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The ban that exploded – Aekkachai Saengthapthim

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Due to the small niche that I cover it’s rare for any fight that I write about to get any sort of major attention. Every so often though a fight does manage to do that, usually because of the loyal fan bases that fighters in Asian boxing countries often have, or the intrigue that Western fans have in specific fighters. It’s fair to say Western fans are particularly interested in the ultra-talented Naoya Inoue as well as Heavyweight oddity Zhang Junlong. As a result articles featuring those two men tend to get quite a bit attention.

What I never expected to see get much attention was the April 1st bout between Haruaki Kamiya (6-0, 2) and Aekkachai Saengthapthim (0-1). On paper it looks just like another Rookie padding their record against a poor Thai import, nothing different to what Japanese fans see several times a week. The reality however is that Aekkachai could well be the worst boxer I’ve had the displeasure of seeing live, and that’s something that has seemingly made a bit of a buzz in Thailand.

Watch the fight here: https://youtu.be/ZoYxhRf56gs

When the bout took place I actually live tweeted “Aekkachai is the worst fighter I have ever seen.” and also called for him to be banned from the ring. He looked clueless, lost and as if he was playing the April fool live on Japanese TV, with the bout being aired live on G+ a premium Japanese sports channel. His shots looked like they were being thrown by someone who had never been in the ring before, they were short arm punches, punches thrown totally off balance and with his legs crossing and his chin up in the air. He came to fight, but had no idea how to fight.

Just over a minute into the fight Kamiya figured him out and landed an uppercut which decked the Thai and he took the 10 count, ending what was an embarrassing performance.

A little over 2 weeks after the bout Aekkachai was officially banned by the JBC, something I reported on Thursday morning. In the 36 hours that followed the bout received more than 40,000 views on youtube, pushing it to more than 43,000 views in total.

When you consider the video is “unlisted” on youtube, as are most of the ones I upload, it’s fair to say that the bout has managed to capture the attention of fans in Thailand. In fact it seems every notable Thai site to cover boxing has now featured the video, with the like of Thairec.com and tko.in.th both making the video more public.

Now whilst this seems like me making a story of myself the real point of the story is the JBC do what every country should be doing. They have been banning poor quality imports. Aekkachai was just one of a number of Thai’s recently banned for having inadequate ability, essentially the JBC don’t want fighters being brought up, collecting a relatively good pay day for that level, and then not having the skills needed to put up a fight.

It might seem harsh but no one wins from a performance like that of Aekkachai. He looks terrible, his opponent looks like like he beat someone who had never laced on gloves before, the promoter looks like they failed to do any due diligence on the opponent and the JBC look like idiots for letting him fight. We see it in the UK, with Georgian fighters who can’t fight, and the long running joke of the Latvian bin man is something that has often plagued European rings. Hopefully a move to copy the JBC’s lead will help clean out those who are simply not good enough to to get in the ring, for both their safety and the decency of the sport in general.

Note-In the 36 hours that followed the original report of Aekkachai’s ban the story has been taken over by the Thai press, with sites like https://sport.mthai.com, http://sport.sanook.com, https://www.thaich8.com (who stated the video had been watched 28,182 times when they put their story up), www.khaosod.co.th and http://btsstation.com all featuring the story and video. It’s actually become a widespread story in Thailand where there is a mixture of feelings from annoyance at the Thai fighter to anger at the JBC, though the general view seems to be that Aekkachai wasn’t trained well enough to fight.

(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)

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