Cambodia’s Keo Roomchang travelled to the Thai coastal resort town of Hua Hin to take on Yodsanklai Fairtex on Saturday in a fight which was broadcast live on national Thai TV.
The Kun Khmer veteran put up a brave performance before being knocked out in the second round by the Muay Thai legend.
Yodsanklai was the winner of The Contender Asia, the reality TV show which put Muay Thai on the international map, and is also a former Lumpinee champion, WBC champion, WMPF champion and reigning WMC and Lion Fight champion.
Roomchang, by contrast, is relatively unknown outside of Cambodia and came into this bout for the Thai Fight promotion as a major underdog.
He has 108 Kun Khmer fights to his name but Yodsanklai is rapidly approaching his 300th Muay Thai match and has consistently faced the best in the business all the way from flyweight up to middleweight.
The fight was fought under traditional Muay Kaad Chuek rules, meaning that no gloves were worn, with hands wrapped in ropes instead. Roomchang looked determined to land wild, swinging punches right from the opening bell.
It was to his credit that the Cambodian decided to take the fight to his illustrious opponent, but Yodsanklai looked more amused than perturbed as he easily weathered the onslaught and countered Roomchang’s telegraphed attacks with well timed punches and elbows.
Roomchang hit the canvas for the first time after a hard left elbow but the referee ruled it a flash knockdown and neglected to give him a count. Moments later he was felled by a barrage of punches and this time he was given 10 seconds to recover with both fighters swinging for the fences as the round came to an end.
Whereas Yodsanklai looked completely unmarked as his sat on his stool, Roomchang’s face was badly marked up, a testament to the superior accuracy of his Thai opponent.
The end came early in the second when punches put the Cambodian flat on his back, and he wisely decided to stay there.
It was an emphatic performance from Yodsanklai, who demonstrated his considerable advantage in experience and ability. The fight left Roomchang bloodied, bruised and battered, but speaking afterwards the 26-year-old suggested that a spell of recent inactivity was to blame for his loss.
“I came to Thailand on the 18th and I was in Bangkok for four days with nowhere to train and no-one to train with, so my conditioning was not good,” he said.