The history books prior to today had shown that no Japanese fighter had ever successfully defended a world title in Thailand. It was expected that Yota Sato (26-3-1, 12) had a good chance of changing that as he faced the hard hitting but untested Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (19-3-1, 18) in a defense of the WBC Super Flyweight belt, Srisaket however refused to let Sato have his place in history.
The bout opened fairly evenly with a close opening round, though for Sato the opening round was pretty much the only one he managed to hold his head up high at the end of as Srisaket managed to grow in to the bout very quickly.
In round 2 it appeared that the challenger put his foot on the gas and really upped the tempo of the bout as he tried to turn it in to a war landing flurries to both the head and body. The success in the second round only grew more success for the challenger who gave Sato a real shellacking in round 3 and really established himself in the bout as the boss. The offensive barrage of the challenger continued further through round 4 as he started to really force the champion under a lot of continued pressure and made Sato very uncomfortable.
With the WBC's open scoring in effect it was made public that Srisaket was clearly in the lead with scores of 39-37 (twice) and 40-35 (scoring a 10-8 round at some point, likely round 3). Although Srisaket's dominance was unexpected it was pretty well assumed that the challenger would set a fantastic pace early on trying to blast out Sato early. It was thought however that if Sato could last out the opening storm he could turn the bout around the bout against a tiring Srisaket.
Sato seemed to have ridden out the storm with Srisaket slowing down in rounds 5 and 6. Although the challenger was slowing he was still doing enough to claim both rounds against a champion who was struggling to get any real success against a very determined opponent.
Having slowed the pace for 2 rounds Srisaket turned up the heat again in round 7 and forced Sato to take a genuinely sustained beating in the corner with pretty much nothing coming back at him. There would have no complaints from anyone had the referee stepped in and waved off the bout as Sato was forced to eat shot after shot, but the referee decided to give the champion a chance.
Although Sato was given a "chance" to start the 8th round it didn't take long for Srisaket to back him in to a corner an wail away with another continued assault that forced the referee to wave the bout off and Save Sato who had become drowned in the sea of punches coming at him.
This was not only the first stoppage loss of Sato's career but it was also the first time that Srisaket had won a bout that went beyond the start of round 6. The victory, a hard one for Sato to take, has genuinely announced Srisaket on the world stage and helped make him a number of new fans including myself.
A bout between Sato and any of the top guys at 115 or even 118 would be great to watch and this hard hitting, energetic and teak tough champion could well become one of the must watch fighters over the next few years.