The Thai Red Shirts did in Arturo Lin. An angry mob of them ensconced to one side of his gym in Bangkok several weeks ago, prompting an equally large group of government soldiers to take a position on the other side. In recent days, the crack of machine gun fire has chased all but the most obsessed trainers and fighters away.
Club Koh Kong sensation Phon Phanna, who Lin faced Saturday at the TV3 boxing arena, dropped the 23-year-old Madrid native with a punch to the solar plexus in the final minute of round two and stopped him with an elbow to the head in the opening minute of round three.
“I had no power,” said Lin, who silenced the crowd at TV3 in February with a victory over former national champion Van Chanvait. “I’ve been training by myself. I knew I could not win.”
The knockout marked Phon Phanna’s 10th straight victory. He represents the latest in a long line of top-notch fighters to emerge from the fabled Club Koh Kong and captivate the Phnom
Penh fight scene. The most famous are Ei Phouthang, his younger brother Outh Phouthang and ISKA world welterweight champion Meas Chanta, who now lives in Australia.
As a teenager, Phon Phanna moved across the border into Thailand to live and fight. When the country’s politics turned volatile in late 2009, he came back home. He has not lost since returning to the Phnom Penh fight scene in December, scoring notable victories over Chanta Sarim, Eam Vichet, Eam Vutha, Van Chanvait and most recently Pao Puot.
In February, Phon Phanna stopped Yuki Chiba of Japan on the same card that Lin made his Cambodian debut against Van Chanvait.
“I saw him fight last time,” said Lin, who entered the ring Saturday on an eight-fight winning streak. “I like his style. He’s got very good technique.”
Against the taller Lin, who at 1.85 metres held a significant height advantage, the Cambodian’s technique included going to the body early and often.
In the first round, Phon Phanna landed straight punches and hooks to Lin’s torso and worked his legs with low kicks.
Lin tried to keep his opponent on the outside with a long left jab and knees to the body. The Spaniard landed a hard knee to the stomach in the first round that earned a nod from Phon Phanna, and he fired half a dozen left roundhouse kicks as the Koh Kong native came surging in the final
seconds of round two.
They proved no deterrent. Phon Phanna backed Lin into the neutral corner and capped a flurry of punches with a straight right hand to the stomach that dropped the Spaniard to the canvas.
Lin got up slowly and glared across the ring.
The bell rang as referee Trueng Sossay counted eight, and Lin returned to his stool but did not sit.
When the third round opened, Phon Phanna drove Lin back into his corner with a volley of punch-kick combinations. Lin, with no place to go, planted his feet, and the two traded power shots in a breathtaking exchange.
Lin caught Phon Phanna several times with head-snapping punches, but Phon Phanna appeared unfazed. He pushed Lim into the ropes and leapt forward with a flying knee, then lunged into the clinch, where he exploded with a right uppercut elbow to the left side of Lin’s head, sending the Spaniard crumbling to the floor.
Lin said afterwards that he was not hurt badly, and that he could have continued fighting. But undertrained and underpowered, he saw no reason to take further punishment in service of a losing effort.
“I want a rematch,” he said defiantly. “If I am fit, I am 100 percent sure I will win.” If only the Red Shirts would listen.
Chey Kosal finishes it fast again
In the co-feature Saturday, Chey Kosal stopped Spaniard Emilio Raul Salmeron, who did not answer the bell in round two.
“It was two strong knees,” Salmeron said, pointing to the kidneys.
With the pair clinched up in the final seconds of round one, Chey Kosal landed several sharp knees to the body, sending Salmeron into a purely defensive posture in the neutral corner.
When the bell rang, Salmeron’s knees buckled, and he clung to the top rope with one hand and grasped at his left kidney with the other. After a long, uncertain pause, Salmeron inched gingerly back to his corner using the middle ropes as a hand rail.
Seconds later he fell off his stool, and when his corner man asked if he wanted to continue, the Valencia native answered in the negative.
“That’s the second foreigner I knocked out in the first round,” Chey Kosal boasted afterwards.