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Wanheng Meenayothin goes for win number 54

Wanheng Meenayothin strawweight
Thailand's Wanheng Meenayothin looks to continue his record-breaking run

ONE of the most remarkable records in boxing looks set to be extended tomorrow (Friday October 25) when Thailand’s Wanheng Meenayothin defends his WBC strawweight title against Simpiwe Konkco in Chonburi.

Meenayothin, who turns 34 two days after the fight, has won all 53 fights (18 inside the distance) in a career that began in 2007. He won the WBC belt from Oswaldo Novoa five years ago and has retained 11 times (twice against Japan’s Tatsuya Fukuhara).

As much as anything, it’s an achievement to still make 105lbs at such an advanced age, never mind to still be winning world title fights. And Meenayothin’s not a devastating puncher either, although he hits hard enough to command respect at world level.

The Thai star should have the power to deal with South Africa’s Konkco, who has suffered three inside the distance setbacks in a 19-5 (7) 1NC career that began in 2007.

The man from Mthatha in Eastern Cape did go the 12-round distance with compatriot Hekkie Budler in a September 2015 bid for the WBA strawweight title – so perhaps his endurance has increased with experience; those three early losses did all come in his first 10 pro fights, after all.

He’s unbeaten in five since Budler, with his last fight (December 2018) ending in a four-round technical draw against Joey Canoy when a headbutt left Konkco too badly cut to continue. All five bouts were for the lightly-regarded IBO belt, which is not at stake tomorrow. Konkco looks a solid enough performer, but it’s going to take something more than that to dethrone Meenayothin. The pick is for the Thai to keep his crown clearly on points.

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