Srisaket Sor Rungvisai firmly believes he was a week away from making history for his native Thailand, avenging a prior defeat in the process.
An unexpected kidney ailment instead left the former two-time WBC junior bantamweight champ stranded in the U.S. while watching another boxer fight for his old title. Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (15-0, 10KOs) accepted a fight with Carlos Cuadras on just six days’ notice, moving up in weight to claim a twelve-round decision and the vacant 115-pound strap this past February 5 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
That belt is at stake this weekend, with the Thai southpaw hitting the road to face Rodriguez this Saturday on DAZN from Tech Port Arena in the titlist’s hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
“I’m hungrier than ever to win back my title,” Sor Rungvisai told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve been waiting a long time to become the first three-time WBC world champion from Thailand.”
Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43KOs) won his first major title more than nine years ago, scoring a ninth-round knockout of Yota Sato in their May 2013 WBC title fight in his hometown of Si Sa Ket, Thailand. A steady stream of activity followed, though mostly in non-title bouts surrounding just one successful title defense, which came in November 13.
He lost the belt to Cuadras in May 2014, waiting nearly three years and fifteen wins followed before getting his shot at four-division champ and then-WBC 115-pound champ Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez whom he outpointed in March 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The win was by far the biggest of his career at the time, as Gonzalez was unbeaten and widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The outcome was disputed, though their September 2017 rematch saw Sor Rungvisai deliver an emphatic fourth-round knockout. A follow-up February 2018 win over Juan Francisco Estrada solidified Sor Rungvisai’s pound-for-pound credentials before losing to the Mexican in their April 2019 rematch.
Just three wins have followed, with his last sanctioned fight taking place more than a year ago. Sor Rungvisai returned home following his empty-handed business trip in Phoenix, managing an exhibition bout earlier this spring.
Now comes the opportunity to face boxing’s youngest—and arguably one of the best—active titleholders in the sport.
“Bam Rodriguez is a very young but very strong world champion,” notes Sor Rungvisai. “I will not underestimate him.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox