Pich Seyha recorded his third straight victory Sunday at Bayon TV with competent third-round knockout over Mai Chaimov
Photo by: ROBERT STARKWEATHER
Mai Chaimov (left, blue shorts) held up well in the early rounds against Pich Seyha with strong kicks but ultimately succumbed in the third round.
MAI Chaimov liked his chances against Pich Seyha.
"I've got a 70 percent chance of winning," he said before their bout Sunday at Bayon TV, although few others shared in his optimism.
Bookmakers took a near opposite view, giving Mai Chaimov of Battambang a 67 percent chance of losing.
Mai Chaimov's opponent, 20-year-old Pich Seyha, sounded even more certain.
"I'll beat him for sure," he said. "One hundred percent."
Ringside chatter echoed Pich Seyha's confidence.
Mai Chaimov weighed in at a typical 65 kilograms; Pich Seyha, of Takeo, at 63kg.
The two fighters spent little time warming up during the buildup. From the first bell, both unleashed punches and kicks with full power for a strong, if a little slow-paced, opening round.
Looking to capitalise on his size advantage, Mai Chaimov sought out the clinch early.
The strategy worked through the opening rounds. Mai Chaimov swept Pich Seyha to the canvas twice in the first round and scored on several occasions with throws in the second.
Pich Seyha returned with a Zen-like calmness each time, even when it looked as if the underdog might be running away with the advantage.
Under pressure, Pich Seyha continued to choose his shots carefully, waiting patiently on the outside, then landed quick three- and four-punch combinations.
Inside the clinch, he banged away at the body and, while the throws were easy for the crowd to see, Pich Seyha was methodically wearing out his opponent with merciless knees.
Mai Chaimov responded with powerful kicks, and an intriguing battle of strength versus technique was emerging.
The start of the third round saw the pace increase dramatically. Mai Chaimov came forward with kicks and looked for the clinch, but Pich Seyha let his hands go.
The two battled smartly until midway through the round, with the fight virtually even, Pich Seyha caught Mai Chaimov against the ropes with a clean right hook.
The punch immediately dropped Mai Chaimov to his knees. Quickly he jumped back to his feet and smiled, only to find referee Meas Sokry in his face.
"Two ... three ... four," the referee counted.
Mai Chaimov looked on in disbelief, raised his gloves over his head and questioned the count with a shrug of his shoulders. It was a convincing performance but hardly mattered.
Twenty-five seconds later the two fighters stood centre ring and traded elbows, then kicks, then punches. Pich Seyha landed another right hook that froze Mai Chaimov, and then a right elbow.
The combination sent the bigger man careening into the ropes, then down to the canvas for good.
"He caught me with a couple of clean shots," Mai Chaimov said after the fight, rubbing his torso. "Knees and kicks, too."
In 2007, Pich Seyha was one of three Kun Khmer fighters to switch to Western boxing.
Having spent nearly a year away from local boxing, including fights in Australia, he returned triumphantly in January to the local ring with a decision victory over Kao Bunheng.
The win Sunday over Mai Chaimov is Pich Seyha's third since returning to regular action last month after beating 60kg powerhouse Van Chanvay on points, recording a stunning first-round knockout victory over veteran Pom Saray.