WBC World super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai has enjoyed a rollercoaster eighteen months in the sport.
Now, after three high-profile victories on the road, it has been announced that the Si Sa Ket village native will return home to defend his crown on October 6th at Thailand’s 12,000 seater Impact Arena in Bangkok.
His return home as a bonafide World champion in one of boxing’s deepest, most talent-rich divisions is a remarkable turnaround for the previously unknown Sor Rungvisai.
Plucked from obscurity in March of 2017 to face then-undefeated pound-for-pound superstar Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, Sor Rungvisai entered the bout at New York’s famous Madison Square Garden as sizeable betting underdog.
However, the tenacious Thai power-hitter tore up the form book, gritting out a closely-contested majority decision in a bloody, brutal battle to shock the boxing world: he has not looked back since.
Sor Rungvisai would eradicate any notions of fortune – or indeed, controversy – emanating from his first victory over Gonzalez with an equally shocking fourth round knockout in their return bout in September.
After knocking ‘Chocolatito’ down earlier in the fight, a crushing right hook would send the Nicaraguan superstar crumbling to the canvas, resulting in a truly frightening knockout victory for Sor Rungvisai.
In the space of just six months, the southpaw slugger had recorded two victories over a man many considered to be the sport’s premier fighter – not bad going for a man who admitted to eating out of dumpsters in his homeland a mere few years ago in a bid to fend off starvation.
At first glance, the boxing acumen of Sor Rungvisai does little to whet the appetite. He appears ungainly, without nuance and has little of the spectacular skill-set that many of his contemporaries in a stacked 115lbs division possess.
He is, however, a punishingly prominent power-puncher.
Former WBC super flyweight champion and perennial contender Carlos Cuadras would describe each of Sor Rungvisai’s shots as “being hit with a sledgehammer”, after the two faced-off in May of 2014.
Though Cuadras claimed an eighth round technical decision – and with it took Sor Rungvisai’s WBC World title – after a clash of heads, it is apparent that the writing has been on the wall for some time with regards to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Upon closer inspection, the seemingly-cumbersome ‘plodding’ of Sor Rungvisai’s advances appear more deliberate than dumb. He cuts off the ring so subtly and effortlessly that, at times, it looks as though even he himself doesn’t realise he is doing it. When coupled with his freakish power and iron-chin, his stalking forces his opponents into a state of panic – and with panic, come mistakes.
Though his attacks are predominantly limited to a lead right-hook and a ramrod southpaw left, again, the intricacies of his advances leave his opponents with an apparently unsolvable riddle – as former two-weight king Juan Francisco Estrada discovered in the meeting between the two in February.
Estrada, himself very much an elite level operator and one of the sport’s finest technicians, simply could not make sense of Sor Rungvisai. Varying the tempo and levels of his shots, the 31-year-old banged and bullied his Mexican counterpart to head and body on his way to securing yet another victory in a bout he had been made the underdog.
While his highlight reel knockout of Gonzalez feature prominently on any tape of Srisaket, it is his pulverising body attack that has now become his trademark. According to CompuBox, he is the most active – and successful – body-puncher in the sport, tearing away at his opponent’s mid-section before unleashing his arsenal to the head in a bid to close the show.
Boasting a remarkable record of 40 stoppage wins in 45 victories – an obscenely high percentage for a man plying his trade in the lower weight classes – Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is without question one of boxing’s most destructive punchers.
It is a facet of any fighter’s make-up that brings interest and intrigue to the sport, and Sor Rungvisai will be afforded a heroes welcome upon his return in Thailand to defend his WBC World super flyweight crown.
Though he is due to take a ten round, non-title tune-up bout against unheralded Korean Young Gil Bae (28-6-2, 22 KO’s) next weekend in his home country, it is merely an appetiser for the main course Sor Rungvisai will serve up in October.
With a propensity for home-cooked rat (his favourite post-fight delicacy) Srisaket Sor Rungvisai encapsulates the simplistic brutality of a man who has not only endured the hardships on his way to glory – but also of a man not willing to forget them.
After defeating two of the finest fighters of recent memory in his last three outings, perhaps now he will be afforded the respect and gratification his achievements undoubtedly deserve.
One thing is for certain, he will be lavished with these things – and deservedly so – when he returns home, a beloved hero, to his countrymen in Thailand.
Article by: Rob Tebbutt
You can follow Rob on Twitter at: @RobTebbutt