Panya Pradabsri once again proved to be too much for Wanheng Menayothin.

The anticipated WBC strawweight title fight rematch ended with Bangkok's Pradabsri scoring a surprisingly wide unanimous decision win over his countryman. Judges Carlos Costa (117-111), Pongpan Rattanasutorn (117-111) and Visuth Yingaupagarn (117-111) all ruled in favor of Pradabsri, who successfully defended his title Tuesday evening (local time) at City Hall Ground in Nakhon Sawan, Thailand.

The same venue saw Pradabsri stunningly end the long reign of Menayothin, claiming a closer decision win in their November 2020 clash which was fought behind closed doors due to the pandemic.

Bankgkok's Menayothin entered a title fight as the challenger for the first time in more seven years, dating back to his November 2014 win over Oswaldo Novoa to win the very belt at stake on Tuesday. The former long-reigning WBC strawweight king fought like a man in search of in-ring revenge, jumping out to a strong start against Pradabsri who attempted the second defense of the belt.

Pradabsri struggled to keep pace with the 36-year-old Menayothin taking the fight straight to his lone conqueror. Menayothin quickly closed the gap against Pradabsri, who is five years younger and two inches taller but was being outworked and slow to defend against Menayothin’s left hook and body shots.

Menayothin landed in combination in round three, while Pradabsri was warned for low blows. Menayothin continued to work the body in round four, wading through jabs and long right hands from Pradabsri to find his mark.

Open scoring—which is used in WBC title fights in most countries, including Thailand (though not the U.S.)—revealed the fight was even, 38-38 on two scorecards through four rounds while Menayothin led 39-37 on the dissenting card.

Pradabsri was forced to pick up the pace in round five after an early rush by Menayothin had the defending champion pinned to the ropes. Pradabsri punched his way out of trouble, beating Menayothin to the punch with right hands down the middle.

Two-way action continued in round six. Menayothin managed a jaw-rattling right uppercut, though not before eating several right hands to the body. The former champ was confident that he could hurt his countryman, intensifying his attack in a fast-paced round seven. Menayothin was dialed in with his straight right hand to the body. Pradabsri adjusted, connecting with enough right hands to prompt a brief switch to a southpaw stance by Menayothin.

Pradabsri used his jab to control the action in round eight. Menayothin followed the champ around the ring, resorted to plodding for the first time in the fight. Menayothin connected with a right hand to the body midway through the round, finding a way past Pradabsri’s jab, right hand combination which was effective to that point. Pradabsri missed wildly with a right uppercut just before the bell, though Menayothin didn’t have time to capitalize.

The momentum shift was well-reflected on the scorecards, as Pradabsri led by scores of 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 through eight rounds per WBC open scoring.

Menayothin fought with a sense of urgency at the start of round nine, realizing he needed a clean sweep in the final four rounds. Pradabsri was fortunate to avoid a knockdown call, as he lost his footing following a jab from Menayothin who followed with a straight right hand. The latter shot landed on Pradabsri’s shoulder as he was already falling into the ropes after losing his footing on a slick canvas logo which referee Thawuth Pluemsamran ruled a slip.

Still, the sequence served as a confidence booster for Menayothin who continued on the attack in the final three rounds. Menayothin came forward and targeted the body of Pradabsri, who fended off fatigue while fighting behind a flicking jab.

Both fighters dug deep, fighting as if the outcome was hanging in the balance in the twelfth and final round. Pradabsri sought to keep Menayothin at the end of his jab which he would follow with right hands that didn’t always find their mark. Menayothin attempted to bully his way inside, disrupting Pradabsri’s rhythm though unable to land anything of consequence.

The final scorecards revealed that Pradabsri's already established lead through eight rounds was well secured even before the championship rounds. Nevertheless, Pradabsri didn't leave anything to chance as he improves to 38-1 (23KOs) with the win. The feat marked his second successful title defense, having outpointed Danai Ngiabphukhiaw in this same venue last November. 

Menayothin falls to 55-2 (19KOs) with the defeat, his second in a span of three fights. Wedged in between was a confidence-restoring knockout win over Jinnawat Rienpit on the same November 2 show that saw Pradabsri lodge his first title defense. 

The latest setback leaves Menayothin on the outside looking in, his career having yet to recover from the pandemic. Menayothin enjoyed twelve successful title defenses but none his anticipated U.S. debut in April 2020 was canceled due to the global health crisis. The development prompted an unexpected retirement, though quickly reversed as his team announced the November 2020 clash with Pradabsri—which in turn ended his celebrated title reign. 

The title fight rematch aired live on true4U in Thailand, and available live and legal around the world on the platform's YouTube channel.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox