By Anson Wainwright
The flyweight division is one of the hottest division’s in boxing currently with a plethora of top drawer fighters. Thailand’s Nawaphon Por Chokchai is looking to add his name to the already talent laden weight class.
“Flyweight is a very competitive division,” Nawaphon told BoxingScene.com through his promoter Thainchai Pisitwuttinan from his training base in Thailand “and I am very happy to be part of it because I always want to fight with the best to prove myself. There are many great fighters in the flyweight division.”
On Friday, Nawaphon (21-0, 15 KO’s) will look to advance those claims when he faces Jay-ar Estremos. Though the Filipino challenger’s record (10-7, 4 knockouts) doesn’t suggest much of a threat, he has only been stopped once and always gives a good effort.
Over the years Thailand has had a rich heritage at 108-pounds, with the likes of Pone Kingpetch, Chartchai Chionoi, Sot Chitalada and most recently Pongsaklek Wongjongkam holding world titles. Nawaphon hopes to add his name to his countries folklore at 112.
Back in May Nawaphon left Thailand for the first time, headed to Mexico where he gained invaluable experience as his friend Srisaket Sor Rungvisai prepared to defend his WBC junior bantamweight crown against Carlos Cuadras. Ultimately Srisaket lost his belt on a technical decision.
“I have learned a lot from the experience, and it will benefit me a lot in the future when I fight outside Thailand.” said Nawaphon.
Here’s what Nawaphon had to say on his life, rigorous training regime and his future.
Anson Wainwright - You return to action on July 18, when you face Jay-ar Estremos what are your thoughts on that fight?
Nawaphon Por Chokchai - I think it will be a very good fight. Fighting against fighters from Philippines can always be exciting because they are motivated and have good boxing skills. Jay-ar Estremos is also a current WBC Asia Continental champion in the lower weight class, so it will be a fight between champions.
This fight is very important for me because I am hoping to gain rank #1 in WBC flyweight rating after Roman Gonzales challenge Akira Yaegashi for WBC World title, so I need to show that I deserve to be ranked #1 with impressive performance.
BoxingScene.com - In early April you stopped one-time contender Michael Landero in three rounds, tell us about that fight?
NPC - I think it was a good fight. Landero is an experienced boxer, he was a former OPBF champion who has been winning fights in Japan by knockout. And he did brought his experience and aggressiveness into the ring on that day. We had several tough exchanges in early rounds. I am very glad I came out as a winner by knock out in round 3.
BoxingScene.com - Tell us about your boxing career to date? What are your strengths and what areas are you working on getting better in?
NPC - I have been with Nakornloung Boxing Promotion since the beginning of my career under the promoter Thainchai Pisitwuttinan and head coach Chokchai Pisitwuttinan. I have to thank them for giving me an opportunity to be where I am today. I have developed a lot since the beginning of my career, and I think that I am now ready for world title fight level. I think my strength is my aggressiveness, I always want to bring good action to the fans. I would love to gain experience at world title level, which will help me develop further as a professional boxer.
BoxingScene.com - You travelled with Srisaket Sor Rungvisai back in May as his chief sparring partner for his unsuccessful title defense of the WBC junior bantamweight title against Carlos Cuadras. What would you tell us about that trip and experience?
NPC - Yes, I was the chief sparring partner for Srisaket for his recent world title defense against Carlos Cuadras. The trip was extremely interesting for me because it was actually the first time for me to travel outside Thailand. The fight between Srisaket and Cuadras was also an extremely important fight in Thailand as we were expecting Srisaket to be the first Thai world champion in 50-years to win in a world title fight in Mexico.
Srisaket went there very well-prepared, especially that our team prepared him with special altitude training machine, which is very rarely used in Thailand. I spent the majority of my time with the team in Mexico to prepare Srisaket for the fight. I have learned a lot from the experience, and it will benefit me a lot in the future when I fight outside Thailand.
BoxingScene.com - The training in Thailand is supposed to be very tough. Can you tell us about your training?
