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Wanheng Menayothin: "I hope to fight Denver Cuello"

(Photo © Siraphop Ratanasuban)
(Photo © Siraphop Ratanasuban)


The strawweight division is a quarter of a century old and during this time, Thailand has produced 11 champions from the various sanctioning bodies, second only to Mexico - by only one. Looking to add his name to the list of his 105-pound contemporaries is Wanheng Menayothin, the current WBC International trinket-holder. In the west, we’re more used to boxers calling out other fighters and being brash. In Asia (in this instance, Thailand), things are a little different; the boxers are incredibly humble. Boxing is very much a way of life but more often than not, they don’t know who the champions are and are completely guided by the handlers who move them. The 27-year-old Wanheng (in Thailand, fighters are referred to by their first names whereas American or British fighters are generally referred to by their surnames) is no different. Like many of his countrymen, he comes from a strong Muay Thai background that, from a young age, helped ground and prepare him for pro boxing. He’s currently 26-0 with eight stoppages and is ranked by all four sanctioning bodies as follows: number two by the WBC, four by the WBA, 10 by the IBF and five by the WBO whilst The Ring magazine has him listed at three.

Anson Wainwright - You beat Roilo Golez on points back in December (Wanheng has fought a stay-busy, six-rounder since, beating Jack Amisa by unanimous decision). Could you tell us about the fight and were you happy with your performance?

Wanheng Menayothin - Not so good because I am not training much. I was not 100%. I have personal problems with my family.

AW - Though it’s still early days, do you know when you may next fight? What are your plans for 2013?
 
WM - I hope to fight Denver Cuello in an eliminator with the winner fighting WBC champion Xiong Zhao Zhong.

AW - Xiong Zhao Zhong won the WBC strawweight 105-pound title. You’re the WBC International champion. Is that a fight you are looking at? What are your thoughts on Xiong?


WM - I will fight anyone. It’s up to my promoter. I don’t know.

AW - What do you think of the strawweight division and the current champions like the WBA’s Ryo Miyazaki, the IBF’s Mario Rodriguez and the IBO’s Hekkie Budler?

WM - I do not really follow boxing and my handlers take care of who I fight but it would be an honour to fight any of them and try to become a world champion.

AW - Could you tell us about your youth growing up in Maha Sarakham, Thailand?
 
WM - My parents stay at home. They quit work and just own a farm. The employee’s are other people. I was born into poverty, very poor, nothing to eat. Now I am good.
 
AW - How did you first become interested in boxing?
 
WM - I started boxing in 2007. I am so good in Muay Thai but make more money in boxing than Muay Thai, so I fight both boxing and Muay Thai now.

AW - Did you fight in Muay Thai before you boxed? Could tell us about that, what you won and how many fights you had?
 
WM - I started Muay Thai when I was 12 years old. I have 100 professional Muay Thai fights; I won 70.

AW - Could you tell us about your team? Who is your manager, trainer and promoter and where do you train?


WM - Na Heng is manager; Siu Nao is promoter. I train in Kasetsart University, Bangkok.

AW - Training is very different in Thailand. Could you tell us about a normal day in training for you?

WM - I get up 5 a.m. and run one hour. My trainer teaches different every time. I finish at 9 a.m. From 14.30 (2.30 p.m.), I run 30 minutes and train until 18.00 (6 p.m.) everyday.

AW - Tell us about yourself as a person and what you like to do away from boxing.

WM - I’m calm, fun and I like takraw (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sepak_takraw) sport, a football (think “kick volleyball”) game.

AW - For many years, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam was the best fighter in Thailand. He recently retired. What are your thoughts on him?
 
WM - He teaches me lots of things, everything in boxing. We stay in the same gym. He is calm, patient and diligent.

AW - In closing, do you have a message for the strawweight division?


WM - I wish everyone good health and hope. 2013 is a good year for them. I hope to continue my progress as a professional boxer. Thank you.
 
Questions and or comments can be sent to Anson at elraincoat@live.co.uk and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright. Anson is also a contributor and ratings panelist for The Ring magazine.
 
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