|Heavyweight (Per 1/20)|
|6.||Mirko Cro Cop
|Light HW (per 1/20)|
|Middleweight (per 1/20)|
|Welterweight (per 1/20)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 1/20)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
Artem's come a long way since 2008, but in this bout in Sweden, he was just starting to break out internationally. He's a tall, craft fighter who uses the advantages of his build well in the ring. He's got a fair bit of athleticism in his frame, too. He wears the blue gloves in this bout.
Yodsaenklai Fairtex at the time already was one of the most famous Thai nak muays on the planet. Before fighting internationally, he'd had a distinguished career in Thailand, winning a Lumpini title at 115 lb flyweight. He steadily moved up in weight in Thailand, fighting other highly ranked fighters like Sam-A Thor Ratanakiat, Orono Wor Petchpun, and Ponsaneh Sitmonchai, before moving from Petchyindee to Fairtex and fighting internationally at 70 kg, 154 lb.
Before this first match with Artem -- they would rematch at 75 kg, 165 lb, in the 2010 Sport Accord games in Beijing -- Yodsaenklai had met Farid Villaume and John Wayne Parr twice in the ring. The Contender Asia broadcast was drawing to a close and he was close to the height of his international regard, so a win over him would have definitely propelled Artem into the top ranks.
This bout is under K-1 rules. Yodsaenklai wears red gloves.
Thanks to irelandsjohn for this video (Does that mean Ireland's toilet? Never mind. Cool guy, I'm sure.). Artem's game has come a long way since this fight. His technique is already quite good, though, particularly those wicked teeps. He shows good use of distance and outpoints Yod in the first. Unfortunately, he seems to reach the end of his bag of tricks in the second and allows Yod to bomb on him from inside hook and uppercut range. Yod's power in his kicks is often commented on, but people are also quick to note the power in his hands. The second fight with Villaume showed the stopping power of his bodyshots and we saw him put together quick stoppages in the Contender Asia and the short-lived World KO Series. After being muscled around a bit in the first, his punching seems on point in pressuring Artem and causing him to turtle. Once Yodsanklai unravels Artem's guard, the taller fighter quickly finds himself deposited on the ropes.
Footwork comes into play here, as Artem seems significantly less fleet in lateral movement and resetting his base, contributing to Yodsaenklai's cornering of him. The difference in experience showed, as well. Yod's rhythm in this fight was unperturbed by Artem's active first round, while Artem allowed himself to be shut down to some degree. Both fighters have accomplished a lot since this, with Artem developing more as a fighter. I'll follow up with posts on both, because they've beaten some very noteworthy names between the two of them. Both regularly compete as high as 76-77 kg now, a good weight for Artem, but one where Yodsaeklai gives up a lot in size of frame.