|Heavyweight (Per 1/20)|
|6.||Mirko Cro Cop
|Light HW (per 1/20)|
|Middleweight (per 1/20)|
|Welterweight (per 1/20)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 1/20)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
It's common for Thai boxers at the heavier weights above 60-65 kg to take fights in Europe. The pay, once converted to Thai baht, is substantial, and three rounds can be a nice change from five.
Ekapop fights at 72.5 kg, which is huge in Thailand. Most of the small handful of Thai nationals who have competed internationally at this weight are well known. Among them, Lamskongkram Chuwattana, Kaoklai Kaennorsing, Yodsenklai Fairtex, Pajunsuk Lukprabat, and Changpuek Kiatsongrit.
This fight was a semi-final bout in a four man tournament in Bagnolet, France. Where that is, I'm not sure. Google Maps tells me it's somewhere in France.
The fight is quite nice to watch, with the fighters having entertaining and well-matched styles. Ekapap wears black gloves, Frederich red.
Loopnoub provides us with the upload.
I had the pleasure of watching Ekapop work the bag leading up to this fight. I asked him why he didn't hit pads with a trainer and he said he didn't quite have the time to do a proper camp.
That said, his bagwork was a tremendous show of technique and power. It can happen that a fighter his size will have trouble getting fights in Thailand. It is certainly not as easy as for someone 65 kg or below, but due to the large flow of foreign fighters in Pattaya, and his European contacts, Ekapop stays active enough to keep his technique at a good level.
Unfortunately, his conditioning falls short in this fight. Berbichon was able to overcome a deficit in experience and overall technique to take the fight through solid defense and conditioning. Ekapop clearly dominates the opening two rounds and looks, from the start, to have superior timing and all around skills. His kicks, in particular, seemed to land well and his evasion of two headkicks in a row from Berbichon near the 7:10 mark is quite funny to watch. He looks more relaxed, on the whole, and racks up points in the first while Berbichon exhibits some stiffness in technique.
This is the first fight of Berbichon's I've seen, but he soaks up damage well and knows when to move in and out. He fights patiently, avoiding exchanges, and has a good eye for openings. When Ekapop tires near the end of the second and in the third, Berbichon is relentless in attacking. Patience plays a large part in Berbichon's victory. He clearly has a good grasp of basic technique and is in tremendous physical condition, but biding his time while his opponent is fresh and dangerous is a smart choice on his part, especially in a tournament opener.
Ekapop was not expecting to lose by stoppage in the tournament. Leading up to the fight, his attitude was very relaxed and confident. This seems pretty common in fighters, in and out of Thailand. Ekapop's been fighting since he was 9 or 10, so I suppose that level of confidence is understandable.
If anyone knows who ended up winning the tournament, please let us know. And keep an eye on Loopnoub's channel. The videos there are a good mix of classic fights and current bouts broadcasted on TV.