Formerly known as the King’s Cup, and held in Bangkok, Thailand’s main international tournament has changed its name to the Thailand International Invitational Boxing Tournament, and moved to Pattaya.
Three of the word’s top boxing nations Cuba, Kazakhstan and Russia all competed in the latest edition of the tournament, which showed the quality of one of Asia’s strongest competitions.
Athlete of the tournament
Thailand’s ASBC Asian Continental Championships bronze medallist Tanes Ongjunta has moved up to the Bantamweight class (56 kg) and replaced Donchai Thathi in the national team this year.
The 23-year-old won the gold medal at the Duisenkul Shopokov Memorial Tournament in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan in the beginning of February, and added another accolade in his home tournament.
Ongjunta’s final opponent was the defending AIBA Youth World Champion and Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Javier Ibanez of Cuba, who was taking part in his first ever international elite competition.
The Thai fighter performed very well from the opening seconds, and won by unanimous decision, however despite the loss Ibanez will be very proud of his medal after a wonderful tournament as well.
Team of the tournament
Thailand secured four gold medals which was a great success for Pedro Malagon’s team.
Besides Tanes Ongjunta, Chatchai Butdee achieved a gold medal, as did Incheon 2014 Asian Games gold medallist Wuttichai Masuk who succeeded at Light welterweight (64 kg), while veteran Apichet Saensit was Thailand’s fourth gold medalist in their home tournament.
Surprises of the tournament
Kazakhstan’s Darkhan Zhumsakbayev delivered a surprise in Pattaya where he triumphed over Thailand’s ASBC Asian Continental Championships silver medallist and two-time Olympian veteran Saylom Ardee at Lightweight (60 kg).
Philippines’ AIBA Junior World Champion Eumir Felix Marcial knocked down Cuba’s star Antonio Bisset in the semi-final stage of the event and defeated his strong rival which was a small surprise in the Welterweight class (69 kg).
The 20-year-old Filipino boxer narrowly lost to Thailand’s Apichet Saensit in the final by split decision, but definitely made a name for himself in this tournament.
One to watch
India’s 19-year-old Shyam Kumar Kakara won their National Elite Championships this January, and carried on his excellent form by defeating two Thai boxers in the Light Flyweight class (49 kg).
Stat/fact of the tournament
Despite many of the top boxing countries taking part, Asian nations dominated by winning every gold medal.
Meanwhile, the Thai national squad used the event to prepare to the upcoming Southeast Asian Games which will be held in Singapore in June.
- List of the winners in Pattaya
49 kg: Shyam Kumar Kakara, India
52 kg: Chatchai Butdee, Thailand
56 kg: Tanes Ongjunta, Thailand
60 kg: Darkhan Zhumsakbayev, Kazakhstan
64 kg: Wuttichai Masuk, Thailand
69 kg: Apichet Saensit, Thailand