2020 has been a weird year for, y’know, EVERYTHING, boxing included, but WBC 105-pound titleholder Wanheng Menayothin’s 2020 has been weirder than most as far as his career goes.
The 34-year-old Thai titleholder, real name Chayaphon Moonsri, was set to make a long-awaited (by some, anyway) U.S. debut in April after signing with Golden Boy Promotions in the summer of 2019.
But when the COVID-19 lockdown set in and canceled that event and all others for a few months, Wanheng announced a sudden retirement on social media. Within hours, though, it was deleted and reported in kind of odd fashion that he wouldn’t retire after all.
Golden Boy’s Eric Gomez tells Sky Sports that Wanheng (54-0, 18 KO) is, indeed, going to fight again, and that Golden Boy still plan to bring him over to the States, saying that Wanheng’s “handlers” have told him it was “something emotional” due to the state of things in the world:
“It had a lot to do with the pandemic. There is a lot of uncertainty and sadness in the world. I think he felt frustrated with everything going on. I think he said it out of emotions. ... We really want to bring him to the US so people can see how talented he really is. Once we get a date going for him, then we’ll look at opponents. But right now? We’re just happy he isn’t retired and is fighting again.”
Wanheng last fought on Oct. 25 of last year in Thailand, a strong decision win over contender Simpiwe Konkco of South Africa. It was Wanheng’s 12th successful defense of the belt that he took from Oswaldo Novoa in Nov. 2014, so he’s coming up on six years since winning the title.
Of course, Wanheng has been criticized plenty, sometimes fairly, sometimes nitpicking. He’s taken heat for not fighting outside of Thailand at all and for not looking to unify with any of the other titlists in the division, which is fair; and also for taking a lot of non-title fights against truly hopeless opposition, which is just something normal about boxing in Thailand, really, a lot of their top fighters do the same thing, though as far as pointing out his 54-0 record is grossly inflated, that’s fair enough, too, though one does have to admit by all technical standards it definitely makes him TBE.