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Lao Sinath wins by knockout

Lightweight champion Lao Sinath stopped top-ranked challenger Long Sophy in third round at CTN Sunday to hold on to his 60 kilogram kickboxing title

Photo by: ROBERT STARKWEATHER

Fight referee Sok Vichay raises Lao Sinath’s glove in the air after he stopped Long Sophy in the third round Sunday at CTN. Lao Sinath retains his lightweight title after defeating the Battambang fighter.

The crowd got what it came for Sunday when defending lightweight champion Lao Sinath flattened number-one ranked contender Long Sophy at CTN.

With 45 seconds left in the third round, southpaw Lao Sinath caught Long Sophy flush on the chin with a short, straight left hand.

The shot dropped Long Sophy to the canvass, and he was still flat on his back when referee Sok Vichay counted 10.

It was a brutal, if not entirely unexpected, end to Long Sophy's rise through the ranks of challengers at 60 kilograms. Despite having nearly twice as many fights as his opponent, Long Sophy entered Sunday's bout the overwhelming underdog.

"I'm not scared," said Long Sophy before the match. "But I don't have much hope of winning."

Lao Sinath, a Kampong Speu native who fights for the Commando 911 boxing club, began his professional career with a storybook 22-fight winning streak. In 45 career fights he has lost only three times. In 2008, he beat Sarim Vonthon to claim the lightweight title.

Long Sophy earned a shot at Lao Sinath by going undefeated in a 12-man tournament at CTN, notching up victories against Nuon Phireak, Van Chanvay and Po Vannsak. The Battambang fighter entered Sunday's fight with a respectable 56-22-1 record.

Prior to his knockout blow, Long Sophy was holding up well against a far stronger champion.

The 22-year-old Lao Sinath tried to establish dominance early on, putting his foot on Long Sophy's face in the opening minute of the first round, but Long Sophy refused to be intimidated.  

Long Sophy responded with a one-two combination followed by a hard kick to the body, and the two traded blows in a vicious series of low kicks to end the first round. When the bell rang, the two fighters stood nose to nose, gloves touching and were locked in a stare-off that continued longer than good sportsmanship generally allows.

The crowd exploded, hungry for more.

The second round continued where the first left off, and Long Sophy had Lao Sinath's attention early with a lead right hand that snapped the champion's head back.

Although 21-year-old Long Sophy remained the busier fighter through the first two rounds, the harder shots went to Lao Sinath, and heading into round three it was anybody's match.

Photo by: ROBERT STARKWEATHER

Long Sophy (right, blue) attempts to block a Lao Sinath attack in the first round of their fight Sunday at CTN.

Long Sophy, from Salavorn Sports boxing club, continued to push forward in the third, but with each shot he landed Lao Sinath only seemed to get stronger.

In the first minute Long Sophy caught Lao Sinath with a clean elbow to the head. Lao Sinath just smiled and kept moving forward, landing a low kick that knocked Long Sophy off his feet.

Long Sophy got back up and landed two punches, then a knee and a kick to the body. Taking them in his stride, Lao Sinath countered, landing a hard right elbow and left kick to the body that buckled Long Sophy.

The champ was turning it on, and the combination gave Long Sophy pause. He just stood as several seconds passed.

"Come on, come on," shouted his trainer Long Salavorn from ringside. "Kick! Kick!"

Long Sophy missed with a left-right combination that backed Lao Sinath into the corner, lunging with another one-two. Lao Sinath slipped to the right, then stepped forward with a short, straight left hand that caught Long Sophy flush on the chin. And like that, the fight was over. 

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