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Thai boxers downed by punches that missed him. True story about 9 wins against 266 losses with 5 draws

8, 06. 2007

   Thai boxers who fought matches in Japan in 2006 left a record of nine wins against 266 defeats with five draws. For 2007, they had so far won 10 matches, lost 105 and drew four as of July 18. As Muay Thai (Thai boxing) is their national sport, they ought to be good at ordinary boxing. But they would easily be KO'd on Japanese rings. In some of the cases, they fall down while punches from their opponents do not even hit them. The Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) announced on July 24, 2007 that they would limit the number of Thai boxers to fight in Japan. There was an alarming story behind this announcement.

The first eight boxers Koki Kameda fought were all Thais

JBC announces limiting of the number of Thai boxers to fight in Japan
JBC announces limiting of the number of Thai boxers to fight in Japan

   The JBC, inquired by J-CAST News, said:

"Critical voices have long been heard that Thai boxers lacked fighting spirit. They would fight only to lose. When a fighting is against a Thai boxer, the result would be known before the fighting is over. There was lately a player who fell down before he was hit by punches. Pro players can't pro unless we have viewers. With the players like that, the fans would be certain to look away."

   In the future, Thai players will have to go through examinations before having matches in Japan. Those who are unfit as boxers will be banned from fighting in this country. The possibility of cancelling the promoter license is also considered as a measure to prevent unfair matches from being conducted. As a matter of fact, the same sort of situation involving Philippine players occurred about 10 years ago. The JBC at that time took the measure of preventing Philippine players from fighting on Japanese rings except for ranking boxers.

   Come to think of it, Koki Kameda fought only against Thais for his first eight matches. The fans thus doubted if Kameda was really strong.

   Thai boxers seem mostly to fight only to lose. Thailand, however, is still a great boxing country, and there are many heroes of the boxing world well known to Japanese fans. They include Khaosai Galaxy, who defended his WBA super flyweight title 19 times, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, who WBC flyweight title 17 times before being defeated recently by Japan's Daisuke Naito, and Veeraphol Nakhomluang Promotion, who is regarded as Japan's "longstanding enemy" as he defeated Joichiro Tatsuyoshi twice and Toshiaki Nishioka four times while he defended his WBC bantamweight title 14 times.

Only opponents Japanese fighters can win are selected to create a star

   Why then Thai players keep loosing matches? Toshihiro Yamaki, head of Yamaki Gym and concurrently of the Japan Women's Boxing Commission (JWBC) told J-CAST News:

"Thai players are rather strong, and it is tantamount to shifting of the responsibility (by the JBC) to limit the number of matches fought by Thai players."

   He said the problem lies on the side of the promoters and match makers, and the measure considered by the JBC would call for misunderstanding.

   What he meant by the problem lying on the side of the promoters was that "only opponents Japanese fighters can win are selected". This is an effort to create a star fighter with an impressive record, such as 10 wins out of 10 matches with five of them by KO. With accumulated wins, a boxer can climb up in the ranking and he may become possible to fight a world match. He said the promoters would become reluctant to invite foreign players at high cost because they would be held responsible if Japanese players lose. Against this background, Thai players would come into the center of consideration. As Thailand is a great boxing country, there are wide ranges of boxers from strong ones to weak ones.

   He further said:

"There are foreign players who are willing to come to Japan to have matches as long as they are paid even if they know they would lose. And there are organizations that make arrangements for such players. Among the players who come to Japan, there are those who have long away from actual fighting and working as shop attendants at a gymnasium or motorbike drivers. Of course they are still considered as boxers as they have once fought boxing matches. As they are no longer practicing, their bellies are often flabby when they come to Japan."

   He added:

"When we are requested to invite players from overseas, we look for ones who are on the same level as the Japanese boxers they would fight. Or those who have a slim chance of losing to Japanese opponents. That's the pride of the professionals. Unless the matches are so close, it's a matter of course that we can not get support from our fans."

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