Sunday, October 01, 2023  |



Petchmanee CP Freshmart to defend WBC title in unexpected Tanaka rematch

Petchmanee CP Freshmart (left) alongside Norihito Tanaka in August 2022. (Photo by Wasim Mather)
Fighters Network

In a surprising turn of events, Panya Pradabsri (aka Petchmanee CP Freshmart) is now scheduled to go head-to-head in a rematch with Norihito Tanaka on June 28 in Rayong Province, Thailand. Speculations had been circulating that Pradabsri, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring at 105 pounds, would face Lito Dante. The reason for the shift is unclear.

Freshmart and Tanaka last entered the ring 10 months ago, battling for the coveted WBC strawweight title. Their previous encounter in Nakhon Ratchasima showcased an explosive and entertaining fight, Pradabsri emerged victorious with a unanimous decision, relying heavily on his precise jabs to secure the close fight. Nevertheless, Tanaka’s relentless determination pushed the champion to his limits, causing fatigue to set in during the later rounds. Presently, Tanaka holds the 10th position in the WBC strawweight rankings. Notably, his first title challenge was against Pradabsri’s stablemate, No. 1-rated Thammanoon Niyomtrong (aka Knockout CP Freshmart), for the WBA strawweight championship. Unfortunately, the seasoned Japanese fighter fell short in his endeavor.

The upcoming bout between Tanaka and Pradabsri has boxing fans confused, as everyone expected Pradabsri to progress onto bigger fights. It will be interesting to see the adjustments both fighters made in comparison to their previous fight. For 38-year-old Tanaka, this will be his third attempt at claiming a world title on Thai soil, hoping that the saying “third time’s a charm” holds true. If Pradabsri triumphs over Tanaka, speculations are already circulating about a potential showdown later in the year against the rising Japanese sensation Yudai Shigeoka.

The stage is set for the rematch, as Pradabsri and Tanaka prepare to once again battle for the WBC strawweight title.