Thai contender Srisaket Sor Rungvisai pulled off a minor upset Friday night, dominating Japan’s Yota Sato en route to an eighth-round technical knockout to win the WBC junior bantamweight title at the Khonmuangsri Stadium in his hometown of Si Sa Ket, Thailand. Referee Guido Cavalleri stopped the bout at the 1:23 mark as the shorter, but heavier-handed Sor Rungvisai pounded a defenseless Sato in a corner.
The 26-year-old Sor Rungvisai (19-3-1, 18 KOs), who had worked as a garbage collector before turning to boxing, suffered two consecutive third-round TKO losses in his first two pro bouts in 2009, including one to current RING flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi in his debut.
With the victory, Sor Rungvisai avenges Sato’s victory over his Nakornloung Boxing Promotion stablemate Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (no relation) last March, whom Sato decisioned to win the title. Sor Rungvisai is now the only current world titleholder from Thailand.
Sato (26-3-1, 12 KOs), who was making his third defense of the belt, was rated no. 2 by The Ring at 115 pounds heading into the fight, lost by knockout for the first time in his pro career.
The no. 3-rated contender in that division — the aforementioned Suriyan Sor Rungvisai — was also in action, winning a ten-round unanimous decision over Filipino journeyman Jilo Merlin (13-16-2, 2 KOs). Scores were not immediately available.
Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (26-5-1, 10 KOs) has now won six straight since losing the belt he won in 2011 with a decision victory over Tomas Rojas.
Thai flyweight prospect Nawaphon Por Chokchai (14-0, 11 KOs) also kept busy with a Filipino journeyman, knocking out Rodel Tejares (20-27-4, 5 KOs) at 1:13 of the second round.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to The Ring magazine and GMA News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. An archive of his work can be found