MOVE over Mayweather and Marciano. Today belongs to Thailand’s Chayaphon Moonsri, also known as Wanheng Menayothin or Kaiyanghada, who beat Leroy Estrada inside five rounds to successfully retain his WBC minimumweight title and, in doing so, take his professional record to 50-0 (18).
That means, statistically at least, he is now better than Rocky Marciano (49-0) and the equal of Floyd Mayweather (50-0). It could be argued, in fact, he has surpassed Mayweather on account of Leroy Estrada, unlike Conor McGregor (Mayweather’s number 50), actually being a trained professional boxer.
Menayothin, 32, won his WBC minimumweight title back in 2014, when stopping Oswaldo Novoa in nine rounds, and completed nine successful defences with his win over Estrada. He is, however, rated second to his countryman and WBA champion Thammanoon Niyomtrong, also known as Knockout CP Freshmart, in the pecking order at 105 pounds.
Not only that, Menayothin is second to another man, the great Ricardo Lopez, in the pantheon of undefeated minimumweight champions. The Mexican retired in 2001 with a record of 51-0-1 (the only minor blemish a technical draw with the quality Rosendo Alvarez), having won world titles at minimumweight and light-flyweight, and should be remembered as one of the finest small guys in the history of the sport.
Menayothin, by the way, has never boxed outside Thailand. Which is to say, if he continues this trend, stays busy (he boxed five times in 2017), and avoids the risk of possible defeat against Knockout CP Freshmart, he could conceivably get to 60-0 by the time the curtain falls.
The most civilised call-out in boxing history has led to one of the more interesting fights of 2018, as Luke Watkins defends his Commonwealth cruiserweight title against Lawrence Okolie on June 6 at York Hall, Bethnal Green.
It started with a request, one posed by Watkins and received by Okolie, and now, weeks later, we have a fight. Just like that.
There has been no fabricated hate and no childish insults. Instead, the two have simply realised their worth as domestic cruiserweights and capitalised on an opportunity. How refreshing. How unusual.
— Lawrence Okolie (@Lawrence_tko) May 1, 2018
“We’re all in this boxing business for a couple of reasons,” Watkins told Boxing News. “One, it’s a business and you want to make money. Two, you want to claim your spot and make your mark in the sport.
“Lawrence is a high-profile fighter. His profile is much bigger than mine right now. I feel that me fighting him will elevate my profile once I beat him. People will then say, ‘Okay, now we can recognise Luke Watkins as well.’
“I can fight, I can box, I can punch and I’ve got speed. When you bring that into a fight, you have a chance.
“Lawrence has a lot of hype and a lot of backing when it comes to management and promotion. He has a fan base that he has built. But when I bring what I can bring, and when he brings what he brings, it’s exciting.
“I feel like we’ll both go to war. I’m happy to sit there and trade with any man. We’ll see what he’s got. We’ll see what he’s made of. He hasn’t necessarily been in a position to show that yet. I’ve done it. I’ve done it in fights and regularly in sparring. We haven’t seen that with Lawrence yet and I will be his biggest test.”
More good news: it seems Daniyar Yeleussinov, the 2016 Olympic gold medallist now 1-0 as a professional, will make his UK debut on this show at York Hall. Even better news: June 6 is a Wednesday, and all boxing fans know Wednesdays are the best days for boxing.
And finally… if you know what’s good for you, your Saturday night will be spent in Napoleons Casino & Restaurant in Sheffield. Here you can not only watch Tony Bellew and David Haye (who look strangely like Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker) settle their differences – in a rematch fit for a casino – but also see what happens when a bloke called ‘Saul Alvewez’ fights some bloke called ‘Lennady Golovkin’.
Warning: If you do actually find yourself in Napoleons at five o’clock on Sunday morning and complain when realising Canelo and Golovkin are nowhere to be seen, much less in a boxing ring together, don’t even bother. Napoleons never promised you Gennady or Alvarez. Read the large print next time.