NPC - Yes the training here is very tough indeed, but I also enjoy it a lot. At Nakornloung Promotion, we train around 3 hours in the morning and another 4 hours in the afternoon. In the morning, we run around 15-20 kilometers and we work on pads and review our skills. In the afternoon, we do sparring, pad working, weight training, and skill reviewing.
BoxingScene.com - You were born in Bangkok, can you tell us about your early years growing up and how tough things were for you?
NPC - I was actually born in Nakornratchasrima province in the Northeastern area of Thailand. I only came into Bangkok when I started my professional boxing career. It was very tough when I was young. We have a big family, but we were living day by day in poverty. All of the boys in our family fought as Muay Thai fighters to earn money to feed the family, but we did not earn much.
The opportunity to fight as a professional boxer was a life changing opportunity. Even though I am not a world champion yet, but my standard of living already improved significantly after Promoter Thainchai Pisitwuttinan accepted me to join Nakornloung Promotion as a professional boxer.
BoxingScene.com - How did you become interested and take up boxing?
NPC - I have always been interested in boxing. As a kid, I was inspired by our great boxing champions, but I started as a Muay Thai fighter because there was not much boxing activities going on in my area in Nakorn Ratchasrima province. My brother, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai, joined the Nakornloung Boxing Promotion camp as a professional boxer a few years before me. He was then became very successful, first as a WBC Asia champion and then as a WBC world champion.
Inspired by my brother and with my great interest in boxing, I asked my brother to introduce me to Nakornloung Boxing Promotion. I was very lucky that they accepted me to train at the gym and also signed me as a professional boxer.
BoxingScene.com - Before you were a boxer you said you were a Muay Thai fighter?
NPC -Yes I was a Muay Thai fighter fighting mostly in the Northeastern area of Thailand. I did pretty well with my Muay Thai career, but never got an opportunity to fight in the main stadiums in Bangkok. I am now very happy with my boxing career, and I am very hungry for further success.
BoxingScene.com - Currently you are ranked WBC #2, what are your thoughts on the flyweight division and the current champions?
NPC - Flyweight is a very competitive division, and I am very happy to be part of it because I always want to fight with the best to prove myself. There are many great fighters in the flyweight division like Akira Yaegashi, Roman Gonzalez, Juan Estrada, and many more.
My aim is at the WBC champion, Akira Yaegashi. I think he is a great champion, and definitely one of the best in the division. I think his fight with Roman Gonzalez will be an extremely entertaining fight. As I am now WBC #2, I am very close to getting to fight them. I am ready and very excited to fight with the winner.
BoxingScene.com - Thailand has a rich history of world champions at flyweight, Pone Kingpetch, Chartchai Chionoi, Sot Chitalada, Pongsaklek Wongjongkam to name a few what would it mean to you to add your name to such illustrious fighters?
NPC - It will mean everything to me to add my name to this list of legendary fighters. I am training hard every day to be the best I can be and to be a world champion. It is my life goal to be a world champion, and I will do everything to achieve it.
BoxingScene.com - Tell us about your life away from boxing?
NPC - At Nakornloung Promotion camp, we are very close to each other. I am very good friends with my peer boxers, and we spend quality time even outside training. This includes taking care of the younger generation at the gym. We have adopted a few kids at our gym. We take care of them, take them to school, and train them boxing. We hope they can grow up to be good boxers as well.
BoxingScene.com - Who is your boxing hero and why?
NPC - My current boxing hero is Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, who is my gym-mate and also my very good friend. It is great to see him to be successful as a WBC super flyweight world champion with such an exciting boxing style. It also motivates me a lot that my friend is so successful and being a hero for thousands or maybe millions of people and especially children out there. I am inspired to be successful like him.
BoxingScene.com - In closing do you have a message for the flyweight division?
NPC - First of all, I would like to thank you very much again for this opportunity for the interview. I am now WBC #2 in the flyweight division, and I am on my way up to challenge for a world title.
As I mentioned, there are many great fighters in this division at the moment, and I am very excited to be one among them because there will be so many opportunities for great fights. I am very much looking forward to fight with the great champions and bring great fights to the fans.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright