Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Fifty not out: Thai boxer Wanheng equals Mayweather record



Fifty not out: Thai boxer Wanheng equals Mayweather record

Thai boxer Wanheng Menayothin (left) lands a punch on Panamanian challenger Leroy Estrada on his way to winning his 50th straight victory on Wednesday in Thailand's Nakhon Ratchasima to retain his WBC title. AFP
Thai boxer Wanheng Menayothin (left) lands a punch on Panamanian challenger Leroy Estrada on his way to winning his 50th straight victory on Wednesday in Thailand's Nakhon Ratchasima to retain his WBC title. AFP

Fifty not out: Thai boxer Wanheng equals Mayweather record

Thai boxer Wanheng Menayothin clinched his 50th straight victory on Wednesday, stopping a Panamanian challenger to hold onto his WBC minimumweight belt and tie the undefeated record of boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The 32-year-old Thai nicknamed the “dwarf giant” reached the milestone in the fifth round as Leroy Estrada failed to recover from a powerful upper cut.

The Panamanian was the busier of the two fighters in the opening rounds, leaving a cut above Wanheng’s left eye.

But the veteran Thai was unruffled, knocking down Estrada twice in round three with withering right hands and again in the fourth, before the stoppage in the fifth.

Wanheng’s quest to equal “Money” Mayweather has stirred intrigue between the unheralded, soft-spoken Thai and the brash, vastly more wealthy American.

“I’m happy that I can make the same record as [Mayweather],” the champion said ringside after the fight.

Asked about his next move, he said he was not yet thinking about a 51st bout.

But one more win would bring Wanheng level with Mexican flyweight Ricardo Lopez, who retired with 51 wins, one draw and no losses.

The bout was hosted in a parking lot, under an awning in the blistering late afternoon heat of the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, far from the glitz – and air conditioning – of Mayweather’s favoured Las Vegas.

‘Tremendous fight’

Boxing analysts have taken note of his achievement but point out that Wanheng has dominated undistinguished rivals compared with Mayweather, who took out greats including Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya.

Wanheng’s rivals have been a mixed bag – one last year had 44 losses, while another in 2014 had 24.

In December, he tied Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 tally with a win over Japanese contender Tatsuya Fukuhara.

Still, World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman, who attended Wednesday’s bout, applauded the “tremendous fight” and record-equalling feat.

“The world is going to get to know him much better, and great opportunities will open for him,” he said.

That may bring a boon to Wanheng, who has fought since he was 12 and despite his prowess is significantly less wealthy than Mayweather, who briefly emerged from retirement last year to fight MMA star Conor McGregor for a $100 million purse.

Given the lack of finances, fighters in Thailand often compete under the label of their gym – Menayothin is Wanheng’s Bangkok gym.

The Thai boxer’s legal name is Chayaphon Moonsri.

But he is better known by the nickname “dwarf giant” – on account of punching power that belies his size – and “Five-Star Grilled Chicken” because of a sponsorship deal with a Thai food company.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration