By James Goyder
Wanheng Meenayothin made the fourth defense of his WBC International Minimumweight title in Thailand this afternoon, outpointing Japanese challenger Yuma Iwahashi after a one sided win which only lacked a finish
In the opening round the unbeaten Thai struggled to close the distance against a rangy challenger who used his footwork to get in and out, throwing quick combinations. The second round was a different story with Wanheng walking Iwahashi down and trapping him against the ropes as a hard right hand to the body seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the Japanese fighter.
After this Iwahashi’s footwork deserted him and having done an excellent job of circling away from Wanheng for the first three minutes of the fight he resorted to frantic backpedaling, frequently finding himself trapped in the corners and on the receiving end of hard hooks to the body and strafing one two combinations.
In round four Wanheng went looking for the finish and seemed to have Iwahashi in trouble when a hard left hook was followed by two crosses but the bell sounded just in time to save the Japanese challenger.
After cruising through the next six minutes Wanheng again tried to get Iwahashi out of there in the seventh but despite landing countless combinations and his opponent seemingly being on wobbly legs couldn’t quite find the finish.
In the ninth Iwahashi was close to being knocked down with a jab which sent him stumbling back but he kept a high guard, continued backing up and was able to hang on long enough to hear the bell at the end of the final round.
It was a disappointing performance from Iwahashi who showed in the first round he has the tools to cause some problems for the unbeaten Thai but simply couldn’t cope with either the constant pressure which Wanheng subjected him to or the power of his punches.
The scorecards read 119-109 and 120-108 x 2 in favour of Wanheng who defends his WBC International Minimumweight title and improves to 30-0 while Iwahashi, who on paper at least looked like he might have been a credible challenger, drops to 10-6-1.