. Since then he has further strengthened his resume with a stoppage win over Gonzalez and a decision win over Juan Francisco Estrada.
Today Srisaket made history by becoming the first man to defend a major world title on a major MMA promotion as he headlined ONE Champion's "Kingdom of Heroes" show in Bangkok. In the opposite corner to the Thai was unheralded Mexican challenger Iran Diaz (14-3-3, 6), a man who proved his toughness and determination despite being the clear loser.
The first round saw Srisaket put the pressure on the Mexican straight away and land a huge number of body shots. The predictions of many was that this bout wouldn't go long and the way the Thai started the bout he seemed intent of living up to the predictions of the fans and media. To his credit however Diaz saw off the storm and made it into round 2. He then slowly began to create a bit of momentum for himself, building round by round and neutralising some of Srisaket's offense. The Mexican wasn't really winning rounds as such, but was giving a much better effort than many expected as he created distance and found a home for counter right hands.
After 4 rounds Diaz had not only lasted longer than expected but had taken a round on one of the judges scorecards, with the open scores being 40-36, twice, and 39-37. It was amazing that Diaz's body was still upright given the punishment he had taken, but he was doing more than just surviving.
Having made things a little bit competitive in rounds 4 and 5 it seemed like Diaz was finding a groove. That was totally destroyed however when Srisaket upped the tempo, particularly in rounds 7 and 8, as the Thai looked to rip Diaz apart with head shots and body shots. Diaz managed to see off the storm, and potentially should have had a knockdown scored in his favour in round, following a flush uppercut that was ruled a slip by referee Jay Nady.
The open scoring after 8 rounds saw scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 79-74 all in favour if Srisaket who had the bout in the back but still wanted the knockout. He hunted it again in round 9 but was again on the canvas, again ruled a slip though again it seemed like there was a punch involved, with Srisaket being caught by a counter right. The Thai repeatedly caught Diaz up top with some vicious head shots from round 9 to round 11 as he seemed intent on closing the show for the local fans, wobbling Diaz badly at one point he couldn't send the Mexican down.
Having been taken into round 12 Srisaket suddenly changed his mentality and rather than being the aggressor, he turned into a slippery counter puncher and had some fun and sliding the shots of Diaz, with the Mexican picking up the tempo and swinging for the fences. It seemed like Srisaket had landed everything in his arsenal and had decided not to fire off any more bombs in the final round, with the bout well and truly in the bag.
At the scorecards both men looked happy with themselves. Srisaket was the clear winner, with the judges scoring the bout 119-109, twice, and 120-108. On the other hand Diaz was likely happy to have seen the final bell and put himself in the mix for good fights, maybe not world title fights but other good fights in a stacked division.
Srisaket's future looks likely to be in big divisional fights, including a potential rematch with Estrada or a unification bout with IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas.
Last year we saw Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (45-4-1, 40) announce himself on to Western audiences as he twice beat Roman Gonzalez to become a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion. This past Saturday he returned to the US to make his second defense of the title, facing off with the highly skilled Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (36-3, 25) on “Superfly 2”.
On paper the bout had all the ingredients to be something very special. It had one of the sports biggest punchers against one of the sports against one of the sports best all round fighters in a contest that fans had been anticipating ever since Srisaket stopped Gonzalez, in their second boud.
The bout started slowly, with both men looking to find their range and timing. It was Estrada who settled quicker and he certainly took the first round with no argument, and also likely the second as the crowd got behind everything he did. It was a crowd that seemed to clearly be cheering on the Mexican though it seemed like he had brought a pistol to a shotgun fight and in round 3 Srisaket started to land body shots with regularity. The success of the Thai seemed to make Estrada a little bit more apprehensive and the middle rounds were strong ones for the Thai, who seemed to out work, out muscle and our power the Mexican.
Despite being out powered Estrada had real moments of success, landing some beautiful single shots. Sadly for him they seemed to just bounce off Srisaket whilst the Thai's shots had a clear impact on the challenge, making sweat fly through the air and buzzing Estrada on a number of occasions.
The middle rounds not only saw Srisaket land his best shots but also seemed to cause Estrada to miss more. He seemed unsure of himself at times and fell short with a lot of shots. He managed to use his feet to keep Srisaket to only throwing singles, but did little to impose himself offensively. Then again even when he did land bombs they didn't do anything to the Thai to discourage him from rushing in as, and when, he wanted.
