Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Unheralded Thai boxer primed for Mayweather record fight



Unheralded Thai boxer primed for Mayweather record fight

Current WBC minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin has his gloves adjusted during a training session in Bangkok on on January 31. AFP
Current WBC minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin has his gloves adjusted during a training session in Bangkok on on January 31. AFP

Unheralded Thai boxer primed for Mayweather record fight

An unsung Thai boxer one win from equalling Floyd Mayweather Jr’s flawless 50-0 record said on Friday that he hopes to make history by defeating Panamanian Leroy Estrada this week.

Wanheng Menayothin, a WBC minimumweight champion who is unknown outside boxing circles despite his 49 wins, faces the challenger in northeastern Thailand on Wednesday.

Excitement has slowly been building in Thailand for weeks as Wanheng – dubbed “dwarf-giant” among a list of curious monikers – nears his 50th fight.

His record has drawn him into an unlikely comparison with Floyd “Money” Mayweather, the flash, bankable boxing great who retired last year as one of the world’s richest sports stars with his unbeaten 50-0 record intact.

“I want to win, because it’s an important fight, to equal Floyd,” the seasoned 32-year-old said at his Bangkok gym on Friday.

“Estrada wants to take my belt. I want to tell him that it will be a bit difficult,”Wanheng added with a wry smile.

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.

Wanheng has fought mostly against similarly low-key regional fighters and has 17 knockouts.

But Estrada vowed to cut the run short at a promotional event to plug next week’s fight at a Bangkok boxing gym.

“Menayothin is a good fighter, but I will stop him on May 2,” he said.

The showdown is in front of the City Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima, a sleepy city a few hours drive from Bangkok.

Piyarat Vachirarattanawong, part of the promotion team, said that while Western boxing is not as popular as Thailand’s kickboxing martial art Muay Thai, the fight has generated more than the usual interest.

“The attention is better than other fights in Thailand because of the [Mayweather] record,” he said.

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