Stop the Madness! Stop the Mismatches!
By Ted Sares - Photo: Lito”Angelito” Sisnorio, Filipino boxer fatally injured in 2007 Thai boxing match
Article posted on 02.11.2008
Desperate fighters, without any real chance of winning, are frequently pitted against seasoned veterans looking to boost their records and entertain the viewers, if only for a few brutal rounds. --Karl Brandt
On October 31, 2008, Thai southpaw, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam stopped Indonesian Danny Sutton in two brutal rounds. Wonjongkam was 68-3-1 coming in and had lost only once in his last 41 bouts. As for Sutton, this was his professional debut!
The Thai fighter had four fights with Daisuke Naito (33-2-3), current WBC flyweight title holder, and chalked up a 2-1-1 mark in the process. Wonjongkam iced Naito in an astounding 34 seconds back in 2002 in defense of the Flyweight belt he first won by stopping undefeated Malcolm “Eagle Eye: Tunacao in 2001.Tunacao was decked three times in this slaughter. In all, the Thai achieved an amazing 17 successful defenses of his WBC Flyweight Title, all of which took place in Thailand and Japan
He also holds wins over Hussein “Hussy” Hussein in a 2003 bout held at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, a 2005 stoppage of tough Noriyuki Komatsu in Osaka, Japan, and a UD over then undefeated Hidenobu Honda also in Osaka. Indeed, unlike most Thai top tier fighters, this ex-champion has done his work both in and out of Thailand.
However, prior to the Sutton blow out, he beat one Mohammed Akbar, 0-3. Now get this. Akbar’s three opponents have a combined won-loss record of 128- 5-1. Still, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam is the real McCoy and has fought creditable opposition almost from the start of his long career. In fact, the first five fighters he battled had winning records. As well, two of his three defeats came early and were suffered at the hands of one Jerry “Jerry Quijano” Pahayahay, a Filipino flyweight who finished with a 39-55-2 mark. However, he had a winning percentage when he beat Pongsaklek.
Bottom line: Danny Sutton had no business in the ring with this monster. But then, seemingly to make bad matters worse, undefeated Panomroonglek Kratingdaenggym, 23-0, fought unknown Iranian Ali Hosini in his pro debut on the same card. Amazingly, Hosini held the Thai to a 10-round UD. Go figure.
These kinds of mismatches are fast becoming the norm in Thailand; something needs to be done before more bouts end tragically.
Boxing in Indonesia has a less than glorious modern history. Between 1980 and 1995, the sport made headlines for all the wrong reasons as at least nine boxers lost their lives through ring-related injuries. Then, from June 2000 until October 2001, five more boxers were killed.
In December 2002, the World Boxing Council, reacting slowly, finally banned Indonesian boxers from fighting in WBC sanctioned bouts outside the country. Also, boxers from its 161 member countries were banned from fighting in Indonesia.
The ban was lifted in July 2003, but on condition that Indonesia forms a commission to supervise bouts and investigate claims of misconduct. However, further fatalities followed in 2005, 2006 and in March 2007 when super featherweight Anis Mulya did battle in the ring for the last time. He became the twelfth Indonesian boxer this century to die of injuries sustained in the ring
Despite the government’s many efforts at reform including the establishment of an Indonesian Professional Sports Supervisory Body (BPPOPI), young men such as Mulya continue to die. (Paraphrased from “Fight For Survival, by Kim Brandt, Inside Indonesia, 2007 http://www.insideindonesia.org/content/view/619/47/).
The Slavic Countries
As bad as things seem to be in Thailand and Indonesia, countries like Slovakia, Hungary and Romania are beginning to take center stage for his kind of madness Boxers with 2-67-3, 2-77-8, and 10-58-3 records fill many of the bills. Robert Zsemberi has a 6-46-2 slate but has lost 37 by icings. That’s dangerous. Still, one of his wins came against Zoltan Horvath, 0-26, who in turn fought Vladimir Varhegyi, now 20-69-2. Vladimir has the dubious distinction of beating none other than Jozef Kubovsky, 13-101-14. Kobovsky’s last win came 58 fights ago against the hapless Imrich Parlagi, 2-67-3. As long as these guys fight in their own unofficial round robin, things tend not to get out of hand, but when someone like Wladimir Sidorenko or Kevin “The Dagenham Destroyer” Mitchell or Geir Inge Jorgensen slips quietly into the mix, things can get pretty dicey-- and dangerous. Stefan Stanko is 6-58-1, but has been stopped 50 times. Fighting a rugged customer like Pole Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (who split a pair with Steve Cunningham) as he did in 2004 is tempting fate--and that’s what this is all about.
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