By round 10 it seemed like Srisaket had done enough to retain his title, if he could stay up right. Despite that Estrada wasn't wanting to just roll over and give up his shot, and it showed as he finished round 11 really strong, before having a huge round 12. In fact round 12 will go down as on of the best rounds of the year as both traded bombs for the 3 minutes. Estrada was the one getting the better off it, by quite some margin with accuracy and work rate, and he even stunned Srisaket at times, but could never quite get enough sustained success to drop the Thai, who was firing back through out the round.
The final round seemed like one that Estrada fought knowing he was behind, knowing he needed a knockdown or even a knockout.
The judges scorecards could have been all over the place, with a number of rounds being close, in the end though the scores were 114-114, 115-113 and 117-111, giving Srisaket the majority decision win and his second defense.
With successive wins over Roman Gonzalez, twice, and Juan Francisco Estrada it's hard to argue with Srisaket's resume, and he has really added to his previous big wins against Jose Salgado and Yota Sato. For Estrada he has proven he can hang with the best Super Flyweights, though will be kicking himself for not turning up the heat and taking more risks earlier in the fight. He really did control the final round, when he forced a war on Srisaket and had he done that earlier in the bout who knows whether Srisaket would have won or not.
Earlier this year Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] scored one of the biggest upsets of the year as he out-pointed Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-2, 38) and claimed the WBC Super Flyweight title for the second time. Going in to the bout Gonzalez was seen as one of the top fighters on the planet and the decision was heavily disputed, with many claiming the judges had done the previously unbeaten Gonzalez a disservice. That controversy of their first bout lead to a rematch, with Srisaket again entering as the clear under-dog.
In the opening round we didn't get a feeling out round. Instead we got round 13 of the rivalry between the two men with Srisaket trying to take out Gonzalez early on. The Thai didn't get the knockdown that he did in the opening round of fight #1 but showed that he was there to make a statement, and that he wasn't going to have the public saying he was lucky this time around. There were a couple of minor headclashes in the round, but unlike the first fight they weren't major and neither man was cut from them.
The second round saw the pace from Gonzalez pick up, as both men traded blows in a round that was much more of a back-and-forth round. Gonzalez had moments but there was several massive body shots from Srisaket that seemed to have Gonzalez feeling pain, even though he made sure to fight back through it. It was clear that Gonzalez's leg didn't have the same bounce that they had had in the past and it almost caused him to fight Srisaket's fight. That was the case even more in round 3 as the two men traded blows incessantly on the inside giving us a potential round of the year. It was however a round that Gonzalez put a lot into, and did little to dent the Thai.
In round 4 Gonzalez tried to keep up the pace but sadly for him he eat a monstrous southpaw right hook that sent him down hard. Gonzalez was hurt big time by the shot, but gritted his teeth, showed his fighting heart made it back to his feet. That however left him a bit of a sitting duck with Srisaket on him in an instant. Gonzalez tried to fight back, but an even better left hook sent him down, and almost immediately the bout was stopped, giving Srisaket his biggest stoppage win to date.
With the stoppage under his belt Srisaket has some major options. He could hunt unification bouts with Naoya Inoue, Jerwin Ancajas or Kal Yafai or he could face mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada, eithr way those are going to be big paydays and fights that he will feel he should win.
For Gonzalez this is likely the end to his fantastic career. It's a shame for it to end in this way, but given how much punishment he has received since he moved to Super Flyweight it did seem like it was only a matter of time before it all caught up with him, as he did here. Sadly some fans will have only seen the final few bouts of Gonalez's great career, and those fans really have missed out on one of the sports best fights of the last decade. For those who followed Gonalez over the years however they'll know exactly how good he was in his pomp.
We've long said that the Super Flyweight division is the best in the sport, and today we saw another great Super Flyweight bout, as Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38) traded blows with Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] in a bout for the WBC title.
The Thai entered the bout as a massive under-dog, though looked calm and relaxed as he entered, whilst Gonzalez looked like a worried man, despite being a massive favourite. From the opening round it was clear that Srisaket hadn't read the script and he took the fight Gonzalez and scored a knockdown in the opening round. It wasn't a massively hurtful knockdown but it was one that seemed to essentially say, “I'm not here to make up the numbers”.
The Thai showed his firepower again in the second round as he backed up Gonzalez and seemed to hurt the Nicaraguan sensation, who simply looked over-whelmed, over-sized and under-powered. Gonzalez had his moments towards the end of round 2, but they weren't enough to get the round.
