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Kikuchi Brings World Title to Japan
Story and Photos
By Scott Mallon
     
     
     
   
   
   

 

   
   
   
Klong Luang Prison, Pathumthanee, Thailand

Late replacement Nananko Kikuchi (6-1-1) of Japan used an effective body attack to wear down Thailand’s Nongmai Sor Siriporn (0-1) en route to winning the W.B.C. women’s strawweight championship via seventh round TKO.

What some thought of as a joke of a title fight was a surprisingly good scrap with more skill displayed than was expected. Sor Siriporn gave a valiant effort however was repeatedly turned back by the stronger, faster and more skilled Kikuchi.

The Japanese fighter controlled the bout from the outset, punishing the game Thai time and time again with wicked left hooks to the liver and straight right counters to the head. By the end of the third stanza the body shots had taken their toll. Sor Siriporn was gasping for air and ready to collapse when the bell rang to signify the end of round three. The doctor looked glanced into her corner between rounds however determined she was capable of fighting on.

Kikuchi picked up her punch output in round four and only the bell was able to save the withering Sor Siriporn. It became more and more apparent to those in attendance Sor Siriporn was now fighting on heart alone and was totally spent.

The gutsy Thai managed to somehow make it through round five and six, occasionally gathering enough strength to throw a few combinations but doing little damage and only prolonging the inevitable.

Kikuchi bolted out of her corner in round seven, guns blazing, pummeling Sor Siriporn with accurate combinations and non-stop punching. The sheer volume of punches finally overwhelmed the exhausted Thai, who had began to turn her back as referee Bruce McTavish stepped in to stop the beating only :50 into the round.

"Nanako was fast and aggressive and that's why I couldn't do anything at all," Nongmai said dejectedly. “She was better and stronger. Her right was hard and I need more experience to become a better boxer.”

The fight garnered worldwide attention; with foreign media from the U.S., Italy, France, Germany and Japan traveling to the Land of Smiles to witness what Thai promoter Naris Singhawancha billed as the “First Ever World Championship Held in a Prison” and the “Very First Time in a Thai Correctional Facility.”

The event was plagued by problems from its inception and was nearly cancelled when Sor Siriporn’s original opponent, Carina Moreno, withdrew from the main event due to a respiratory ailment. Enter the #11 ranked Kikuchi, aka “The Genius Girl,” who stepped in on only a week’s notice to save the show.

While the fighters did their part in putting on a good show, critics had been less than kind before the bout, some saying it was politically motivated, and others saying it was a complete sham. The always controversial W.B.C. was criticized for sanctioning the bout, as Sor Siriporn had no verifiable professional fights on her ledger. The W.B.C. fired back at the allegations, like always, stating the record keepers were at fault and those searching her records were “wrong.” Her record is 8 wins without a loss” stated one W.B.C. official. Supposedly all of these eight wins came inside of Thailand.

Sor Siriporn set the record straight after the fight though, “I didn’t expect to win the fight but I gave my all and did the best I could. After all, this was only my first professional fight.”

Apparently the W.B.C. form of record keeping may leave something to be desired.

The main criticism launched at the W.B.C was the inexplicable manner in which a fighter with zero fights manages to ascend the W.B.C. rankings, attaining a number three position and then getting a title shot. Perhaps Sor Siriporn was fortunate for throughout the boxing history an untold number of fighters with thirty, forty or even fifty fights never managed to get a title shot. They sweat and bleed and give their all for the chance, only to be denied by politics, money or some other intangible which leaves them grasping for an explanation.

Sor Siraporn is serving a six-year sentence for drug dealing and is due to be released in approximately fourteen months. She plans on continuing her boxing career and hopes to get another shot at the title, possibly in a rematch with Kikuchi.

Nanako Kikuchi goes back to Japan the new strawweight champion of the world. It was only a little over a week ago when she was just another fighter struggling to make a name for herself. Now she’s the “champ.”

Promoted by Naris Boxing Promotions
 
     
     

 

     
     
     
   
         
 
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