Press ReleasesThailand VS Challenger Super Fight 2010
Elite Boxing produced the latest instalment of its Thailand vs Challenger Series at Rajdamnern Stadium in Bangkok last night when local favourite Samranchai took on Bakhulule from South Africa in a rearranged TVC superfight following the cancellation of a TVC event scheduled to take place in Macau on October 9.
While, for the record, Samranchai beat Bakhulukle in a third round knockout, last night was as much about Elite Boxing overcoming adversity to fulfil its responsibilities as it was about muaythai.
Having originally scheduled the third instalment of its TVC 2010 Series to be a co-promotion with Fury, a promoter from Hong Kong specialising in MMA, Elite Boxing – along with many fighters and fans – was left stranded when the event was cancelled by Fury at the last minute due to internal management problems.
Although Elite Boxing made every effort to salvage the event in Macau, there was ultimately nothing that could be done due to Fury holding the sole contractual authority over the event.
While Fury’s fighters were left stranded in Macau and Hong Kong, Elite Boxing ensured that all its own fighters were taken care of with hotels, food and return flights. To further meet its obligations to both the fighters and its media partners, EB also arranged last night’s replacement event at Rajdamnern with the cooperation of industry stalwart, Songchai Ratanasuban, with whom EB has a longstanding and strong alliance.
The TVC Superfight had originally been due to see Samranchai take on Mostafa Abdollahi of Iran. However, as the Iranian also has a fight scheduled in Australia at the end of this month, Bakhulukle was brought in as his replacement.
Speaking before the event, EB co-founder Toli Makris explained how he had felt disappointed, let down and angry about the handling of the situation in Macau. “We were working for the first time with a new partner who had proven their ability to host big events before,” said Makris, “but they let us, the media partners, the fighters and the fans down in Macau.”
Indeed, last night proved that EB was able to overcome adversity at short notice and use its impressive network of industry partners not only to reschedule their fight at short notice but also to stage it at Rajdamnern Stadium, one of muaythai’s spiritual homes.
The vociferous crowd of 5,000 at Rajdamnern included Songchai, Makris and EB’s US-based co-founder Seth Fishman, who was attending an event at the stadium for the first time.
“It’s an honour to be here,” said Fishman. “Toli has told me a lot about this stadium, but to experience it for myself is very special for me. I’m really looking forward to a great night of muaythai, and I also want to say a big thank you to Songchai for once again supporting us on this.”
It was an evening of great muaythai that climaxed with the TVC Superfight. Right from the first round, Samranchai took the fight to Bakhulule and the South African was knocked down by a powerful elbow that saw him take a count of seven.
Bakhulule showed great spirit and determination to come back from this early blow, and he even managed to cause his more experienced Thai opponent a few problems and turn the tables during a lively second round.
However, Samranchai was to prove too wily for Bakhulule, and the Thai successfully defended the national pride of the home crowd when he knocked Bakhulule out in the third round. It was a fitting end not only to a great evening of muaythai, but also to the latest episode in the Thailand vs Challenger saga.
As Fishman pointed out after the fight, “This year we have had to overcome so much adversity. We have seen political protests in Bangkok force us to reschedule our whole series, the cancellation of the event in Macau that was beyond our control, and the lack of support from Thai sponsors, but through it all, we have proved our strength and we have shown that we are here to stay.”
After last night, few would disagree with Fishmans’ assessment of the situation.