Heartbreak for Sam-A
After an impress year that saw Sam-A Gaiyanghaadao gym as the strong favorite to take the Sportswriters of Thailand boxer of the year award, there was just one more obstacle for him in his quest to finally achieve the most coveted of awards in Muaythai. It was no easy task though against the naturally bigger and taller Penek Sitnumnoi who came into the fight on the back of an impressive year himself.
With the final meeting to decide the winner on the 5th of May, the stage was set for this epic battle on the 4th to decide the winner, between the two strongest contenders for the award. The only other fighter capable of upsetting them for the award was Wanchalerm Ud-donmuang, but fell out of contention after pulling out of his fight with Saenchai PKSaenchai Muaythai on the Tuesday before.
The main event on the big Lumpini charity event still managed to draw in a big crowd to the stadium and had the added incentives of the vacant Lumpini and Thailand Featherweight titles on the line.
It was clear from the off that Sam-A would have his work cut out as Penek fired in some fast, hard body and high kicks and vicious elbows in the opening two rounds. Sam-A started to come alive in the third as he started to find his way past the long limbs of Penek and catch him with his trademark heavy left kicks.
A hard kick across the back of penek just before the bell saw Sam-A go ahead in the eyes of the gamblers 3-1 on and by the start of the fourth round it had reached 7-1 on, but in round four thing went drastically wrong. Penek started to push forward now, looking to use his height and take the fight into the clinch. Sam-A looked to be containing the attacks at first but mid round Penek found the target with a fast rising elbow and Sam-A dropped to the canvas. Sam-A beat the referee’s count and started a brave fight back, opening up with solid punches and elbows, but it was clear now he had a mountain to climb.
Sam-A started the final round showing the heart of a champion, marching forward looking to try and k.o Penek. As both fighters planted their feet and traded hard shots, Penek connected with another hard elbow that opened a cut on the hairline of Sam-A and visibly wobbled him. A hard high kick after saw Sam-A effectively out of contention, but he still bravely pushed forward trying to turn the fight around.
With a minute to go Sam-A’s crner called out for him to stop going forward, knowing the cause was lost and not wanting to see him hurt anymore.
Backstage after the fight, there was not a single harsh word from his team, knowing he had given his all, as it sunk in that he had lost out on his biggest chance to take the highest accolade in Muaythai, the tears started to flow down Sam-A’s cheeks, the huge disappointment unable to be contained, but there was still more pain to come with a visit to the doctors room, to have 10 stitches applied to the battle wounds.