Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stage set for Tokyo showdown

World lethwei champion Dave “The Nomad’’ Leduc will face a new opponent, Nilmungkorn Sudsakorn of Thailand, next month as his American challenger Cyrus Washington has pulled out of the fight citing a “hand injury’’ he sustained during training.

Muaythai champion Nilmungkorn Sudsakorn, left, will pit his skills against world lethwei champion Dave Leduc on June 16 in Tokyo. Photo - SuppliedMuaythai champion Nilmungkorn Sudsakorn, left, will pit his skills against world lethwei champion Dave Leduc on June 16 in Tokyo. Photo - Supplied

The fight scheduled June 16 in Tokyo, Japan, was supposed to be the third defense of the title Leduc won last December. And it provided Washington an opportunity to wrest the champion’s belt from Leduc.

The injury to the American challenger however marks a second time Leduc has seen a change of opponents. Before Washington he was slated to fight Saw Nga Mann, a former champion, who also withdrew.

Nilmungkorn Sudsakorn is a product of Muaythai Gym. Twenty-three years old and a Muaythai champion, he becomes Leduc’s third challenger. Nilmungkorn was the 2015 IMTF world champion and in 2016 and 2017 the Super Muaythai Tournament champion boasting a record that reads: 62 wins–20 losses–3 draws.

Can the Thai challenger, 5’10” tall, upset Leduc?

This fight is being viewed as a matchup of lethwei against Muaythai.

“It’s lethwei versus Muaythai. I will finish Nilmungkorn off very quickly and show the world that lethwei is the most devastating form of fighting” Leduc said.

“Although there’s been a change of opponents, it doesn’t affect my preparations at all. I always train to the maximum for every opponent, I’m already ready for the show in Japan.” he stressed.

‘’I don’t care if they’re K1 champions, Muaythai champions, Glory champions. In lethwei everything is permitted. They can’t deal with all that’s coming to them. If it’s not my hands, elbows, feet, it’s my head.” added.

To his local fans, Leduc promised: “I will protect this belt with all my energy and make Myanmar proud of having a real open weight lethwei world champion.’’

The Washington-Leduc showdown, however, might still materialise, probably at a later date, say around the middle of August, and it may even take place right here in Yangon.

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