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Menayothin-Niyomtrong, Now Possible?


PhilBoxing.com



Menayothin (L) and Niyomtrong.

The king is dead.

Long live the (new) king.

Chayaphon Moonsri AKA Wanheng Menayothin after a six long years, sway as undefeated WBC minimumweight champion finally lost his world title and his immaculate, erstwhile boxing best 54-0 record in a 12 round unanimous decision loss to ironically, fellow Thai Panya Pradabsri last November.

With his unexpected defeat, another unbeaten Thai world champion Thamanoon Niyomtrong AKA Knockout CP Freshmart, the WBA minimumweight titlist since 2016 has emerged as the new Thai king of the 105 pounders.

Menayothin can always pursue a rematch versus Pradabsri to regain his world title but a revenge victory, short perhaps of a spectacular early knockout, will accomplish very little in restoring his reputation and now forever lost record of ring success that once beggar Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s.

His only other way to achieve a measure of redemption is to try and win another prestigious world title in the same weight class or in the next higher division, the light flyweight.

The top two world champions at 108 lbs are both Japanese, Hiroto Kyoguchi, the WBA and Ring titleholder, and Kenshiro Teraji, the WBC titlist, who are both highly respected internationally for their ring accomplishments and feats.

Realistically speaking, Menayothin stands very little chance against either of Kyoguchi or Teraji even in the least likelihood of the fight being held in Thailand where Japanese fighters seldom win in world title fights.

Even less if he challenges any of the two in Japan.

It is also doubtful if the Menayothin camp could lure the other world titlists, Nicaragua's Felix Alvarado and Mexico's Elwin Soto to defend in Thailand given the increasing stringent travel restrictions necessitated by the pandemic.

Hence Menayothin has very limited options and choices if he intends to regain a measure of his former luster and stature and that is to continue at minimumweight and try to get a world title fight against the best in the division.

The current best---and king--is Niyomtrong or better known as Knockout CP Freshmart.

For years, Menayothin and Niyomtrong have avoided fighting each other, preferring to defend their respective titles against contenders that include current Filipino IBF titlist Pedro Taduran and assortment of challengers coming from diverse countries as Japan, the Philippines, Panama, Mexico, Tanzania and South Africa.

But given the current difficulties in travelling to and from Thailand which have virtually confined its top champions and fighters at home and limited professional boxing there to fights between Thai boxers, the confrontation between the two may now become possible.

Or even inevitable.

Though less famous than Menayothin, Niyomtrong has comparatively better resume given the circumstances of his rise and the names on his fight record.

He won the vacant WBC Youth world minimumweight title in 2012 in his pro debut against Filipino Marlon Cabilla and made seven consecutive successful defense before vacating the minor title.

Niyomtrong then defeated Carlos Buitrago by unanimous decision to win the vacant WBA minimumweight interim title on October 1, 2014. His first defense came against 44-year-old former two-time world champion Muhammad Rachman via a wide unanimous decision. He then scored a knockout for the first time since claiming the interim world title in July 2015, against Alexis Diaz. On April 2016, Niyomtrong went on to rematch Buitrago, winning a wider unanimous decision to defend his title.

The WBA then ordered a match-up between interim champion Niyomtrong and their full champion Byron Rojas on April 2016. Rojas was previously the WBA (Regular) champion and had defeated WBA (Super) champion Hekkie Budler to win the full title. The fight took place on June 29 and Niyomtrong won the fight by unanimous decision to become a full world champion.

Niyomtrong has since turned back the challenges of Japanese Shin Ono and Norihito Tanaka (UD) and Go Odaira (KO5), Filipinos Rey Loreto and Toto Landero (UD) and ArAr Andales (TD 4) and former titlists Xiaong Chaozhong and Byron Rojas, both by unanimous decision.

However, due to the fact that he surpassed Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s unbeaten ring record, Menayothin may still be the main face of Thailand in international pro boxing notwithstanding his recent loss and the presence of Srisaket Sor Rungvusai.

Menayothin won the WBC title from Mexico's Oswaldo Novoa in November 2014 and before he lost it to Pradabsri last year, had defended it against a bevy of challengers that included Filipinos Melvin Jerusalem and Pedro Taduran, Mexicans Saul Juarez and Leroy Estrada, Japanese Go Odaira and Tatsuya Fukuhara, Tanzanian Omeri Kimweri and South African Simphiwe Koncko. He was so impressive that Golden Boy signed him up to a contract to launch him in the USA.

Hence, Thai boxing authorities may find it necessary to resurrect his career by arranging a fight against Niyomtrong.

Or at least, a rematch versus Pradabsri.

Thereby ensuring that Thailand still keep both the WBC and WBA titles in any event.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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