Thai Fight provides spectacular finale for Songkran festival

0
547

The second edition of the Thai Fight muaythai extravaganza took place at a temporary stage and boxing arena erected at Bali Hai Pier in south Pattaya on Friday, April 19.

The event coincided with the ‘Wan Lai’ Songkran celebrations in the city and was well attended by revelers who came to see something more than just a water fight.

Minister of Culture, Sonthaya Kunplome, officially opened the contest at 5.30 p.m. and amidst a fanfare of thumping music and flashing disco lights he was swiftly followed into the spotlight by the first two combatants of the evening, Thailand’s Peemai Jitmuangong and Frenchman Yacine Darkrim, fighting in the 72kg division.

Payakdam Mor. Phuvananaipolkonkhonkaen flexes his muscles after his first round victory over Iran’s Behzad Rafigh Doust.Payakdam Mor. Phuvananaipolkonkhonkaen flexes his muscles after his first round victory over Iran’s Behzad Rafigh Doust.

From the opening bell, Darkrim used his superior height and reach to keep his opponent on the back foot to edge the first round.  Cheered on by a large local contingent of fans, Jitmuangong fought back in the second as Darkrim began to tire and the Thai went on to dominate in the third, appearing to be a clear winner at the final bell.  Remarkably however, the judges saw the contest as a draw and thus the sudden death round was brought into play.  With both boxers fighting themselves to a virtual standstill in the additional round, the judges finally got the decision right at the end and adjudged Jitmuangong as a worthy winner.

Peemai Jitmuangong lands a punch on Frenchman Yacine Darkrim during the first bout of Thai Fight Extreme at Bali Hai, Friday, April 19.Peemai Jitmuangong lands a punch on Frenchman Yacine Darkrim during the first bout of Thai Fight Extreme at Bali Hai, Friday, April 19.

The second bout on the “mystery” fight-card saw superstar Yodsonklai Fairtex make short work of 20-year old Naimjon Tuhtobaev.  The Thai champion and WBC world No 1 ranked middleweight attacked his outclassed Uzbek opponent with a barrage of kicks and punches that finally forced the referee to stop the contest in the second round.

The main event of the evening followed next in the form of the 67kg limit Isuzu Superfight between two Thai fighters, Iquezang Kor. Rungthanakeat and Fahmongkol Sor. Jor. Danrayong, with the winner getting the chance to take part in the Thai Fight championship held later in the year.

Yodsonklai Fairtex (left) blocks a punch from Uzbekistan’s Naimjon Tuhtobaev.Yodsonklai Fairtex (left) blocks a punch from Uzbekistan’s Naimjon Tuhtobaev.

Fahmongkol was on the offensive for all three rounds – using his height and reach advantage to pick Iquezang off while his opponent was reduced to trying to connect with counter punches.  Keeping the fight at distance, Fahmongkol ran out a deserved winner on points and for his efforts he collected 300,000 baht in prize money from sponsors Isuzu.

The following fight was over so quickly that if you blinked once you would have likely missed it.  Local lad Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee from Banglamung made a colorful entry into the ring, taunting his Cambodian opponent Ong Piarak before the first bell had even sounded.  Once the bout got underway for real Sudsakorn wasted little time in disposing of Piarak, knocking him to the canvas twice before finally finishing the fight with a vicious spinning elbow to the jaw that left the Cambodian counted out and in need of a precautionary trip to the hospital.

Iquezang Kor. Rungthanakeat (left) kicks out at Fahmongkol Sor. Jor. Danrayong in the Isuzu Superfight.Iquezang Kor. Rungthanakeat (left) kicks out at Fahmongkol Sor. Jor. Danrayong in the Isuzu Superfight.

The final contest of the evening was also a quick-fire affair and pitted Behzad Rafigh Doust from Iran against Thailand’s Payakdam Mor. Phuvananaipolkonkhonkaen, who hails from Srisaket.

The fight was barely a minute old when Payakdam caught Doust with a knee to the solar plexus that left the Iranian keeling over and in some distress.  Sensibly the referee stepped in to stop the bout as Doust was led to his corner coughing up blood and was latter also sent to join Piarak at the hospital for a check-up.

This year’s muaythai tournament proved to be another big success for the promoters and city officials and overcame initial logistical concerns about it clashing with the ‘Wan Lai’ day celebrations.  Once again it highlighted Pattaya’s suitability and capacity for hosting premier sporting contests and we hope to see more such events being staged in the city in the future.