by Joe Koizumi

Feb. 27, 1998
KOH SAMUI, SURAT THANI, THAILAND--Skillful speedster CHATCHAI DUTCHBOYGYM (previously fighting as Chatchai Sasakul and then Chatchai Elite-Gym), 111 1/2, kept his WBC flyweight throne, as he endured a pain of his right hand, fought just with his left hand, but earned a tough but unanimous decision over YONGJIN KIM, an aggressive Korean at 111 1/2, over 12 heats. Scores: Luis Escalona (US) 117-111, Takeaki Kanaya (Japan) and Enrique Lopez Portacarrwero (Nicaragua) both 119-111, all for Chatchai.

For Chatchai, it was not such an easy defense as the lopsided scores indicated. The Thailander was an excellent combination puncher who had dethroned previously unbeaten Yuri Arbachakov by an upset onesided nod in Sapporo, Japan, last Nov. He had suffered a sprained right wrist during his workout, but reportedly tried not to disclose his mishap. Chatchai was obliged to fight almost as a one-handed soldier in later rounds.

The faster champ easily took the leadoff, and dominated the first 5 rounds with his sharp jabs and combinations, plus his good footwork. Probably Chatchai began to feel a pain on his right hand in the 6th, when Kim, an inaccurate but onrushing puncher, caught him with a right uppercut to stop Chatchai's feet temporarily. Since then, it became a tough battle for Chatchai, though he kept piling up points by smaller margins than in earlier rounds. Kim kept aiming at the breadbasket of the champ to stop his footwork. Kim occasionally caught him with persistent body shots and combinations to the face, but Chatchai outmaneuvered and outpunched the less skillful Korean in the 7th. Chatchai had his left optic swollen with some absorption of Kim's busy rallies in the 9th.

Kim showed his best in the 10th, when he landed a solid right to the champ and had him at bay. Aware of being behind on points, Kim did his best efforts to mix it up and turn the tide. But Chatchai cleverly returned to his original hit-and-run strategy to be in command in the last 2 sessions.

Chatchai, 27, boosted his mark to 32-1, 23 KOs, with his sole defeat to Yuri Arbachakov in his first encounter with the Japanese-based Russian in Sept., 1995. He is not a power puncher like ex-champ Yuri or IBF ruler Marc Johnson, but he depends on his excellent hand speed. Kim, also 27, who showed his heart as well as his tremendous stamina, fell to 20-3, 13 KOs.

Former WBA flyweight champ SAEN SOW PLOENCHIT, on his comeback trail, stopped Filipino NICO BARQUE BAS on an 8th round TKO.


ROUND 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
CHATCHAI 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 9 10 10 119
KIM 10 9 9 9 9 9 10 9 9 10 9 9 111

CHATCHAI 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 9 10 10 119
KIM 10 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 9 10 111

CHATCHAI 10 10 10 10 9 10 10 10 10 9 10 9 117
KIM 9 9 9 9 10 9 9 9 9 10 9 10 111


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