Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lao Sinath remains the best

Lao Sinath remains the best

Lao Sinath remains the best

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Lao Sinath (left) won 3 million riels (US$720) cash for retaining his lightweight title at CTN boxing arena Sunday, while Van Chanvey colected 1.5 million riels.

Among the most destructive fighters in the 60-kilogram division, Van Chanvey was no match for champion Lao Sinath, who easily retained his lightweight belt Sunday

Defending lightweight champion Lao Sinath scored a third-round knockdown against Van Chanvey Sunday, and cruised easily to a points decision to retain his title at the CTN boxing arena.

Lao Sinath, a southpaw, landed a powerful right-left combination early in the third, sending Van Chanvey careening across the ring into the ropes and tumbling to the canvas. The champ came charging forward after the count, hunting for a stoppage, but Van Chanvey quickly found his composure, countered well and used his feet to stay elusive.

“He didn’t want to fight; he wanted to run,” said Hong Suen, Lao Sinath’s trainer at the Commando 911 Boxing Club.

The judges’ scores were not announced, but the final decision could not have been anything but unanimous.

Lao Sinath, 25, dictated the pace of the fight from opening bell, pushing forward through all five rounds and forcing Van Chanvey, 23, to fight off the back foot.

Using long jabs and push kicks, Lao Sinath worked his height and reach advantage to keep the shorter Van Chanvey on the outside. He scored with punches, knees and low kicks in effortless combinations.

On the rare occasion that Van Chanvey ventured inside, he found the champ’s defense impenetrable. In five rounds, Van Chanvey landed virtually nothing of substance.

After tasting Lao Sinath’s power in the third, Van Chanvey appeared reluctant to exchange. In the fourth, an apparently frustrated Lao Sinath responded to his opponent’s evasiveness with a questioning smirk and shrugged shoulders.

It was unusual, though perhaps unsurprising, to see a typically dominant Van Chanvey so completely contained. The Battambang native had earned a title shot against Lao Sinath by demolishing the pack during last year’s CTN lightweight tournament.

Van Chanvey lead the eight-man field with five knockouts, four of them coming in the first or second round, and he finished the competition with a seven-fight winning streak, including two huge decision upsets over Long Sophy and Kao Roomchang.

But against the taller, faster, stronger Lao Sinath, Van Chanvey’s power proved far too little, as nearly everyone had expected.

Oddsmakers had Van Chanvey a 10-to-1 underdog at opening bell.

In a brief, prefight interview with CTN ring announcer Ith Sita, Van Chanvey answered questions about his chances of winning with a decidedly apprehensive “50 percent.”

Phan Phanath, one of Van Chanvey’s trainers at Club Preah Khan Reach, answered similar questions with a bashful smile and a silent shake of the head.

During prefight preparations, former lightweight champion Sarim Vonthon offered Van Chanvey a fight plan that sounded less like a strategy and more like a prayer. “You go in there, you catch him with an elbow, you put him to sleep, and you win this thing,” he said.

But the fight gods were not listening.

Lao Sinath won the lightweight title from Sarim Vonthon in 2008. He successfully defended against Long Sophy in February 2009, scoring a third-round knockout.

He will go to France in February, for what is expected to be a three-month stay with three fights scheduled.

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