Out of the ten fighters who made this top ten P4P list, only Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Oleydong Sithsamerchai have yet to plateau or descend – they’re on their way up. Terdak Jandaeng and Wandee Singwancha can go either way and the rest of the fighters on the list have seen better days. Thailand has always had a bountiful pool of fighters to draw from, but after years of having the country's best fighters matched against stiffs, it’s beginning to take its toll. Call me pessimistic, but I’ll take quality opposition over quantity any day.
Pulling a Pong: idiom,
To retain one’s world championship by fighting opponents who have little to no chance of being victorious. Fighting stiffs or those who barely have a pulse.
1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (62-2, 32 KOs): A ten year, fifty-three fight winning streak gets WBC flyweight champion Wonjongkam the top position. For all the talk of poor opposition, he has managed to face a handful of decent fighters; Hussein Hussein, Trash Nakanuma, Hidenobu Honda, Daisuke Naito and Alex Baba. Not the best of the division but no other Thai fighter has been as dominate as Wonjongkam. He’s scheduled to face South Africa’s Monelisi Myekeni in October or November and it should be his most difficult test in nearly three years. Myekeni has steadily improved his game and is coming to win, not to show. I smell either an upset or an upset stomach.
Will Pong lose before retiring?
Magic 8-ball response: “You may rely on it.”
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (24-1, 15 KOs): In spite of his recent loss to Vladimir Sidorenko, Poonsawat is one of, if not the, most talented of all the current crop of young fighters. He’s slick, he can bang and he doesn’t shy away from tough fights. He’s full of potential and should eventually win a title and fight for another five years. His one weakness is his inability to deal with speed, as was demonstrated against Sidorenko, but in losing he gained valuable experience. Give him another year to find a home as a champion.
Will he ever win a championship?
Magic 8-ball response:”Concentrate and ask again later”
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal (46-1-1, 37 KOs): Sithchatchawal fought a long list of inferior opposition but he gets the number three position because of one fight, his excellent comeback victory over Mahyar Monshipour in France. He was almost stopped by Monshipour in round two but almost doesn’t count in boxing or horseshoes. I’m more impressed by his fitness level and ability to absorb punishment than his skill level. How long he remains champion might not depend on his opponent as much as how focused he can remain during his training and title-reign.
Will Sithchatchawal retain his title for more than three defenses?
Magic 8-ball response: “My sources say no.” That is unless he pulls a Pong.
4) Wandee Singwancha (49-7-1, 10 KOs): He’s been fighting professionally since he was fourteen years old and has racked up a whopping fifty-seven fights. Singwancha is another Thai who made great strides in one fight. At the age of twenty-six, he’s far from being washed up. He’s an excellent boxer who can stick to a game plan but has one glaring weakness – he can barely crack an egg. He got by Juanito Rubillar in his last fight and should easily get by Munetsugu Kayo (if they fight). He’s got the ability to defeat Brian Viloria or Omar Nino Romero and may very well be the dark horse of the Jr. Flyweight division.
Can Singwancha defeat Viloria or Romero?
Magic 8-ball response: “Yes, definitely”
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (54-2, 32 KOs): In May of 2005 Singwancha defeated Michael Clarke to win the WBC lightweight title eliminator. Ranked second by the WBC, he waited for a shot at the winner of Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo and instead was rewarded with an interim title fight against Chikashi Inada, a fighter who rose from total obscurity to number three in the WBC’s world. Imagine that, another WBC sleight of hand. Shortly before the fight, Singwancha was found to be infected with hepatitis and was sent packing. Jose Armando Santa Cruz stepped in and punished the hapless Inada, winning the interim title. Singwancha’s lone fight since he was diagnosed with the disease was against Lito Gonzaga of the Philippines, a fighter who had not fought in nearly eight years and was fighting two weight divisions above his previous fighting weight. Singwancha easily stopped Gonzaga in 1:14 of round three, but at least until his hepatitis is cleared up his career remains in limbo.
Can Singwancha win another world title?
Magic 8-ball response: “Outlook not so good.”
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (48-3-1, 37 KOs): Oh what a difference a year can make. He’s fought four times since his loss to Vicente Mosquera but his career is going nowhere. A bout against Manuel Medina didn’t come off and a proposed bout in Rio de Janeiro against Acelino Frietas has yet to materialize. Sor Nanthachai has jumped from Super Featherweight to Jr. Welterweight and at thirty-six; time and weight are of the essence. Championship looks improbable.
Can Sor Nanthachai win another world title?
Magic 8-ball response: “Outlook not so good.”
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom (53-3-2, 38 KOs): Sahaprom did exactly what he was supposed to do in his most recent fight when he easily knocked out Pascal Mhagama in round three. Whenever Sahaprom gets in the ring there’s always a good chance the fight’s going to end in a hurry, but his better days are behind him and I’m doubtful he has enough to win another title. Sahaprom’s manager See Ooey recently stated his charge has no intention of retiring and in fact is shooting for a rematch against current WBC champion Hozumi Hasegawa or the WBA champion, Vladimir Sidorenko.
Has Sahaprom left his better days behind him?
Magic 8-ball response: “Yes, without a doubt.”
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan (33-1-1, 18 KOs): At thirty-seven, time is running out for Phosuwan to reach the top of the mountain. He’s ranked second by the WBO but that’s not saying much; his resume is chockfull of perennial loser Filipinos and South Africans and he was defeated in his one and only fight against a name opponent, Fernando Montiel. He did manage to beat Mbwana Matumla (16-1, 10 KOs) but couldn’t put away light-hitting Anthony Mathias. If he continues fighting for the WBO he won’t be fighting in Japan and a championship belt looks unlikely.
Can Phosuwan ever win a world title?
Magic 8-ball response: “It is doubtful.”
9) Terdsak Jandaeng (24-2, 15 KOs): By now, Terdsak Jandaeng is no stranger to boxing fans in the western world – most remember his unusual name which has been the brunt of many a joke. He’s got a well-deserved reputation for being a tough-guy, earned in his losing battles with Joan Guzman and Juan Manuel Marquez. Losing, no matter how brave the warrior does, doesn’t necessarily equate a position in the P4P top-ten, but in his case he’s shown he belongs at the top of the heap. While he’s fallen short in his two big-time fights, he’s still young (25) and is one of the best of the current crop of Thais. He desperately needs a win against a top-ten fighter.
“Can Jandaeng win against a top-ten fighter?”
Magic 8-ball: “Sources say, improbable.”
10) Oleydong Sithsamerchai (22-0, 8 KOs): Sithamerchai just makes it into the top-ten. He’s unknown outside of Thailand but this may change if he gets his mandatory shot at WBC minimumweight champion Eagle Kyowa early next year. Unlike the vast majority of Thai fighters, Sithsamerchai’s ledger shows he’s faced opposition with a pulse. Although he only has eight KO’s in his twenty-two fights, his overall boxing ability makes up for it. His ring generalship, quick hands and subtle footwork give him a good shot at lifting Kyowa’s title. One of my favorite of all of the current Thai fighters, Sithsamerchai would be my favorite if he had better KO power. A definite future champion.
“Will Sithsamerchai win a title in the next nine months?”
Magic 8-ball response: “Yes, definitely.”
Honorable Mention: Ratanachai Sor Vorapin, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Kaichon Sor Vorapin
Still in the Money: Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Panomroonglek Kratingdaenggym, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym, Napapol Kiatisakchokchai, Saenghiran Lookbanyai