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Saman Sorjaturong


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Mostly known for his huge upset knockout against Humberto "Chiquita" Gonzalez, Saman Sorjaturong seemingly came out of nowhere to become a great champion in the light flyweight division, 1995 to 1999. After lifting the IBF belt from the hall of famer Gonzalez, Sorjaturong made 10 defenses of it. He was a hard hitter and a never say die fighter who also had rather good boxing skills. Standing 5'3, he was a standard-sized light flyweight and later became a super flyweight, at the end of his career.


Born as Saman Sriprated, 2 August 1969 in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand, he changed his last name to Sorjaturong after becoming a pro. His first fight there was in December 1989 and he won by a knockout in 4. He won his first 14 fights, 12 by ko, before drawing against Roberto Padilla in July 1992 and then losing his first fight to Aswin Sithlakmuang by UD6 on 25 August that year. In the rematch 17 January next year, Saman avenged the loss by TKO 8, after knocking his opponent down three times in the last round. He was a minimumweight back then and received a shot against the greatest fighter at this weight ever, Ricardo "Finito" Lopez of Mexico, who held the WBC title. The fight was in Mexico on 3 July '93 and Lopez easily handled the inexperienced Thai by stopping him by TKO 2 after scoring three knockdowns. Lopez would retire undefeated at 51-0. Sorjaturong then reeled off 11 wins before receiving another shot, this time at light flyweight, at the same WBC title. His opponent was one of the greatest light flyweights in history, a puncher and a brawler called Humberto "Chiquita" Gonzalez. Though shorter by 2 inches, Gonzalez was famed for his ferocity and power. The fight was in Inglewood, California, 15 July '95. The Thai underdog surprised everyone by sending the champion down in round 2 but was then down himself in rounds 5 and 6 as Gonzalez rallied back. Going into round 7, Saman was significantly behind on all scorecards and knew he had to do something drastical to win. As the two traded furiously, Saman suddenly nailed Gonzalez with a tremendous right hand which sent him crashing down to the canvas. Gonzalez was badly cut over the left eye and after taking some more punishment, the referee stepped in and waved it off. The fight was named the fight of the year by The Ring. It was Gonzalez's last fight.


It couldn't have been a more spectacular way of starting a championship reign and Sorjaturong also made an impressive first defense against Yuichi Hosono of Japan, stopping Hosono by TKO 4. He also won the same way against his second challenger, experienced Antonio Perez and then in his third defense beat the future minimunweight world champion, Joma Gamboa of the Phillippines, by TKO 7. He made 10 defenses in all, most of them by knockout. Only Manuel Jesus Herrera and Ladislao Vazquez lasted the distance. His 4-year reign came to an end the same way as that of many before him-losing to a South Korean fighter in South Korea. It was Yo Sam Choi who defeated him, fairly or not, by a clear UD on 17 October 1999 in Seoul. They had a rematch 30 January 2001, again in Seoul, but this time Choi won beyond all doubt by knocking Sorjaturong out in 7. It was effectively the end of his career and he moved up to super flyweight after that but was unsuccessful here and only won one fight. After losing 3 times, he was stopped in 1 round by Koki Kameda on 20 June 2005 and decided to hang em up. His record is 46 wins, 34 by ko, 8 losses and 1 draw.


Saman Sorjaturong was a very capable fighter and one of the best Thai fighters of the 90's. Losing to Choi was no shame either, as Choi went on to become a rather big name and lost the title he won from SS to the great Jorge Arce. Although the light flyweight division wasn't exactly stacked at the time, beating Humberto Gonzalez the way he did was impressive to say the least. He fought all the best fighters in the division at the time and never ducked anyone.

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