Menayothin outclasses Kimweri to stretch record to 47-0
About two minutes into the fight, Omari Kimweri threw a left hook to the body, jerked his head suddenly to the left and caused a deep gash near the left eye of Wanheng Menayothin.
That was one of the few impactful blows the challenger was able to land on WBC strawweight titleholder Menayothin (aka Chayaphon Moonsri), who stretched his unbeaten record to 47-0 (17 knockouts) by outclassing the Australia-based Tanzanian on Saturday in Rayong, Thailand. Two judges scored the fight 118-109 while the third had it 117-110 as the 31-year-old retained his spot atop the 105-pound division with a unanimous decision victory.
There were no knockdowns, though Menayothin remained in control throughout, using his sharp jab to tame Kimweri’s wild lunges. Menayothin was superior in every facet of the fight, landing clean right hands and left hooks from range, and outwrestling his foe when he resorted to rough tactics.
Menayothin kept his calm in the pocket, using his high guard to pick off Kimweri’s wide swings, and rocked the visitor in the second round with a hook to the body followed by a hook to the chin. Kimweri (16-4, 6 KOs) was hurt near the end of that round as a right hand knocked his head back.
Sensing his opponent’s strength, Kimweri tried backing up and working off his jab in the third, switching between stances, but remained unable to avoid Menayothin’s jab. The titleholder’s background as a Muay Thai champion came in handy in the middle rounds as he outmuscled Kimweri and turned at angles inside to work effectively with his left hand. The lone instance where someone hit the canvas came in the seventh, after a snapping left hook counter stunned Kimweri, who then dragged Menayothin down with him.
The cut was not a factor for most of the fight until it started bleeding again in the seventh, and the doctor was called in to take a look in the 11th round. But by then, following a one-sided ninth round where Kimweri was backed up to the ropes and pounded with right hands without answering back, it seemed like his will to win had been sapped.
The fight was Kimweri’s first in 14 months, since his controversial win over Randy Petalcorin in April of 2016, when the WBC admitted that referee Malcolm Bulner missed several knockdowns scored by Petalcorin, and a panel of local judges which included the referee’s wife scored the fight for the hometown fighter, Kimweri, by split decision.
Menayothin is the No. 1-rated fighter by THE RING at 105 pounds.