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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Filipino boxer Mark John Yap, the current OPBF bantamweight champion, recorded his seventh straight win on Sunday, April 9 in Osaka, Japan.
Yap scored 5 knockdowns before the fight was ended in the second round, with the final combination being a left uppercut followed by a right cross to the chin that left his Thai opponent sprawled on the canvas.
The win moved his record to 26-12 (12 knockouts), but the true record of the fighter he beat remains in question.
According to a bio data form issued by the Thailand Boxing Commission and made available to this writer, the fighter’s name is Sitthichai Turedphon but he fights under the ring name Ninmongkol Phetphumgym. He’s listed as having an 8-3 record with two knockouts on the sheet but nothing comes up under either name on Boxrec.com.
Thai boxer who was dropped 5x in 2 rounds by Mark John Yap yesterday in Japan is purported to have an 8-3 record but isn’t found on Boxrec pic.twitter.com/XJfjdqsMt0— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) April 10, 2017
None of the fighters the 19-year-old is purported to have fought come up in searches, either.
Emails to Chalerm Prayadsab, who signed the bio sheet as the Thai commission’s “secretary general,” and an official from the Japanese Boxing Commission seeking clarification on the fighter’s identity have not been returned as of this story’s publication.
Verifying records in Thailand can be difficult due to the practice of adopting ring names and the plurality of commissions which oversee the sport. Many fighters also switch between Muay Thai and boxing, fighting under different ring names which advertise the gyms they fight out of or the individuals or companies that sponsor them.
“Every promoter has their own commission,” says one person familiar with the workings of boxing in Thailand.
Boxrec, a popular site which compiles records verified by commissions and relies on editors to report records in regions with less representation, recently reverted Thai records back to their birth names, causing some initial confusion but reducing the reliance on ring names.
The reason why having verifiable public records for fighters is important is to provide transparent evidence that a fighter is qualified to face a world-rated boxer, which Yap is, and to ensure that a fighter isn’t fighting someone significantly over the weight class they’re best suited for.
James Goyder, a respected combat sports journalist based in Thailand, had difficulty finding any information on the fighter in question. He says that in these circumstances a record is almost impossible to verify.
“If all his wins had taken place in Krabi I could believe that he just fought on small local Muay Thai shows that threw the occasional boxing match. But for a fighter to travel all over Thailand to box but never fight on a show that is big enough to have the results recorded in either Thai or english is a bit implausible,” said Goyder.
Yap, a 28-year-old from Cagayan de Oro City, has been based at the Muto Boxing Gym in Osaka for two years, winning the OPBF title last November with a brutal fifth-round stoppage of Takahiro Yamamoto.
Yap is now rated number 10 in the world by the IBF and number 11 by the WBC at 118 pounds.
Sunday’s fight at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center was to serve as a tuneup for a bigger fight in July against former Japanese bantamweight champ Kentaro Masuda (26-7, 14 KOs), says Yap.
More than a day after the fight happened, the opponent remains listed as “TBA” on Boxrec as of this story’s publication.
Talape wins in ring return
Filipino boxer Jun Talape (22-9, 8 KOs) made his ring return after a 6-year absence, winning a 6-round unanimous decision over Indonesia’s Heri Andriyanto (22-24-2, 10 KOs) on Saturday at the Foochow Building in Singapore.
Talape, 31, of Abra province in the Philippines has been working in Singapore for the past two years as the head boxing trainer for the Vanda Boxing Club. The bout was contested at the junior welterweight limit, two divisions above where Talape had last fought. Two judges scored it 60-53 while the third had it 60-54.
The show was promoted by Arvind Lalwani’s Singapore Fighting Championship. – Rappler.com
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.