Things went from bad to worse for Gonzalez who managed to move through the gears in round 3 but was left with a cut from an accidental headclash, one of many to occur during the fight. Although cut it was clear that Gonzalez was finding his groove, despite Srisaket smelling the blood of the Nicaraguan.
Gonzalez was backed up early in round 4 but really showed his class as he took the fight back to Srisaket and landed some shots that would have felled most fighters in the division. It was only Srisaket's incredible chin that seemed to keep him upright. Gonzalez, now having the bit between his teeth, had a great round 5 and round 6 as he took on Srisaket in a war, and seemed to badly hurt the Thai in round 6, the best round for Gonzalez. Not only was Srisaket hurt but he also had a point deduction after another clash of heads. Although the heads were clashing the deduction seemed a harsh one with neither man really to blame, and the heads coming together was more a stance thing than an actual malicious act.
Despite having lost the sixth round 10-8, and being hurt, Srisaket bounced back to win round 7, hurting Gonzalez late in a round that was one of the best of the year, with both fighters trading through out. The traded again in round 8, with Srisaket starting well and bullying Gonzalez at times before being rocked late in the round
Unfortunately for Gonzalez the bleeding from the cut and the size disadvantage was taking it's toll, and although he had hurt Srisaket a couple of times he could never force the Thai down, like he had been able to do with foes earlier in his career. Instead Srisaket just out muscled Gonzalez, ate his bombs and regularly spat them out before firing back, using his natural size advantage.
Going into the championship rounds it seemed that Srisaket may have just been in the lead, and both looked exhausted. Srisaket however relied on his size again to force Gonzalez back for most of round 11, taking the round despite a real spirit fight back by Gonzalez late on. It seemed, in his head, that Srisaket believed he had done enough and he essentially did nothing in round 12, a round that seemed like it could be important. It was a round that Gonzalez took, and took clearly with Srisaket holding and spoiling. It could have cost the Thai.
As we got to the score-cards the were announced 113-113, a draw, and 114-112, twice. It seemed close enough to have gone either way. Then it was announced that Srisaket had got the win, securing one of the biggest upsets of the year, and becoming a 2-time world champion.
Although size was clearly a factor, and the cut for Gonzalez, the reality is that the result essentially proves that Gonzalez's move to Super Flyweight wasn't the smartes. Srisaket is a huge Super Flyweight, but he was made to look even bigger due to the fact Gonzalez wasn't a natural at the weight, and that showed through out the fight. For Gonzalez the future is hard to call, a move to 112lbs, if his body can do that, would be best, a rematch would likely be damaging, and staying at 115lbs for a bout with Naoya Inoue has now lost it's shine, sadly. For Srisaket a bout with Inoue,a rematch with Cuadras or with Gonzalez are all going to be big money bouts, and great fights for fans.
Last night Filipino fighter Richie Mepranum (31-5-1, 8) suffered his third defeat in a world title bout, retiring at the end of the 8th round against Mexican fighter Carlos Cuadras (35-0-1, 27), the current WBC Super Flyweight champion. The loss for Mepranum follows previous world title defeats to Julio Cesar Miranda, back in 2010, and Juan Francisco Estrada, in 2014.
The Filipino looked out of his depth from the opening stages with the unbeaten champion landing his shots early on and establishing control of the match up. Although in control it wasn't until round 6 that Cuadras really began to up the ante and it seemed that from then on Mepranum was in survivors mode with Cuadras becoming more and more confident.
By the end of round 7 Mepranum looked like a beaten fighter but came out for round 8, that however would be his final round with the Filipino staying in his corner at the end of round 8.
With the loss that's probably going to be the end of Mepranum's world title dreams. As for Cuadras we're now expecting to see him in a mandatory defense in summer against former champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น].
Earlier today Japanese fans had a treat as they had the chance to see two WBC world title fights live on WOWOW Prime, who have been doing a special event for the day. One of those titles fights saw the all-action Koki Eto (17-4-1, 13) challenge WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (34-0-1, 26).
Sadly for Eto, and his fans, he was to come up short, though he did put up a brave effort against Cuadras, who seemed too quick, too sharp and too smart for the challenger.
Eto, a former WBA interim Flyweight champion, started slowly with Cuadras having too much skill and speed earlier on. The good start for Cuadras saw him run out to a 40-36 lead when the scores were first announced, after 4 rounds, and bloody the nose of Eto who applied pressure but was ineffective early on.
