November 21, 2023
HCM CITY Trương Cao Minh Phát became the first Vietnamese world champion upon winning the WBC Muay Thai super-featherweight (59kg) world title on the night of November 19 in HCM City.
Phát knocked out Iranian Mostafa Armand in the fourth round of the match during the Muay Thai Rampage (MTR): Call of Honor at the Saigon Sports Club.
This was the first time a world title bout was held in Việt Nam. The event was jointly organised by the World Boxing Council Muay Thai and Shadow Entertainment.
Phát won his career’s first international title when he claimed his WBC Muay Thai International belt at the MTR: The Rising Stars in July, also in HCM City.
The result pushed him to No 6 in the world and secured his place in the world title match.
On November 19, the Vietnamese met with big trouble in the first round when Armand successfully blocked his left punches.
Phát switched to attack with powerful kicks in the second round and he gradually swung the balance. The third round saw his consecutive attacks that pushed Armand into defence. He mostly tried to avoid Phát’s combo of high kicks and uppercuts, having no chance to fight back, but fell down for the first time at the two thirds time of this round.
Armand’s effort ended in the fourth round after he took a heavy flying knee from the host fighter.
Armand, 25, collapsed to the floor for the second time and referee began the count. The Iranian tried to stand up but he was too exhausted to continue.
Phát, 28, was announced the champion with a knockout, a result that he promised at the press briefing prior to the match.
“I am extremely happy with the championship title,” said Phát after donning his belt.
“Thank you everybody for coming to cheer and encourage me. I hope that my achievement will be a milestone in Việt Nam’s martial art history. I also expect that this world title will be a motivation for all Vietnamese fighters to go further in the world of martial arts.
“I also have to say thanks to the organisers, my coaches and teammates who have strongly supported me to prepare for this match. A big thank for all, thank you!”
Earlier in the night, Vietnamese Huỳnh Hoàng Phi bagged his first international title after he floored Elamghari Ayoub of Morocco in the WBC Muay Thai International bantamweight (54kg) title bout.
The WBC Muay Thai Việt Nam champion Phi was No 18 in the world, five steps below his rival. However, Phi, 26, proved his power from early on.
Phi, the underrated fighter in this match, completely took the initiative. He continuously pressured 27-year-old Ayoub, and at the same time delivered strong kicks on his opponent who fell down only halfway through the first round.
Ayoub hit the floor three times in the early second round after Phi’s straight punches and kicks on his stomach.
In the ensuing seconds, Ayoub collapsed twice and his coaches had to throw in the towel for surrender.
“First of all I want to say thank you to everyone for supporting me,” said Phi.
“When I knew that I would have a title match, I researched my rival carefully. Together with coach Nhơn and other members of the team, we worked really hard.
“Now that I won this belt I can say that I was really confident for a knockout, but I could not think that I could make it in the second round. Again, thank you coach Nhơn and everyone for helping me taking this belt.”
Phi became the fourth Vietnamese fighter to be WBC Muay International champion, following his coach Nguyễn Kế Nhơn (2018), Huỳnh Hà Hữu Hiếu, and Trương Cao Minh Phát (2023).
In other matches, Trần Quốc Tuấn technically knocked out Wanphichit Siriphana in the 67kg pool.
Trần Tuấn Anh was knocked out by Armando de Crescenzo in the 79kg category.
Nguyễn Văn Đức Nghĩa defeated Jorn Hiep Phan in the 63kg bout.
Phan Trọng Hiếu won against Nguyễn Thanh Thoan in the 60kg category. VNS