23 Sep 2009

Great warriors know when their time's up and when to fight.

Big Ben, the WBC MUAYTHAI Welterweight world champion's night of reckoning, came when he put his title on the line at Rajadamnern Stadium on 21 September.

Media reports had challenger Singyok (23), six years younger than the veteran champion, red-hot favorite to become the new champion of the world.

But one look at Big Ben when he entered the ring showed that he would not relinquish the famous green and gold WBC world title without a big fight.

Despite Big Ben's confidence, Singyok showed calm and poise as both fighters cruised through the first round. Singyok's early probes gave little indication that the champion was readying for one of the great fights of his illustrious career that spanned almost two decades.

The decisive stage of the championship came early in the second round when the younger - and seemingly stronger challenger - laid on a hard grapple. A clash of heads seemed to boil the blood of Big Ben as he broke free from Singyok's clinch-and-knee pincer lockdown and then fired several precise elbow strikes leaving a cut close to the challenger's left eye. Several more punches and elbows had Singyok backing off from the champion.

If Singyok thought the third round would be easier he would be mistaken, as it was Big Ben who consolidated his perfect start when he repelled Singyok's attempt to fight in-close with a barrage of precise elbow strikes and punches. Swollen eyes and a second cut under his right eye had Singyok covering up leaving Big Ben's corner ecstatic that the champ was back to the top of his game.

Opportunities to fight in a Muaythai world championship don't come often and, with desperation and agitation in challenger's corner, the battered challenger refreshed for one last chance to snatch back an advantage in the fourth round, commonly referred to as the winning round of Muaythai.

No one could say that Singyok lacked courage as he mustered all he had to get an edge on Big Ben. But each time he was challenged, the champion resisted with punches and flash elbows. Another great round to champion built up an unassailable points lead.

To win Singyok had no option but to score a last round KO . Big Ben looked fresh and could have gone another round or more while his opponent was nearly spent with barely the energy for three minutes. The challenger went on the attack, as would be expected in a world title, but he met a fierce wall of resistance. After 1.17 minutes the action subsided. The challenger was cut, bruised, broken and more than a little respectful that the champion allowed him his stay with some dignity in the ring until the final bell.

The judges all scored in favour of Big Ben 50-47, 50-47, 50-46.

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