Color Line Arena, Altona, Hamburg, Germany
Referee: Rafael Ramos (USA)
Promoter: Universum Promotion
Title at Stake: WBA Bantamweight Title

07-15-06: Going in to his WBA bantamweight title fight against champion Vladimir Sidorenko (19-0, 6 KOs) in Hamburg, Germany, interim champion Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (24-1, 15 KOs) of Thailand worried about being robbed of a decision. He determined his only means of victory would be knocking out Sidorenko and didn’t consider the thought of losing a legitimate decision. But in order to knock out your opponent, you need to be able to catch them. For twelve rounds Kratingdaenggym used relentless pressure and bullish tactics while Sidorenko was the artful dodger, the matador, moving in and out, skillfully moving out of range and then darting in with shots of his own. In the end, it was the matador who did enough to win the unanimous decision in a bout that was in no way as controversial as some previous title fights in Germany. The fight was close throughout and many of the rounds could have gone to either fighter.

Kratingdaenggym, 25, clearly demonstrated he was the stronger of the two fighters in round one, pushing Sidorenko back and walking through his combinations. Hands held high, the Thai launched his stiff jab over and over again into the nose of Sidorenko, following up with ripping left hooks to the head and body. In the second stanza, Kratingdaenggym continued to use his jab to keep Sidorenko off balance, digging in with straight rights to the pit of his stomach. Sidorenko was having problems landing solidly on Kratingdaenggym and chose to stand in front of him, winging his own shots. Kratingdaenggym blocked most of the shots but Sidorenko, from the Ukraine, used the jab, overhand right combination to work his way though the tight defense of the challenger.

Rounds three and four saw Sidorenko pick up the pace, coupling his quick combinations with side-to-side movement and landing an increasing number of scoring blows. The two moved to the center of the ring once again, with neither willing to give ground and both continuing to score. Kratingdaenggym snuck a big uppercut through the guard of Sidorenko, snapping his head back, but the Ukrainian remained content to exchange.  

In round five, Kratingdaenggym became the matador, moving in and out and using feints in conjunction with his jab and left hook to force Sidorenko off balance. Sidorenko was determined however and the middle rounds slowly turned to his favor.

Instead of standing right in front of Kratingdaenggym, he got on his toes and began shooting sharp jabs and overhand rights, never stopping to let his opponent land a clean punch. He kept up the fast pace until round eleven. By this time, the Thai challenger needed a knockout out to win and was desperately charging forward in an attempt to land a finishing blow.

Sidorenko finished strong, punctuating the win with a solid combination as the bell sounded to end of the fight. There was little doubt as to the victor.

Judges' scores: Mikael Hook (Sweden) 120-108, Levi Martinez (USA) 116-112, Takeshi Shimakawa (Japan) 115-113

The Sweet Science scored it 115-113 for Sidorenko.

While not many would dispute a close decision in favor of Sidorenko, the scoring of Judge Mikael Hook certainly raised more than a few eyebrows. How he failed to give Kratingdaenggym even one round is a mystery but perhaps he was busy downing the Jagermeister and missed the fight.

In boxing, speed often defeats power and the speed of Sidorenko was simply too much for Kratingdaenggym to overcome. The two were near carbon copies of one another; the only difference being Sidorenko had the speed and Kratingdaenggym carried the power. The bout was reminiscent of the stylistic matchup between Thailand’s former bantamweight champion Veeraphol Sahaprom and his conqueror, Hozumi Hasegawa of Japan. Sahaprom would come close time and time again to landing the one big punch but the speed of the Japanese fighter eventually prevailed and he captured the championship. In their March rematch, Hasegawa’s speed was again a factor, this time when he knocked out Sahaprom.     

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At the MGM in Las Vegas, Nevada on the undercard of Vargas – Mosley ll

WBA lightweight champion Juan Diaz (30-0, 15 KOs) proved that even at the tender age of 22, he’s already a cut above many of the others in his division. His 9th round, clinical dissection of Filipino power puncher Randy Suico simply reconfirmed his championship stature.

The taller Suico tried fighting Diaz in the trenches, staying close to the champion where he hoped to land a big uppercut, but Diaz fended off all attacks, stepping inside Suico’s long arms and looping punches and firing away. Eventually the body punches and constant battering administered by Diaz took their toll on Suico and referee Joe Cortez stepped in at 2:06 of round nine and appropriately stopped the contest. Suico’s now dropped all three of his bouts when stepping up in competition and his future title aspirations are certainly in doubt.

* * *

In October of last year, Daniel Ponce De Leon (29-1, 27 KOs) edged out Sod Looknongyangtoy (27-2, 10 KOs) of Thailand via a hard-fought, unanimous decision. Looknongyangtoy faded in the final four rounds of the bout, allowing Ponce De Leon to win the vacant WBO super bantamweight title. He was anxious to get his revenge. De Leon left now doubt as to who the better fighter was this time around when he shocked Looknongyangtoy 52 seconds into the fight, flattening him with a single left cross. Looknongyangtoy fell flat on his face and didn’t budge until well after the ten-count.

”I didn’t even see the punch,” said the disappointed loser. “I threw the left and missed and got caught. I’m ok though.”

He may be ok after awakening but after two losses to De Leon in a bid for his title, it’s doubtful he’ll be fighting in the US anytime soon. Back to the grind of the free shows in Thailand.