Srisaket Sor Rungvisia (23-3-1, 21), who made such a statement earlier this year when he destroyed Yota Sato, successfully made the first defense of his WBC Super Flyweight title as he defeated another Japanese fighter, this time Hirofumi Mukai (9-3-1, 1).
Unfortunately for Mukai he proved, like many Japanese fighters, that he was simply too tough for his own good.
The first round saw Mukai starting well for the first 20 seconds or so before Srisaket imposed himself on the fight and forced the Japanese fighter to think twice about opening up. For Mukai it was unfortunate that he wasn't just up against one of the most fierce fighters in the sport but also the crowd who cheered every punch Srisaket landed.
If the first round was bad for Mukai the second was worse with the Japanese fighter being dropped in the opening seconds. Although he got up and continued it wasn't a round he managed to even get a foot hold in as Srisaket pounded him with both hands. The end looked imminent as Srisaket entered "beat mode" and went on the war path.
Surprisingly Mukai managed to navigate his way through rounds 3 and 4 with out too much trouble. It wasn't that he was about to win the rounds or even make them competitive but he wasn't being savaged like one would have expected following the way Srisaket had ended round 2. In fact if anything it seemed like Mukai was managing to slowly build his confidence with some lovely work, though wasn't doing nearly enough to take the round and was being backed up too easily.
After 4 rounds the judges all agreed with the only possible score one could have had the bout, 40-35 in favour of Srisaket.
Having survived rounds 3 and 4 Mukai managed to get everything going in round 5, a round that fought almost entirely in the pocket with both men having success. It was by far the best round for Mukai and one that you wouldn't begrudge giving him, although it did at times appear that Srisaket was tiring somewhat. The success for Mukai in the fifth continued in to the sixth as Mukai began to have the last word in the exchanges, albeit lesser words than those of Srisaket.
Unfortunately for Mukai 2 minutes of good work in round 6 was undone by a huge assault in the final minute by Srisaket who just stole the round on my card as he attempted to put an end to the proceedings. Mukai, who was genuinely hammered late in the round, refused to go down a second time.
If round 6 had ended badly for Mukai then round 7 was nothing more than a continuation of that. Srisaket set off to break Mukai using hard body shots and by the end of the round it appeared the were having a serious effect on the challenger. Mukai had managed to see out the round, but there was little left in the tank.
In the eighth round Mukai must have wished he was in the UK as he was given a genuine beating. His boxing was falling apart, Srisaket was starting to abuse him and I was wondering how he was managing to stay on his feet. By now it was clear Mukai needed a miracle and in boxing they don't tend to happen.
Down by scores of 80-71, 79-72, twice, on the scorecards it really should have been time for Mukai's corner to have saved their brave charge. Instead they sent him out for round 9. It was unnecessary. Within seconds of the round starting Mukai was hurt and Srisaket let loose as he tried to force the referees hand. Unfortunately for Mukai all the referee did was warn Srisaket for hitting and holding. Whilst that bought him some respite in theory it really just prolonged the beating another 30 seconds before Mukai's corner finally threw in the towel.
Oddly this was a bout where both men genuinely impressed me. Mukai could fair very well if he was put in with a lighter puncher, that is if there much of Mukai left mentally after this contest. Srisaket seems to always impress and I've no doubt that he could beat any fighter currently active at 115lbs. He's a genuine monster.