It was everything it should have been and then some; an excellent fight between two willing warriors. The battle between the two undefeated bantamweights saw a bloodied and badly cut Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym rally to victory in the last three rounds, winning a close split decision over Ricardo Cordoba of Panama.
Both fighters came out winging big bombs in round one with the taller, southpaw Cordoba using his jab and long, looping punches to keep Poonsawat from landing his own shots. For the first four rounds Cordoba held a slight edge and looked to be landing the harder punches. Bobbing and weaving and moving side to side, Cordoba held the edge in speed and made his Thai opponent miss from the outside.
Poonsawat did eventually manage to work his way inside where he began landing straight rights and left hooks to the body. By the fifth round the body punches of Poonsawat began paying dividends. Where in the first few rounds Cordoba was able to fight his way off the ropes, his punches were losing steam and the Thai was able to pin him on the ropes, unloading wicked body shots. Cordoba looked to be tiring and his punches seemed to be losing steam.
A clash of heads in round six opened a nasty gash just above the right eye of Poonsawat. Blood flowed freely from this round forward, but his corner was able to stem the bleeding sufficiently and problems from the cut never materialized. By round seven Cordoba had caught his second wind and delivered a round-long barrage of punches, turning the tide once again. In round eight Poonsawat cornered Cordoba who at this point was content to fight with his back against the ropes. For the next three rounds both fighters evenly exchanged punches whether it was on the ropes or in the center of the ring. Poonsawat looked to be the stronger of the two, however Cordoba consistently beat the Thai to the punch. In the final stanza Cordoba turned up the pressure, stalking Poonsawat, desperate to make his final bid for victory but it was too little too late.
Scores: 116-113, 111-118, 116-114
Referee: Steve Smoger
Rajadamnern Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand
Promoted by Virat Yachiraratanawong
A visibly dejected Ricardo Cordoba quickly left the ring and arena upon hearing the decision. The loss was his first; both he and his corner knew just how close the fight was and in losing showed he definitely belongs at the top of the heap. After being announced the victor, Poonsawat was given the microphone where he stated, "I'm so happy to win this fight, and I couldn't have done it without support from my camp and the fans. From now on I will train hard for the title bout because I want to become the real champion." Poonsawat is now scheduled to take on champion Wladimir Sidorenko of the Ukraine who fights WBA #7 ranked fighter Manabu Fukushimaof Japan on October 15th in Tokyo.
The cut suffered by Poonsawat is likely to keep him out of action for at least four to five months. Bantamweight legend Khaosai Galaxy was in attendance and worked the corner of Poonsawat.
How one judge scored the bout 118-111 is beyond me. The Sweet Science had the bout scored 115-113 for the Thai with a draw or 115-113 decision in favor of the Panamanian not out of the question.
After the bout referee Steve Smoger asked “was this fight every bit as good as it looked to me inside the ring? Who won?”
News and Notes
* WBA Featherweight champion Chris John of Indonesia will not be facing Juan Manuel Marquez on the undercard of the Roy Jones - Antonio Tarver fight in Tampa, Florida. At this point there hasn’t been a date confirmed for their bout.
* A game Terdsak Jandaeng (18-1, 13 KOs) of Thailand dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to Dominican Joan Guzman. With the win Guzman becomes the mandatory challenger for the WBO featherweight title held by Scott Harrison.
* Filipino Manny Pacquiao will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Los Angeles Angels - Oakland A's game on September 1.
* Australian Sakio Bika, the Oriental Boxing Federation Middleweight Champion(OBPF) is set to face interim champion Yoshihiro Araki in Osaka on November 22nd.
* OPBF welterweight champion Kazuhiko Hidaka will defend his title against Rev Santillan on December 3rd in Tokyo. Hidaka stopped Santillan in 4 rounds in March to take the title.
* September 24, 2005 has been marked as the date for the first-ever women’s championship tripleheader in Seoul, Korea. IFBA Flyweight champion Shin Hee Choi and IFBA Jr. Flyweight Juhee Kim, will defend their titles and #3 ranked Chorong Sohn will fight for the vacant mini flyweight crown. Also on the undercard will be lightweight contender Won Mee Jung, who may face Mia St. John for her IFBA Lightweight title in early 2006.
* According to the Korean Boxing Council, three North Korean women boxers will travel to Seoul in October to defend their WBCF (World Boxing Council for Females) titles against challengers from South Korea. North Korean bantamweight and defending champion Kim Kwang-ok, light flyweight Choe Un-sun and super flyweight Ryu Myong-ok will make the trip to Seoul.
September 10 - Los Angeles, CA
Manny Pacquiao (39-3-2, 32 KOs) vs. Hector Velazquez(42-10-2, 31 KOs)
The big fight of the next few weeks has to be this one. Pacquiao needs to get by Velazquez to set up the rematch with Erik Morales and this fight ought to be a decent gauge of how much the first bout with Morales took out of him.
Velazquez is a strong and durable fighter on a five fight winning streak and ,aside from a stoppage on cuts against Robbie Peden, hasn’t been stopped in over eight years. While Pacquiao will probably outbox Velazquez, I have two words for you Manny Pacquiao fans to remember: Serikzhan Yeshmangbetov. Velazquez is a puncher and punchers always have a chance. Pacquiao by decision or late round KO.
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Rajdamnern Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (22-0, 15 KOs) SD12 Ricardo Cordoba (25-0, 17 KOs)WBA Interim Bantamweight Title
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