Team Sor Rungvisai excited to fight Roman Gonzalez
A rematch between Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez and Carlos Cuadras isn’t happening for the time being. For a pay-per-view undercard slot on the undercard of IBF/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin against Daniel Jacobs, the fight would just cost too much, going by the fighters’ financial demands.
But that doesn’t mean the pound-for-pound stalwart Gonzalez won’t be involved in a good, meaningful fight. Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, whose real name is Wisaksil Wangek, has waited for two-and-a-half years to get another shot at the WBC super flyweight title and he’s finally got another chance.
To non-hardcore fans, Srisaket may not be a known commodity but those who have seen and followed him know he’s a tough challenge for anyone at 115 pounds.
His long wait stems from his technical decision loss to Cuadras in Mexico back in May of 2014. Cuadras was cut from a headbutt, causing the fight to go to the scorecards after eight rounds. The Thai gave him all he could handle and was coming on strong at the time of the stoppage. So the two have a very high level opponent in common.
“Srisaket was able to hurt Cuadras in a way that Gonzalez could not. Srisaket has incredible power and a big knockout record and he is ready to show the world how good he is. It will be the most difficult fight for Gonzalez as well as for Srisaket,” Srisaket’s promoter Thainchai Pisitwuttinan told UCNLive.
For Srisaket and Thainchai at Nakornluang Boxing Promotion, this is the opportunity of a lifetime to be fighting on such a huge fight card at Madison Square Garden in New York City. They’ve been patiently waiting since the loss to Cuadras.
“This is the first time ever for a Thai boxer to fight against the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. It is also the first time ever for a Thai boxer to be in the co-main event of the most prestigious boxing show, like HBO Pay-Per-View, fighting at one of the biggest boxing arenas like Madison Square Garden. It will be a historical moment for the whole country of Thailand,” added the promoter.
Since losing to Cuadras, Srisaket has won 14 straight fights, 13 by way of stoppage. In typical Thailand fashion, many of those wins have just been stay-busy fights over lower-level opponents but he did knock out Jose Salgado in May of 2015 to secure his mandatory position. Even with a lot of wins over lesser opposition, anyone with 38 knockouts in 41 wins can punch.
The Thai puncher originally won the WBC title against the touted Yota Sato in May of 2013. But before that, his boxing career didn’t start off well. His pro debut came against renowned multiple-time world champion Akira Yaegashi, who stopped him in three rounds. With three losses in his first five fights, it looked like Srisaket was going the way of an opponent but a chance encounter at the gym as a sparring partner caused Pisitwuttinan to sign him and build him up to a world title.
“Srisaket came from a very humble background. He was a trash collector in Bangkok and he had to eat trash to survive on difficult days. He tried to turn around his life through boxing but his early boxing career was not good. It was until we found him and we worked together to turn around his career. Since then, he knocked out everybody in his way to win the world title.”
With Gonzalez at the highest weight of his career, getting up there in age for a lighter fighter and coming off a grueling war with Cuadras, the fight on March 18 could be the best opportunity yet for the hungry Thai challenger. Thirty is quite old for a fighter at the lower weights, and quite old for Thai fighters in general, who most of the time have tons of Muay Thai fights under their belt. But Srisaket hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down and is hungrier and more motivated than ever, according to his promoter, who says this is a chance at redemption for the way he lost his title to Cuadras.
“(Srisaket) felt that he got his world title, that he fought so hard for, taken away by an unfortunate accident in the fight against Cuadras and he has been waiting every day for two-and-a-half years to fight for his world title back. He is a highly talented boxer and he is extremely determined and motivated for this fight. The win against Gonzalez will be the biggest moment for his life, as well as for boxing in Thailand.”
Regardless of the result, this fight, on paper, has all the makings of an action-packed contest. The hard-punching Thai will be on the hunt the whole time, heading straight into the fire. Pisitwuttinan expects it to be a war.
“We have to thank the WBC, HBO, K2 Promotions and the champion Roman Gonzalez for this opportunity. It will definitely be a great fight for the fans. It will be a war and it will be worth every cent of the pay-per-view for the fans in America.”
You can follow Rian Scalia on Twitter @rian5ca.