In the fall of 2007, Oleydong Sithsamerchai won the WBC strawweight title outpointing long-reigning champion Eagle Den Junlaphan over 12 fast paced heats. He went on to make six successful title defences over the likes of Pornsawan Porpramook (UD12), Muhammad Rachman (TD11) and Juan Palacios (MD12) and was widely thought of as the best 105-pounder on the planet during that time. However, in early 2011, he took on upstart Kazuto Ioka, an amateur phenom with little pro experience at the time. In the end, none of that mattered as Ioka stunningly took Oleydong apart. Since then, the 27-year-old southpaw decided his struggles to make 105 didn’t justify the means anymore, so he elected to jump two weight classes north to fight at super flyweight. Oleydong quickly won the WBC international title and going into 2013, he hopes to become a two-division world champion. Currently, Oleydong is 44-1-1 (16), ranked number three by the WBC, 12 by the WBA and 10 by The Ring magazine.
Anson Wainwright - What are your plans for 2013? When do you fight next?
Oleydong Sithsamerchai - I leave that to my handlers; they make the fights and I fight them. [Editor’s note: Oleydong fights today in Bangkok, Thailand. His opponent is Danilo Pena, 26-14-2 (11)]
AW - You were previously the WBC strawweight champion. Can you tell us how much you struggled to make 105? Why did you jump all the way to super flyweight, skipping light flyweight and flyweight altogether?
OS - Very difficult, I almost died. At 108 and 112 pounds, I have to reduce lots of weight but I’m OK at 115.
AW - Can you tell us about your team? Also where do you regularly train?
OS - Siu Tang Oun [trainer] and Siu Nao [manager] of Petchyindee Gym. Now training at Muaklek Sport Complex in Saraburi province.
AW - The training in Thailand is supposed to be very tough. Can you tell us about it?
OS - I wake up at 5.30 a.m. from Monday to Saturday. No training on Sunday. If it’s a tune-up fight, I will run 10 km but if I’m defending my title, I run 15 km and training is for three hours in the evening every day. And sparring every Monday Wednesday and Friday.
AW - You were born in Trang, Thailand. Can you tell us about your early years growing up and how tough things were for you?
OS - I was very poor. My parents do rubber farming.
AW - Many Thai boxers come from a Muay Thai background. Was this the case with you?
OS - My family loves Muay Thai. My father used to be a boxer, so my father forced me to go into Muay Thai. Then I started to love Muay Thai when I was 14-15 years old and came to stay with [then-manager] Ja Klae Konkuad. In the beginning, I lost many fights because the fights weren’t at the same weights but my body is smaller than others. So Siu Nao brought me into boxing. However, I used to fight for amateur boxing and I love boxing more than Muay Thai, so I turned to professional boxing. I fought professional Muay Thai more than 200 times.
AW - You lost your WBC 105-pound title to Kazuto Ioka. What can you tell us about that fight and how good is Ioka?
OS - When I fought with Ioka, which is very difficult because he has lots of amateur experience), he got good rhythms in and out. He has an advantage in every way but I didn’t believe that I would lose by knockout. I was surprised.
AW - What are your thoughts on the current champions at 115 like the WBC’s Yota Sato, the WBA’s Tepparith Singwancha, the IBF’s Juan Carlos Sanchez and the WBO’s Omar Narvaez?
OS - Sato is taller but I’m not afraid of Tepparith who is a heavy puncher but I am faster than him. I don’t know the IBF and WBO champions.
AW - Having previously been a world champion, what goals do you still have in boxing?
OS - I want to be world champion again at super flyweight.
AW - Could you tell us a little about your home life?
OS - Now I have agriculture farms to work at with my wife. I am working both jobs as well.
AW - Growing up, what boxers did you like and why? Who do you like today?
OS - I like Pongsaklek [Wonjongkam]. We stay in the same camp. He is like my older brother.
AW – Finally, do you have a message for the boxing world?
OS - I want to thank my fans for their support and wish everyone Seasons Greetings. I hope to win a second world title in 2013.
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