Friday, December 15

Chatchai Sasakul

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When it comes to great Thai boxers few stand out as much as the great Chatchai Sasakul, a man who faced some of his divisions finest boxers, ranging from Manny Pacquiao, Cristian Mijares and Yuri Arbachakov. In a career spanning back over 2 decades and including a number of amateur accolades such as Asian Games silver medal winner and a 2 time Gold Medal winner at the Sea Games. Although he fell short of meddling at the 1988 Olympic games, he showed he was skilled and hugely talented.

Chatchai would turn professional in 1991 and make a sudden impact, stopping Bert Refugio inside a round for his debut, this was followed up by 2 more stoppage wins before Chatchai got his first title fight as a professional. He would win the WBC International flyweight title by stopping Ric Magramo in his 4th fight. After 4 years as a professional Chatchai had run up 20 straight wins, 15 of which were by KO as he rose up to the top of the WBC rankings. Then came a fight with Japanese based Russian Yuri Arbachakov, the first former Soviet star to win a world title. Arbachakov was also unbeaten and, like Chatchai, was a highly rated amateur star, both fighters were 20-0 and both fighters put on a great fight. Though the winner was Arbachakov by a close but clear points decision.

Chatchai would get revenge 2 years later, having run up a series of solid wins and winning the interim WBC flyweight title forcing Arbachakov into a rematch. Sadly for the Russian he wasn’t the same fighter he had once been, and Chatchai eased to a clear victory. The victory ended Arbachakovs career and helped to make Chatchai a national hero.

Despite the great victory and 2 great defences, Chatchai would hold the title for only 13 months before losing it to Filipino Manny Pacquiao, a fighter who is now a sporting legend, but back then was young fighter on the way up. Pacquiao forced an 8th round stoppage to inflict just the second loss of Chatchai’s career, though again the Thai battles on with his career. Though the heady heights of the WBC championship would never be reached again, the best he would do would be to win the interim WBC Asian Boxing Council bantamweight title.

After a 7 year winning streak Chatchai would be upset by the unbeaten Kuniyuki Aizawa, Aizawa scoring a huge upset win on points. Although Chatchai was35 and incredibly old for a fighter of his size he kept fighting and managed to work his way into one final world title fight, by then though he was a shadow of himself. The tragedy of causing the death of Lito Sisnorio in 2007 weighing heavily on his conscience he basically no showed against Cristian Mijares in a Super Bantamweight title fight. This signalled the end for the 38 year old fighter who fought just once more, picking up an easy win over Kongdej Sithtrajtrakan before retiring.

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