I was really bummed that I wasn’t able to get to this fight. Everyone I spoke with said it was incredible. My friend “st12iker4LIFE” wrote this great summary of the fight:
Last Tuesday, November 7, there was an amazing fight card for the World Xtreme Muay Thai Challenge in Fresno, California. It was truly one of the most impressive line-ups that the West Coast has seen in a very long time. The 2 pro fights featured Matee Jepeeditak, fighting for the IMTO Welterweight Title and Neungsiam (Samart) “The Rock” Samphusri fighting for the IMTO Lightweight Title.
Photo by BlackWidow
Neungsiam’s opponent, Raul Llopis, fighting out of Florida, has a reputation for being a very tough fighter and having fast hands. He has an impressive record of 37-4 with 19 KOs. Neungsiam, originally from Thailand has fought many bouts in his career since the age of 10. He earned the highest honor of Lumphini Stadium Champion and the coveted Mitsubishi Tournament Champion at the height of his career. After almost 17 years of fighting, he officially hung up his gloves from Lumphini and retired. He made his comeback in the US for the first time, after a 4 year hiatus, debuting under the new California full contact rules. Elbow strikes allowed! This is Neungsiam’s most dangerous weapon.
If you didn’t make it to Fresno to see it, you missed an amazing bout. Dozens of people from his home gym in San Francisco, Fight and Fitness, came out to support, as well as students from several other gyms from the San Francisco Bay Area. The local spectators, who were mostly familiar with Llopis who had fought at the very same casino a few years ago against Armando Ramos (Fairtex), were unsure of what to think of this former Thai champion. Neungsiam traditionally started with his beautiful pre-fight Wai Kru and Ram Muay in the center of the ring. After the start of R1, everyone watched in excitment to see if this former Thai Champion could really make a strong comeback into the sport.
Photo by BlackWidow
Neungsiam started by throwing many flying left teeps (front push kicks), enabling him to distance himself from Llopis and followed with good combinations, eventally landing multiple elbow strikes to Llopis’ face. Llopis put up a good fight, trying hard to mimic with his own elbow strikes and slick high right kicks. Neungsiam, a very technical fighter, seemed to know exactly how to set Llopis up, frustrating his opponenet, who had a difficult time landing some of his strikes. It was evident that Neungsiam’s elbow strikes had done their intended damage, as Llopis had several bleeding wounds on his face. Still, Llopis stood strong and fought back hard with everything he had, but it was not enough to turn the cards around in his favor. The crowd went wild for both of the fighters, cheering them on throughout the fight and especially during the last 30 seconds of the fifth and final round.
The fight went all 5 rounds and ended with a UNANIMOUS decision (50-45) with Neungsiam as the new IMTO World Lightweight Champion! This makes this his third title, and his FIRST here in the US.
You can see a slide show of the fights here courtesy of BlackWidow. Thanks for the great Pics!