Nawaphon ready to take on Mex­i­can

The Nation - - SPORT - KITINAN SANGUANSAK

NAWAPHON NAKHONLOUNG has vowed to win the World Box­ing Coun­cil (WBC) fly­weight cham­pi­onship fight with Mex­i­can ri­val Juan Her­nan­dez on March 4 at Nim­ibutr Sta­dium and join the coun­try’s elite group of box­ers who have achieved such a feat.

The bout pits the Thai num­ber one chal­lenger against the 29-year-old Mex­i­can, ly­ing next to him in the rank­ings, for the va­cant ti­tle in the 112pound class af­ter Nicaragua’s Ro­man Gon­za­lez de­cided to move up a di­vi­sion.

For Nawaphon, boast­ing an un­beaten record of 36 wins with 28 knock­outs, it presents an op­por­tu­nity to join an elite fighter such as Pongsak­lek Won­jongkam, who won the WBC fly­weight cham­pi­onship be­fore.

“I’m ready and fit. I could fight any­time. I’ll try to use my height and range to good ef­fect. He looks smaller than me. I’ve trained in­ten­sively, fought more than 200 bouts. I have for­mer cham­pi­ons like Srisaket [Sor Rungvi­sai] and Suriyan [Sor Rungvi­sai] as my spar­ring part­ners. I think I’m strong and 100 per­cent con­fi­dent,” the Nakhon Ratchasima na­tive said.

Su­rachart Pisitwut­ti­nan, chair­man of Nakhonloung Pro­mo­tion, who is bet­ter known as “Sia Hui” in box­ing cir­cles, has tipped Nawaphon to be­come the coun­try’s lat­est fighter to win the WBC ti­tle, one of three widely-recog­nised box­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions.

“He [Nawaphon] has to wait for this fight for more than two years. Ro­man Gon­za­lez avoided fac­ing him in the ring un­til he va­cated the ti­tle. We worked re­ally hard to bring the bout to our coun­try. Her­nan­dez set many con­di­tions to come here.

“We’ve trained Nawaphon for four months. I get up at the crack of the dawn to over­see his train­ing. We now have a month to go be­fore the fight, which I think we could reach our tar­geted 299 spar­ring bouts.

“He seems to have a weak spot in the mid­dle of his body. We have to keep a close eye on his lethal left hook. It’s by no means an easy job for Nawaphon.

“All the Mex­i­can fight­ers want to win WBC ti­tle. That’s be­cause the WBC chair­man is a Mex­i­can and the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s head­quar­ters is sit­u­ated in Mex­ico so it has more mean­ing to them,” said Su­rachart, who has been be­hind the suc­cess of a num­ber of Thai cham­pi­ons.

Nawaphon’s ti­tle bout, which is or­gan­ised by BEC Tero En­ter­tain­ment, will be held in­doors at Nim­ibutr Sta­dium, some­thing un­com­mon in the coun­try where box­ing fights usu­ally take place out­side. The com­pany also boasted that the fight would change the face of box­ing bouts in the coun­try with the use of light­ing and sound tech­nol­ogy. Tick­ets for the fight start at Bt100 and go on sale on the web­site, tha­i­tick­et­ma­jor.com, to­mor­row.

Nawaphon Nako­rn­loung, right, and his pro­moter Su­rachart Pisitwut­ti­nan pose dur­ing the press con­fer­ence .

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