The Thailand welterweight title previously held by Aikpracha is vacant; it will be contested by young star Sittichai, of Sitsongpeenong gym (Kem being a notable team-mate) and Petmonkong, who like his opponent has won a Toyota Cup tournament in 2012, and has a very notable team-mate in Sam-A.
Sittichai is tipped to win; he is one of the names that in the next few years could usurp Aikpracha (whom he defeated) and the other established Thai stars (who face mainly foreigners) at 67-70kg, such as Sudsakorn, Singmanee, Buakaw, Saiyok and his team-mate Kem, as the star of the division. He already beat Singmanee and Aikpracha, as well as – get this – Lumpinee 140lbs champion Damien Alamos in his previous fight, on top of victories over the legend Anuwat and p4p farang Fabio Pinca the year before. Since the Alamos win, he beat Aikpracha and Singmanee, earned a Toyota Cup victory, and perhaps crucially, soundly defeated his opponent in this bout in a decision victory for what is a very impressive three-year résumé. Despite four losses interspersed among those massive wins, he is now riding the crest of a wave on a nine-fight winning streak.
Sittichai’s aggressive power is unquestionable, having put Aikpracha on the deck, and knocked out fellow divisional Bangkok elites Aranchai (who just competed with Alamos for the Lumpinee 140lbs title) and Attachai, who is top 5 ranked in the Lumpinee.
Irishman Stephen Meleady (with whom I shared a boozy night out sometime last year, I seem to recall) who just recently broke into the Lumpinee top 10 rankings at his weight, will also make an appearance.
Stay tuned to FightSportAsia for results from the Lumpinee. Fletch