WBC Special Preview: Panya Pradabsri vs Yudai Shigeoka
By James Blears
World Boxing Council Straw weight champion Panya Pradabsri from Thailand defends his title against Japan’s Yudai Shigeoka on Saturday October 7th at the Ota City General Gym in Tokyo.
It was originally due to happen on April 16th, but the champion developed strep throat and a fever, was hospitalized and this voluntary defense had to be postponed. On that April 16th event, southpaw Yudai kept his hand in by winning the WBC Interim Belt. He stopped former WBO Champion Wilfredo Mendez in seven, having knocked him down in the fifth. Two rounds later he did it again and this time the Puerto Rican wasn’t able to beat the count.
Panya’s record is an impressive 40-1, 24 KO’s. Even before he turned his hand to boxing, he’d fought more than two hundred Muay Thai bouts. At thirty two years old taciturn Panya, is indeed tactically an accomplished champion. He won his Green and Gold laurels in 2020 by defeating legendary Wanheng Menayothin with a UD and then repeated the feat.
Although Yudai aged twenty six has a record of 7-0, 5KO’s, he certainly isn’t a callow, velvety youth. As an amateur he won four national titles as a pinweight and the All Japan Boxing Championship at light flyweight. Then he reached the finals of the World University Championship in Russia. He would have competed in the 2020 Olympics but the light fly category was discontinued. His extensive amateur career is 82-10, 20 KO’s.
Turning pro in 2019, Yudai has been fast tracked. In only his second fight he faced OPBF straw champion Lite Dante, winning by UD. After a fourteen month hiatus, he won the vacant Japanese Youth Title with a fifth round TKO of Ryu Horikawa, dropping him with a straight left in the third and again in the fifth.
The next step and it was a big one, was taking on former OPBF Straw weight champion Tsubasa Koura for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title. His first twelve round fight which he won by MD. In his first defense he stopped Cris Ganoza in three. A sinking left to the body ended matters. Then he KO’d Tatsuro Nakashima for the vacant Japanese straw weight title. That led to Wilfredo Mendez and now he’s up against Panya.
Panya’s only defeat as a pro, was a MD loss to former WBC champion Chaozhong Xiong in Datong, China way back in 2017. He’s been around a long time, as his pro debut was in 2010. Panya can box beautifully and very effectively. As his records indicates, rather than suggests, he has stopping power.
Having recovered from his illness, he cleared his throat with a tune-up against durable Norihito Tanaka, who he’d previously overwhelmingly defeated by UD. This time around Panya stopped him in eight rounds.
This battle will test Panya vast experience and ring generalship, against the fresh faced precious talents of Yudai, who will be fighting on home turf. It promises to be an exciting, fast paced contest between the seasoned old master against the hungry prospect, who has already proved himself and is ambitiously daring to take the next quantum leap. These surperlative straw weights are highly skilled throwing measured blows yet seldom haymakers.
More often than not, the small weight divisions don’t garner the attention they truly deserve. Yet these little big men, are worth their weight in Green and Gold, not only for their proportionate punching power, but also for their iron discipline in maintaining their slender frames within the required poundage. An increasingly difficult task as they age. To date the finest straw weight champion is Ricardo “Fininto” Lopez.
One of the greatest of them all was Welsh Wizard Jimmy Wilde. Jimmy’s official career spanned 1911-1923. The Principality of Wales punches way above its weight on the world boxing scene. Remember Tommy Farr, Howard Winstone, Colin Jones and Joe Calzaghe.
If Jimmy Wilde was boxing today he’d be a straw weight. He often had to add on parcels of pounds. In his time he fought bantamweights and even featherweights. He fought and lost to former world bantamweight champion Pete Herman, who outweighed him by more than fourteen pounds!
Jimmy was the first official World flyweight champion. He still holds the record with the longest undefeated streak. One hundred and three bouts. His extraordinary record is 131-3-1, 98 knockouts and eight no contests. Jimmy who started as a child boxer in the fairground booths insisted he fought more than six hundred bouts!
Nicknamed the Mighty Atom and the Ghost with a Hammer in His hand, The Ring Magazine named Jimmy Wilde the third Greatest Puncher of All time.
Quite a legacy to live up to. But confident that Panya and Yudai will do us proud on fight night.
Tale of the Tape
WBC Strawweight World Champion, 5th Title Defense
DOB: February 21, 1991
Residence: Bangkok, Thailand
Birthplace: Nam Yuen, Thailand
Record: 40-1, 24KO
Total rounds: 256
World championship fights: 5-0, 1KO
Height: 5’4” – 162cm
Manager: Kokiet Panichyarom
Promoter: Kokiet Group Promotions
WBC Interim Strawweight Champion
DOB: April 16, 1997
Residence: Tokyo, Japan
Birthplace: Kumamoto, Japan
Record: 7-0, 5KO
Total rounds: 30
World championship fights: 1-0
Height: 5’3.5” – 161cm
Reach: 62.5” – 159cm
WBC Top 10 Flyweights
1. Ricardo Lopez (Mexico)
2. Oleydong Sithsamerchai (Thai)
3. Wanheng Menayothin (Thai)
4. Hideyuki Ohashi (Japan)
5. Eagle Kyowa (Japan)
6. Wandee Chor Chareon (Thai)
7. Jose Antonio Aguirre (Mexico)
8. Hiroki Ioka (Japan)
9. Napa Kiatwanchai (Thai)
10. Kazuto Ioka (Japan)
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