The sport’s longest reigning active titlist returns to defend his throne.
Unbeaten strawweight champ Wanheng Menayothin will attempt the 13th defense of his title as he faces countryman Petchmanee CP Freshmart (birthname Panya Pradabsri). The bout will take place November 27 at a location be determined in Thailand, Menayothin’s team announced on Monday.
The bout will come three weeks after Menayothin (54-0, 18KOs)—who turns 35 in late October—reaches his six-year anniversary as WBC strawweight champ, outlasting any other current title reign. The diminutive boxing cult favorite opened 2020 with designs of making his long-awaited United States debut, with the entirety of his 13-plus year career having been spent in his home country. Original plans called for an April 25 title defense versus Marco John Rementizo, which was to have served as part of a loaded DAZN-USA show from Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
Like most other events scheduled for that time, the show was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With it also went any hopes for Menayothin to take his act stateside, given global travel restrictions.
Instead, he will enjoy a local voluntary title defense in making the best of the current health crisis.
CP Freshmart (34-1, 22KOs) receives his first career title fight, coming immediately off of his most recent ring appearance. The 29-year old Bangkok native scored a 4th round knockout of Wichet Sengprakhon this past Friday in Rangsit, Thailand, with the win marking his return to the strawweight division after having campaigned at junior flyweight for the past two years.
Even in the midst of a pandemic, the upcoming title challenge will mark the fourth fight this year for CP Freshmart, who has won 16 straight since a heartbreaking 12-round majority decision defeat to Chaozhong Xiong in October 2017.
According to our friends at AsianBoxing.info, a request has been made by event handlers for the WBC to use all regionally based officials for the event. Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen; longtime and recently re-elected WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman announced during the sanctioning body’s annual convention of the intention to utilize remote judging for the event—originally targeted for September—in efforts to help reduce costs and allow such shows to move forward.
Menayothin last fought in October 2019, scoring a 12-round unanimous decision over South Africa’s Simpiwe Konkco in Chonburi, Thailand.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox