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Srisaket Sor Runvisai signs with Matchroom Boxing

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By Mike Smith: Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has signed WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41 KOs) to an exclusive contract with his company, and his fights will now be streamed on DAZN in the United States, and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Of all the guys that Hearn has signed to his Matchroom Boxing promotion, Rungvisai is the best in terms of the pure excitement he brings to the table. He’s a lot more exciting to watch than other Hearn promoted Matchroom USA fighters like Daniel Jacobs and Demetrius Andrade. Those guys move a lot and try and box. Rungvisai is a completely different animal with the way that he likes to go after his opponents to take them out. He doesn’t mess around. It’s still going to take a lot of effort from Hearn to make Rungvisai into a star or even an attraction in the United States with the casual boxing fans. The hardcore boxing fans in the States love Rungvisai from watching his fights on HBO, but it’s a much different story to get the casual fans to watch a fighter that small. The casual fans tend to focus more on welterweights and above when following them.

“I am extremely excited for my future fights in the USA with Matchroom Boxing and DAZN_USA. I promise to bring excitement to all my fans as always!” Srisaket Sor Rungsvai said to Matchroom.

The 115 lb weight class is not a popular one for the most part. Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez put together a small fan base in the U.S from having his fights staged on the undercard of former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, but that’s a different story. It’s not going to be as easy for Rungvisai to build up a large fan base as Chocolatito. Hearn can help that process by matching Rungvisai against guys that will likely increase his popularity like Gonzalez and Estrada, but it’s still going to be tough for him to take full advantage of his talent.

The first order of business for Hearn is to negotiate a rematch between Rungvisai and former WBA/WBO flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada (38-3, 26 KOs). The two of them fought each other in an exciting match last year in February, which was won by Rungvisai by a 12 round majority decision. Estrada had Rungvisai hurt in the twelfth round, and on the verge of being knocked out. Other than the 12th, Rungvisai dominated the rest of the fight. Boxing News 24 had Rungvisai winning the first 11 rounds before losing the twelfth. A rematch will likely be the same. Estrada doesn’t have the power or chin to stand in there for 12 round under the fire power of Runtvisai. Estrada will stay on the outside, moving around and trying not to get hit with Rungvisai’s powerful body shots.

Estrada likes to use head movement to avoid getting hit upstairs, but that didn’t help him against Rungvisai, who put all his attention on his midsection in throwing body shots all night long. The body shots looked painful, and they were thrown with major power. Rungvisai landed 10 to 20 VERY hard punches in each round, and it impossible to give Estrada any of the first 11 rounds. Even though Estrada did land some nice shots in rounds 1, 11 and 12, it wasn’t nearly enough for him to get the victory or even a draw. He was outclassed by Rungvisai.

Rungvisai won his World Boxing Council super flyweight title in beating Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez by a 12 round majority decision in March 2017. Rungvisai followed that win with an even more impressive fourth round knockout victory over Gonzalez in their rematch in September 2017. The Thailand fighter Rungvisai knocked Gonzalez down twice in the fourth round before the fight was stopped by referee Thomas Taylor. Since winning the WBC belt, Rungvisai has twice successfully defended it in beating Juan Francisco Estrada and Iran Diaz. In between those two fights, Rungvisai destroyed journeyman Young Gil Bae by a 1st round knockout last July in a non-title defense. It was a stay busy fight for Rungvisai.

For Hearn and Matchroom Boxing to increase the popularity of Rungvisai. For that to happen, he’s going to need to keep him busy putting him in against guys like Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, Kal Yafai, Aston Palicte, Jerwin Acajas, Donnie Nietes, Daigo Higa, and McWilliams Arroyo. Matchroom Boxing, with the help of DAZN, can make mot of those fights if they want to. However. Hearn will likely keep his homegrown champion Kal Yafai in another lane, fighting guys that he stands a better chance of beating. Yafai is from the UK, and Hearn is working on putting a fight together between him and 31-year-old former four division world champion Chocolatito, who is arguably on the downside of his career. Yafai might be able to beat Chocolatito. That’s a 50-50 fight, but Yafai vs. Rungvisai would likely end badly for the British fighter. Rungvisai is too powerful and talented for a guy like Yafai, who looked terrible in his last fight against Israel Gonzalez in beating him by a controversial 12 round decision. Rungvisai is someone that would take the judges out of play, so Yafai likely won’t be put anywhere near him by Hearn. Jerwin Ancajas is signed with Top Rank Boxing, and his fights are televised on ESPN. That pretty means that there won’t be a unification fight between Rungvisai and Ancajas. Top Rank has no reason to want to put Ancajas in with Rungvisai in a fight that would be shown on DAZN. Besides that, it’s a bad match-up for Ancajas. Rungvisai hits very hard, and would likely knockout Ancajas, and hurt his popularity.

Rungvisai hasn’t lost a fight in five years since his 8th round technical decision defeat to Carlos Cuadras in May 2014. That fight was stopped after eight rounds due to Cuadras suffering a cut over his left eye from a clash of heads. The way the fight was playing out, Rungvisai was wearing Cuadras down and heading for a stoppage. If the cut handed opened up, Cuadras would have likely been knocked out. The fight instead went to the scorecards, and Cuadras was given an eight round technical decision. If you ignore that fight and look at true losses, Rungvisai’s real defeat was back in 2010 in losing a 10 round unanimous decision to Kenji Oba. That was before Rungvisai’s skills had developed to where they are now. He lost three out of his last five fights of his career against guys that he would smash if he fought them now. Only one of the fighters that Rungivisai lost to in the first two years of his career is still fighting 10 years later in Akira Yaegashi, and that is nowhere near the same class him.

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