Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai was one of the fastest rising stars on the Muay Thai scene but after a run of bad results the 21 year old decided to put his fighting career on the backburner and focus on his studies. On Tuesday night in Bang Saphan he returned to the ring and scored an extremely impressive KO win against veteran light middleweight Armin Pumpanmuang.
It was Yodkhunpon’s first fight under Muay Thai rules since 2013 and his first time fighting at 154 lbs and he looked noticeably slimmer than his opponent. Their matchup was the main event of an outdoor show to celebrate the Songkran festival which also featured Lakhai ‘The Alien' Or Boonchuay on the card.
Yodkhunpon’s last fight was for Glory last June and he dropped a decision to Gabriel Varga but he displayed no signs of ring rust in the opening round. The Sitmonchai star knocked Armin to the ground with a right push kick to the face in the first 30 seconds and seemed to have a clear advantage in terms of speed and skill.
Armin came back strongly in the second stanza and landed a hard head kick which Yodkhunpon to his credit just walked through. The 27 year old from Songkhla suddenly became the aggressor as his younger opponent resorted to attempting wild left hooks which were telegraphed and inevitably missed.
It seemed the tide had turned in Armin’s favour but by round three Yodkhunpon had regained his composure and was starting to control the fight again, albeit in more measured style than the first three minutes. It was developing into an intriguing contest but the end came suddenly after the older fighter leaned back to evade a right body kick.
Armin succeeded in making Yodkhunpon miss completely with the kick, not for the first time in the fight, but he misjudged his proximity to the ropes and ended up bouncing back towards his opponent only to be met with a devastating right uppercut elbow which connected just beneath the left eye.
Armin dropped like a stone and was unconscious for several seconds while there was elation among the contingent in Yodkhunpon’s corner who had travelled down from Kanchanaburi to witness the comeback of the former child prodigy. It was an extremely impressive performance, particularly given the amount of time he has been away from competitive Muay Thai.
Earlier in the evening Lakhai Or Boonchuay went up against a local opponent called Monsawan Tesabanbangsaphannoi who was returning to competitive action after an absence of ten years. Despite the massive disparity in height and reach ‘Alien’ came on strong in the fourth round to win the fight and take the 100,000 Baht side bet.