He may be a rising star in Myanmar but Phyan Thway met his match yesterday in a Thai welterweight champion. The fan favourite battled Thailand’s Sigmanee to a five-round draw at Taungoo Indoor Stadium.
Taungoo played host to the Battle of Glory lethwei competition, which featured a blockbuster card of 11 Mynamar-Thailand fights capped off by a headline match between the 2015 Golden Belt champion and a Thai welterweight champion Sigmanee Kaewsamrit.
In the undercard match, regional gold medallist Htun Naing Oo’s handily dispatched Thai fighter Youkthit two minutes into the third round. Widely acclaimed in Myanmar’s lethwei circles, the bout was Htun Naing Oo’s first against an international opponent but it proved little challenge: Youkthit was overwhelming by the lethwei fighter’s fists.
It was just an appetiser for the 2500 spectators, who had come to see Phyan Thway, who rose to fame in 2015 after claiming the crown at the Golden Belt tournament.
The headline match in Taungoo got off to a slow start, both fighters circling and looking to learn each other’s form.
Phyan Thway, coming off a short rest after battling Iran’s “Nuclear” Hadi to a merciless draw at the Air KBZ Aung Lan championship on December 11, jumped into the attack in the second round with the powerful punches the crowd has come to expect.
But the 33-year-old Sigmanee, a multiple muay thai champion, demonstrated his experience under pressure, fending off Phyan Thwe’s stand-up punches as well as combination kicks.
Against mixed martial arts crossover fighter Tha Pyay Nyo, Phyan Thway had used a deft combination of sharp jabs and powerful kicks to overcome artist.
Against Sigmanee, however, he continued to rely on his arms into the third and fourth rounds. It wasn’t a winning strategy, as the Thai welterweight responded in kind, fighting his way through the rising lethwei star’s defenses to land powerful strikes to Phyan Thwe’s forehead, stunning the home crowd favourite, who struggled to make his own shots connect.
The fight was judged a draw by decision, and the crowd seemed pleased by the level of the competition. But the upshot was apparent: Phyan Thway’s claim to lethwei’s top ranks was stalled, if only temporarily, by a strong future match-up for Myanmar’s martial arts superstars.
One of those will enter the ring today, as Myanmar’s consensus number-two lethwei practitioner Too Too faces Thailand middleweight Chanajon Pk at the top of a five-fight Myanmar-Thailand card in Mandalay’s Diamond Plaza.
In the event’s undercard matches, Tway Thit Win Hlaing will fight Phra Lung Choi, Byak Kha against face Fa Him, Ba Htoo Maung will square off against Phai See Cunt, and Htun Lwin Moe will battle Hnung Lan Lex.