Boxing


Somsak Sithchatchawal Vs. Mahyar Monshipour - Could It Be The Greatest Prize Fight Ever Captured on Film?

21.03.08 - by James Slater: A good friend of mine, who, along with being a semi-pro bodybuilder, owns a vast collection of fight films, recently loaned me a copy of the Somsak Sithchatchawal-Mahyar Monshipour fight. I had heard about this incredible fight's reputation, and had even seen some of it on YouTube. But to see the fight in full, and on the big screen, is utterly incredible. Indeed, after watching the fight, I seriously had to ask myself if this was the greatest fight I had ever seen!

For those that have not seen this utterly spellbinding fight, the action that took place in the champion's home country in March of 2006 goes something like this.

Defending WBA super-bantamweight champion, Monshipour 28-2-2(19), of France, who was making the 6th defence of his world title, came out like a man possessed at the sound of the opening bell. Southpaw Sithchatchawal of Thailand, who had lost just once previously in 47 bouts, met him head-on and the brutal action commenced. And brutal is the only world for it! Without exaggerating, what these two men did to one another simply has to be seen to be believed, such is the sheer carnage going on in centre ring.

The Frenchman threw himself to the floor in the opening seconds, such was his enthusiasm for battle, but a genuine knockdown soon sent him there for real. A sharp left uppercut/hook did the job, and the Thai fighter had the upper hand. Not for long, though. For as soon as he got back up, the ultra-tough fighter from France, along the equally tough boxer from Thailand, went at it, in a I'll-hit-you, you-hit-me approach for ten of the most breathtaking rounds of boxing imaginable. With almost every punch from either guy being a fully loaded one, the damage being done on both sides was savage.

The only question was, who would cave in first? Someone had to, surely! But for round after round, no-one did. The brutality continued unabated. Almost as incredible, is the fact that neither warrior was particularly marked up, despite the savage haymakers they were furiously exchanging - a cut over the champion's left eye and some blood from his nose being the only wounds of battle. Of course, that's during the contest - how the two men looked a few hours after the war had ceased is something I can't tell you.

Of the two men, the challenger was the more versatile. Able to box and move at times, and stick out a fast right jab, the man from Thailand was to benefit from his greater skill. The Frenchman, marching forwards relentlessly and refusing - or unable- to change tactics, was the first to visibly grow at least a little weary. Not that you could blame him! But the action seemed to last a hell of a long time before the pace slowed. After about 6 rounds of trying to knock chunks out of each other, the frenetic pace dipped at least a touch. But how the fans had been treated to an all-time classic.

The 9th round was especially mind-blowing. In this session, with the two rivals beginning to tire, they traded blow after blow with absolutely no regard for defence. Both swinging for the fences, the spectacle was like few others ever seen inside a boxing ring. Finally, as round number ten approached its end, the stubbornness was drained from the man from France. As Sithchatchawal teed off, making Monshipour's head visibly reel as he did so, British referee John Coyle dived in to call a halt. One of, if not the best-ever, fights in boxing history had ended.

The best-ever fight? Better than Ali-Frazier? Better than Corrales-Castillo? Better than Hagler-Hearns? Better than Vazquez-Marquez? Better than Pacquiao-Marquez? To be honest, I think so, yes. As great as those fights were, the kind of intense, even insane, warfare the two great fighters with the unpronounceable surnames gave us two years ago is nothing short of unique. In short, the Sithchatchawal-Monshipour fight is simply a boxing match that makes you glad you are a fan of the sport. Again, it has to be seen to be believed.

Since the epic slugfest two years ago the loser has retired and the winner got himself TKO'd in three rounds in his very next fight. If these two events are due to neither fighter being the same again after what they went through on March 18th, 2006 in France, no-one who has seen their fight would be at all surprised.

Article posted on 21.03.2008



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