by James Goyder
Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym retained his WBO Oriental flyweight title in the most fortuitous of circumstances when Ben Mananquil's absolute demolition of the Thai champion was halted in the second round due to an unfortunate clash of heads.
The first three minutes of the fight had been disastrous for the previously undefeated Kwanpichit who got stuck on the ropes and took punch after punch before finally going down for the count, which saved the referee from having to step in and call off the fight altogether.
He was able to continue but never recovered and was on wobbly legs from that point onwards as Mananquil, who trains at the Manny Pacquiao Gym, went to work in search of a first round stoppage which would have been by far the most impressive performance of his career to date.
Kwanpichit was desperately trying to hug and hold and try and buy some time and received another slice of luck when he slipped late in the round which took up the final few seconds and saw him survive to hear the bell.
A minute clearly wasn't enough recovery time for the dazed Thai whose footwork had deserted him and could only stand and swing and hope to match the undefeated Filipino punch for punch. Kwanpichit did enjoy some success with this strategy but was taking far too many clean punches to the head and looked unlikely to last the round.
Under the circumstances Mananquil was extremely unfortunate to open up a serious cut above Kwanpichit's eye when he lunged forward looking to land a left hook from the southpaw stance and their heads collided. Blood immediately started pouring from the wound and the doctor decided to call off the fight.
It was too soon to go to the scorecards so a draw was announced which means that the the WBO Oriental flyweight champion retains his belt and remains unbeaten but has lost a lot of his allure as a potential future world title challenger. Mananquil's record now stands at 9-0-1 while Kwanpichit moves to 22-0-2.
Earlier in the afternoon reigning WBC Asian Boxing Council featherweight champion Bualuang OnesongchaiGym improved to 12-0 after beating the unheralded Palangchai Lookmuanpet in a six round non title fight. Bualang scored a third round knockdown with a right hook to the body but Palangchai caused him problems throughout with his range and reach and definitely didn't fight like a novice.