Simpiwe Konkco failed to grab hold of the WBC minimumweight belt when he lost to Thailand’s Wanheng Menayothin on a unanimous 12-round points decision.
The fight took place at the City Hall Ground in Chonburi during a sweltering day but Konkco acquitted himself well against the undefeated Thai legend.
Both men weighed in at precisely the division limit ahead of the bout. There was nothing to physically separate the two men who both stand at 1.58 metres tall and have identical reach.
The scores were 118-109, 117-109 and 116-110 in favour of the unbeaten Menayothin.
Piyarat Vachirarattanawong was the promoter for the bout which was the only fight on the card.
The 34-year-old Thai 54-0; 18 retained the WBC belt for the 12th time and is currently the longest-reigning boxing World Champion.
The fight got off to a cagey start with very little to choose from between the two fighters in the first two rounds.
But as the fight wore on Menayothin took control. He found his range and established a lead of 40-37 and 39-37 twice, when the scorecards were announced after four rounds, in accordance with WBC rules.
Through rounds five to eight the slick-moving Menayothin was in control with Konkco, 33, unable to score with any effective punches. Konkco survived a seventh round knockdown by virtue of hitting the canvas shortly after the ball to end the round.
The judge’s scores announced after eight rounds were 79-71, 79-72 and 78-72 in favour of the champion who then looked to be crusing to yet another victory.
Even though he was behind on points Konkco failed to raise his game and put together any effective combinations as the champion ran out a clear winner against the mandatory challenger.
The fight in Thailand was Konkco’s first outside of South Africa abd although he held the International Boxing Organization World Minimum Title until recently many questioned Chain Reaction’s worthiness for a shot at the prestigious WBC belt. The defeat was Konkco’s sixth in 25 fights.
The defeat means that Konkco drops to fourth on the Pro Boxing Rankings for the minimumweight divsion with World Boxing Organisation World Minimum Title holder Wilfredo Mendez moving above him into third. The Puerto Rican Southpaw, Mendez, will defend his title against Mexico’s Axel Aragon Vega in Trujillo Alto on Saturday night.
The IBO stripped Konkco of his belt in September this year and it seems likely that attmepting to regain that title will be his next move.