In a major upset English Muay Thai fighter Andy Thrasher won the 154 lbs Toyota Marathon which took place in Kanchanaburi yesterday. This Muay Thai tournament contained two top Thai fighters, Prakayseng Kaeyanghadao and Panom Topkingboxing, and anyone who watches these eight man knock out competitions regularly will tell you that it is virtually unheard of for a Thai fighter not to win.
Prakayseng is ranked the number one contender at Lumpini Stadium in the highest weight category there, 147 lbs, and Panom is also ranked in the top ten. Both Thais comfortably won their quarter finals with Prakayseng defeating Dom from Sweden in the opening round and Panom winning a decision against Yan Goldenglorygym from Holland.
In the other two quarter finals Rodrigo Alonso from Mexico won a decision over Jonas Risco from Spain and Thrasher defeated Umaro from Uganda also by way of decision at the end of three rounds, with fights being reduced from the normal five due to the quick fire tournament format.
The two Thai fighters met in the semi finals in a contest which most assumed would decided the winner of the actual tournament. Thrasher was extremely unortunate not to have beaten Panom when the two fought for the WPMF title in Bali earlier this year and he found himself on the receiving end of a decision loss at the end of a fight that even his opponent felt he had done enough to win.
Any hopes he had of avenging that loss were extinguished when Prakayseng emerged victorious in the semi final after getting the nod from the judges. Thrasher still had a semi final of his own to worry about but he won a decision over Alonso to set up a Toyota Marathon final with Prakayseng with THB 300,000 in prize money on offer for the winner.
Winning a decision against a Thai fighter in Thailand is no easy task for a foreign fighter. After over 200 fights you learn how to fight in a style which the judges, who are of course also from Thailand, will appreciate and Prakayseng is as experienced as they come. Without wishing to be overly cynical I think it is fair to day that in a highly publicized tournament which is being broadcast live on national television in Thailand and has a significant amount of prize money at stake a 'farang' is going to have to do something pretty emphatic if they want to win.
Thrasher did just that, knocking out the number one ranked Lumpini contender in the second round to claim a surprise victory. This performance must instantly make the Nak Muay from Manchester one of the top fighters in Thailand at 154 lbs. He seems to get constantly overlooked by the prestigious shows such as Thai Fights, Thailand vs Challenger and the Muay Thai Premier League but promoters will surely be taking a much closer interest in his career after such an impressive performance at the Toyota Marathon yesterday.
His success is in no small part due to the trainers at Jitti Gym in Bangkok who have an excellent record of producing top class foreign fighters such as Liam Harrison, who was unfortunate to be knocked out from the Thai Fights tournament last year despite winning both his fights after being unable to make weight beore the semi final.
For more information about Andy Thrasher and Jitti Gym visit: http://www.jittigym.com/