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Denkaosan Kaovichit


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A name to break your tongue on, yes, hehe, but quite a fighter, with a great longevity. Kaovichit was one of those rare cases: a guy with only 26 ko's in 63 wins, but who won his first world title by a second-round "clean ko" against a top fighter. He lost his WBA flyweight title under controversial circumstances the first time, fighting away in Japan against then-very popular Daiki Kameda. Although he would win the interim version of the same title later (coincidentally against another top Japanese fighter), he soon lost brutally in a fight for the full version-against another Japanese. Kaovichit fought between 1996 and 2016-20 years, and left behind a record of 63 wins, 7 losses and 1 draw. Let's start.

 

He was born as Sutep Wangmuk in Ko Samui, Thailand, on 23 August 1976. He stands 5'3 or 161 cm and has a reach of 66" or 168 cm. His stance was orthodox. Since all fighters in Thailand (including Muay Thai ones) get fighter names as they start as pros, he was named Denkaosan Kaovichit. As mentioned, he turned pro in 1996, in November. In his very first fight, he won the PABA (Pan Asian Boxing Association) title, by UD12 against the much more experienced Melvin Magramo. That showed he had great potential. He also beat Magramo the same way in his second fight to defend the title for the first time. He went 20-0 and made 18 defenses of that title, before challenging for the WBA title against champion Eric Morel, then 31-0 and considered a p4p top fighter. The fight happened in Anaheim, California, on 12 October 2002. Unfortunately, it proved too soon for the young Thai challenger and he was dominated for most of the 10 rounds before being dropped twice in the 11th and stopped by TKO. He then reclaimed his old PABA title by knocking out Franklin Macaibo in 5, 29 July 2004. After making 14 more defenses, the last one against Richie Mepranum (then 14-0-1) by UD, he faced off against Takefumi Sakata, the defending WBA champion, on 4 November 2007 in Saitama, Japan. He knocked Sakata down in the first round but in the last he got a point deducted with only 30 seconds remaining, for holding-that deduction cost him the victory, because otherwise he would win by split decision. It was a very controversial ending, and a rematch was therefore in order, but Kaovichit had to wait for a year until it finally happened. This time it was in Hiroshima, of all places, on 31 December 2008 and Kaovichit got his revenge when he caught Sakata with a big right hook late in the second round. Sakata tried but was unable to beat the count and so-Denkaosan Kaovichit was finally the world champion, after 12 years as a pro!

 

In his first defense however, he struggled to beat Hiroyuki Kudaka, another Japanese, and had to settle for a split decision victory at home in Sattradit, Thailand. He again had to go to Japan for the second one, which happened 6 October '09 in Osaka. He took on the middle of the Kameda brothers, Daiki, who had a record of 15-1-0. After 12 rounds were completed, Kaovichit retained his title with a majority decision, getting 115-113 from two of the judges. Despite this, he again had to fight Kameda in Japan, this time in Kobe, for his third defense. It was on 7 February '10 that he lost his title after once again being deducted two points and thus losing by UD in what should have been an MD. The journalist and IBHOF member Joe Koizumi (also a former promoter) called it "the lousiest world title bout in history". After winning two more fights for his PABA title, he then faced Luis Concepcion of Panama for the interim WBA title on 2 October same year, at Roberto Duran Arena in Panama City. He experienced his most devastating defeat when he was stopped in one round after being down three times. He then decided to step up to super flyweight and won the PABA title there as well, by easy KO 2 against a lesser fighter. On 3 September '13, he fought Nobuo Nashiro at home in Nakhon Ratchasima, for the interim WBA title, and won by SD. That was his second best victory, as Nashiro had wins over Martin Castillo, Kohei Kono and Konosuke Tomiyama. However, in the fight for the vacant full title, he would once again experience bitter defeat, as he took on the aforementioned Kohei Kono on 26 March '14 in Korakuen Hall and was down in the 4th round before getting knocked out in the 8th. This marked the end of his prime and he would win one more easy fight before losing to Ryo Matsumoto by KO 2, TJ Doheny (for the PABA super bantam title) by TKO 5 and finally, Kazuki Tanaka by KO 2 on 3 April 2016-which was his final bout.

 

Kaovichit or Wangmuk was definitely one of the best Thai boxers of the first decade of this century. He had to wait quite long for a second world title shot, which is a pity. And yes, he was not treated right in a couple of those fights by Japanese referees. But still, his achievements speak for themselves. He was also named The Ring's fighter of the month for April 2009. He experienced an early career setback by losing to Morel and by stoppage too, but he still was able to achieve world title glory eventually. That says something about his endurance and determination. I hope you enjoyed this presentation.

 

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