By Jake Donovan
Given their progress throughout their mandated safety weight checks, it’s of little surprise that Wanheng Menayothin and Tatsuya Fukuhara easily made weight for their upcoming strawweight title fight rematch.
The lone plot twist was that the defending champion was considerably lighter than his familiar challenger, who was practically at fighting weight one week ago.
Nevertheless, both boxers hit the mark for Friday’s strawweight title fight rematch at City Hall in Chachoengsao, Thailand. Menayothin weighed 104.7 pounds for the 11th defense of his title, while Japan’s Fukuhara came in right at the 105-pound limit.
Both champion and challenger weighed 105 pounds each for their first fight in Nov. 2017, in which Menayothin won via 12-round decision that was more competitive than at least two of the scorecards suggested.
Thursday’s weigh-in saw Fukuhara (17-6-6, 8KOs) shed just 0.1 pound from Saturday’s 7-day safety weight check, as he was 105.1 pounds and well within the World Boxing Council (WBC) prescribed limits every step of the way.
Menayothin (52-0, 18KOs) also hit the mark at every sanctioned weight-check, although slightly heavier than his challenger at every point until Thursday’s official weigh-in.
Thailand’s Menayothin (52-0, 18KOs) attempts the 11th defense of the title he claimed more than four years ago in a 9th round knockout of Oswaldo Novoa. Among his lengthy title reign came a 12-round decision win over Japan’s Fukuhara, who has since won his last two starts.
The 30-year old challenger is 1-2 in major title fights, having received an upgrade from interim to full titlist following a 12-round win over Moises Calleros in Feb. 2017. He lost the title in his first defense, dropping a competitive decision to countryman Ryuya Yamanaka one fight prior to his aforementioned loss to Menayothin.
Friday’s bout will finally come after no fewer than four postponements. The two were due to originally rematch this past March, with the bout pushed back to two separate dates in April and one more in May before finally landing on May 31. The delay puts Fukuhara out of the ring for 10 months by the time fight night arrives.
Menayothin has not fought since a stay-busy win last November, one of six lower-level non-title fights he’s taken over the course of his 52-month title reign. Such fights have been roundly criticized considering his place atop the strawweight division but have also helped him remain as boxing’s all-time winningest blemish-free major titlist (no losses or draws), two better than Floyd Mayweather who retired in 2017 at a perfect 50-0.
Jake Donovan is a senior write for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox