By James Goyder
Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep retained his WBA interim 112 lb. title with a second successive win over Japanese opposition. He can consider himself extremely fortunate to have prevailed this time, scoring a majority decision after having been second best for much of the fight with Japan's Takuya Kogawa.
The bout took place on Tuesday afternoon in Korat and Kogawa immediately set his stall out to attack, hanging his hands low and putting together non stop combinations as Yodmongkol was content to keep a high guard and soak up the punches.
The Thai fighter kept pressing forwards but Kogawa was able to circle away and continuously pepper him with punches which were mainly blocked but prevented Yodmongkol from finding any sort of a rhythm.
In the final seconds of the third Kogawa celebrated what he thought was a knockdown but Yodmongkol bounced back up instantly and the referee ruled it a slip. The Japanese fighter continued to use fast footwork and head movement to bamboozle his opponent in the fourth as well as connecting with countless arm punches which lacked any real power.
The frantic work rate had to take its toll on Kagawa and in round five the first signs that he might be slowing down arrived but, even when Yodmongkol succeeded in instigating sustained toe to toe exchanges, he still struggled to match his opponent’s frantic output.
Kagawa showcased his superior speed and accuracy again in the sixth and appeared to hurt the Thai fighter for the first time in the fight with a hard right hand but Yodmongkol kept his composure and was able to hide behind his high guard and absorb any further punches.
Rounds seven and eight were much closer as Yodmongkol continued to press forwards but struggled to connect with any clean shots other than a crisp right uppercut. In the closing stages of the ninth Kagawa again landed a hard right hand after frustrating him with some fast head movement.
Action intensified in the tenth as, without the lateral movement which he had used to evade Yodmongkol so effectively in the early rounds, Kagawa started to look increasingly ragged. The interim champion landed two hard right crosses to the body but the Japanese challenger responded with more relentless combinations of his own.
Momentum was all with Yodmongkol by this stage and he landed a hard right cross at the end of the 11th. Both boxers saved their best for last as they went for broke in the final round, throwing caution to the wind and exchanging wild combinations in the centre of the ring.
Kogawa had controlled the majority of the fight and showcased some superhuman stamina. The judges were not sufficiently impressed to award him a win with scorecards, though, reading 114-114 even, and 115-114 and 116-113 in favour of Yodmongol who improves to 34-0, while Kogawa drops to 22-4.