The middle portion of the fight was more competitive, with Eto having real success in round 6, though Cuadras seemed to be comfortable despite the fact Eto was having more success. The cards after 8 continued to show Cuadras's lead, with the cards reading with Eto having real success in round 6, though Cuadras never 79-73, twice, and 78-74.
Knowing he had to turn the fight around Eto gave his all looking to pull the win out of the fire. This saw him have a great round 9 but he couldn't ever do the damage needed to stop Cuadras who used his feet to secure a decision win, with cards that read 117-111, twice, and 116-112.
The win sees Cuadras retain the title and it now seems like he will be facing Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, in a rematch of Cuadras's title winning effort from last year. If that bout ends up being made, as expected, then we could be in for a really explosive one with Srisaket likely to start faster than he did in their first meeting, where a slow start ultimately cost him a technical decision.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
It's a real shame when world title fights aren't televised and that was the case this past Thursday when WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (31-0-1, 26) went to the US to defend his world title against Filipino fighter Marvin Mabait (19-3-2, 13). The bout was put together after Sonny Boy Jaro had visa issues to enter the US and in some ways the fight seemed destined to be a mismatch with Mabait given around 2 weeks notice.
The fight proved to be as much of a mismatch as many had assumed. Mabait was in trouble every time Cuadras put his foot on the gas and this saw the Filipino going down in round 4, although no count was given at the time it did appear to be the start of the end for the Filipino challenger. The following round Mabait was again in trouble as he did have a knockdown scored against him with the ropes keeping him up.
The challenger was put out of his suffering early in round 6 as Cuadras dropped him and the referee essentially said enough was enough, despite Mabait getting to his feet well inside the count.
For Mabait this is likely to be his best chance to claim a world title and is sadly his second successive successive stoppage loss, in fact it's his third stoppage loss in 5 fights and one has to assume he'll now become a journeyman. As for Cuadras this was his second defense since winning the title with a technical decision over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai earlier this year. We doubt we're the only ones who would rather see Cuadras Vs Srisaket II than fights like this that go untelevised and are made on short notice.
Last December we predicted that boxing would get a WBC Super Flyweight title eliminator between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (27-4-1, 25) and Carlos Cuadras (30-0, 24). The bout, a few weeks later, was ordered by the WBC and ever since that announcement we became incredibly excited about a bout that we were suggesting was a potential FOTY. A bout we were thinking could be the "2014 version of Takahi Miura Vs Sergio Thompson", a rare but enthralling collision between the elite from the East and the West, a a coming together of monster punchers, the immoveable object and the irresistible force.
Unfortunately we were wrong, we were really wrong and instead of getting the anticipated tear up that would have been one for the ages we instead saw a fight that failed to really come alive before a disappointing clash of heads brought the action to a premature conclusion.
The bout was supposed to be a centre ring slug fest. Instead it became a case of Cuadras boxing and moving, showing more of his footspeed than his much vaunted power punching. Instead of a tear up we had Srisaket chasing a man who wanted to avoid a real fight. It was frustrating to watch as the Mexican fought scared of the Thai an it seemed every time Srisaket landed the feet of Cuadras became busier whilst his punch out put was limited to say the least.
The few times the fight did light up with exchanges were great but nowhere near as frequent as we had hoped for or expected. What was supposed to be a war between real warriors became a case of chase the home fighter who was never going to lose at home with the tactics he was using.
In round 5 things got worse for Srisaket who was deducted a point at the start of the round. It seemed an odd deduction though was unlikely to make any difference to the bout which he was always going to require a KO to win. Unfortunately due to the very negative, though intelligent, movement of the challenger the opportunity for a KO never came despite growing pressure from the Thai.
Sadly the bout ended in round 8 after a monster clash of heads cut Cuadras over the eye and forced us to the scorecards a few rounds early. Having failed to get the KO the result was an inevitable one with Cuadras claiming the title via a very disappointing 8th round decision.
Whilst this was the second technical decision of the day, following the very controversial bout between Simpiwe Vetyeka and Nonito Donaire it's fair to say this was actually the more disappointing bout. We had expected so much from the men involved and sadly we were left feeling let down. The Donaire bout saw the referee destroy what was warming up into a good fight for this fight however it never looked like quite catching fire as we had hoped.
We're hoping the WBC will allow for a rematch though we're doubting it. We think Cuadras will likely take the title over to Japan at some point in the next 12 months and defend it there on a Teiken show. We hope that, whilst Cuadras could defend the title in Japan, Srisaket won't be frozen out. He's too fun to be missing from the title picture for long despite this major set back.
(Image courtesy of Notifight)
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.