Wanheng Menayothin moves to 49-0 with decision win over Tatsuya Fukuhara
There was a feeling of pending upset in the air as the taller lefty Tatsuya Fukuhara frequently got off first against incumbent champion Wanheng Menayothin early on.
Menayothin, in his eighth defense of the WBC strawweight title and on the verge of that celebrated 49-0 mark that Floyd Mayweather ballyhooed and has since exceeded, was frequently met punch for punch and even outpunched by his challenger, who at times made him appear older than his 32 years of age.
Menayothin ultimately got the decision, by the absurd tally of 118-110 on one card and the more realistic 116-112 and 117-113 on the other two cards Saturday in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, but looked shaky in doing so.
Even as Fukuhara initiated much of the action, he was unable to get the benefit of the doubt on the cards, trailing 40-37 on one card and 39-36 on the other two according to open scoring after four rounds. Menayothin found better success in the middle rounds, stepping around the on-charging Fukuhara (19-6-6, 7 knockouts) to land his straight rights, which drew cheers with every landed or missed attempt, but Fukuhara remained with Menayothin each step of the way, banging both to the head and body in search of an unlikely road win.
The win moves Menayothin to 49-0 (17 KOs), getting the Thai-born Chayaphon Moonsri to the mark that Rocky Marciano had once set as the standard for unbeaten success, but Fukuhara may have revealed a vulnerability in the 10-year pro.
Fukuhara, 28 has now lost two straight after dropping a close decision to Ryuya Yamanaka for the WBO strawweight title in August in Japan.