Measured Against All Time: Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
Cliff Rold

More name and reputation than reality for many of the fight fans taking their boxing news in English, it was still jarring to read the result. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam had been the most consistent force in the Flyweight division for more than a decade. He wasn’t supposed to lose to journeyman Sonny Boy Jaro.

But he did. Badly.

Eventually, they all lose badly to someone if they stick around long enough. The most accomplished Thai battler of his generation, Wonjongkam was pushed into the dark part of his career twilight. The shadow of defeat looms large and debate begins about how to regard the overall picture of his ring tenure even with the, probably slim, possibility that there may yet be more chapters written.

In the wake of the brutal end of his second reign, the question is posed:

How good is Wonjongkam, measured against all-time?

In answering the question, five categories will be examined:
1) Accomplishments
2) Competition Faced
3) Competition Not Faced
4) Reaction to Adversity
5) What’s Left to Prove

It begins with…

The Tale of the Tape
Born: August 11, 1977
Height: 5’4
Hailed From: Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand
Stance: Southpaw
Turned Professional: December 21, 1994 (KO3 Bernardo Jun Davalos)
Record: 83-4-2, 45 KO, 2 KOBY (to date)
Record in Major Title Fights (Including Lineal Title Fights): 23-2-1, 7 KO, 1 KOBY; 25-2-1, 8 KO, 1 KOBY including interim title fights
Titles: Lineal World/WBC Flyweight (2001-07, 17 Defenses; 2010-12, 4 Defenses)
Current/Former Lineal World Champions Defeated: 3 (Malcolm Tunacao TKO1, Daisuke Naito KO1/Tech. Dec. 7, Koki Kameda MD12)
Current/Former Lineal World Champions Faced in Defeat: 2
(Daisuke Naitio UD12/D12, Sonny Boy Jaro TKO6)
Current/Former Alphabet Titlists Defeated: 6 (Luis Lazarte TKO2, Gilberto Keb Baas UD12, Tomonobu Shimizu RTD7, Julio Cesar Miranda UD12, Suriyan Sur Rungvisai UD12, Edgar Sosa UD12)


After losing two of his first eleven contests, the second by knockout in 1996, Wonjongkam began a streak of 29 straight victories to earn his first major title shot. With three blazing knockdowns, Wonjongkam captured the WBC belt and lineal World Flyweight Championship honors against Malcolm Tunacao on March 2, 2001.

In his fourth title defense, he scored the fastest knockout ever in a Flyweight title fight. A single left hand against challenger Daisuke Naito ended the night just 34 seconds into the fight.

By 2006, he was hot on the heels of Hall of Famer and former lineal king Miguel Canto. During a WBC title reign that stretched from 1975-79, Canto made a record 14 consecutive defenses of the crown. Wonjongkam tied the mark on May 1, 2006, with unanimous decision over Daigo Nakahiro. He surpassed it on June 30 of the same year with a fourth round stoppage of Everado Morales.

Ultimately, Wonjongkam would set the record at seventeen defenses.

A then-shocking upset loss to Naito on July 18, 2007, ended the record run. A fourth battle between the two on March 8, 2008, ended in a draw. When no fifth fight came to fruition, it appeared Wonjongkam’s time as a champion was closed.

He stayed active and racked up seven wins to get another crack at the crown. Naito lost the crown to Koki Kameda. On March 27, 2010, Wonjongkam regained the crown from Kameda via majority decision.

Wonjongkam made four defenses in his second reign before falling to Jaro on March 2, 2012, eleven years to the day after his first title win.

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