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BOXING: Thai bites on Capitol menu.

Byline: MARTIN ROBERTS

IN A slightly surreal re-run of 'The King and I' Coventry boxing promoter Kevin Houston has agreed a deal to bring Thailand's WBA super- featherweight world champion Yodsanan Nanthachai to fight in the city.

Houston bears a passing resemblance to Yul Brynner, the star of the classic film version of the musical, but he played the Deborah Kerr role when he met the real thing.

King Bhumibul Adulyadej is a patron of boxing in Thailand and Yodsanan, a 28-year-old southpaw with a record of won 38 (31KO) lost two, drawn one, won the title vacated by Acelino Freitas when he beat Mongolia's Lakuasim on April 13, the Thai New Year's day.

Now the King has ordered up a boxing show for his birthday on December 5 and that's where Houston comes in.

"I have links with Songchai Ratansuban, who promoted the New Year's Day show," explained Houston. "So we went to Thailand and met the King, had a cup of tea and that and I have to say he certainly knows his stuff when it comes to boxing.

"It was just like meeting anyone in boxing really though because he was moaning about having trouble finding opponents for his kick-boxers!

"Coventry is a very strong area for kick-boxing so I said I could get him some decent opponents, no problem. He said that if we could take over four strong kick-boxers then we could promote Yodsanan in the UK with a view to getting a unification fight in the USA."

Houston's Capitol Promotions have already filled two of the vacancies but another two places, with the offer of free flights, accommodation in Thailand for three weeks and a fight fee on the King's birthday show are on offer.

Top-class kick-boxers around 11 stone who fancy a pre-Christmas trip to Thailand - recent government warnings to the contary nothwithstanding - can call Capitol on 02476 361235 to book an audition.

Whether Yodsanan would ever fight outside of Thailand was severely open to question before he claimed the WBA crown. He has only ever fought outside of his homeland once and then he only ventured as far as Australia.

But, after claiming what is, in these title-infested days, a real world crown, Yodsanan's backers know the big money lies on the road to a unification fight in the 9st 4lbs division.

From Thailand to Las Vegas via Coventry? It's not a route many have taken but boxing politics in these strange days might just make it happen. Capitol have links with South African promoters Golden Fists, who will get to choose the opponent, while both can provide national TV coverage.

Possible opponents for Yodsanan, a fearsome opponent in the classic mould of 'pyscho' Thai fighters who seem to have had their pain receptors surgically removed, would include Philip Ndou and Cassius Baloyi while, from this country, new British champion Alex Arthur, featherweight star Nicky Cook and Coventry's Commonwealth super-featherweight king Dean Pithie, ranked No1, would be in the frame.

CAPTION(S):

FEARSOME: Thailand's Yodsanan Nantachai
COPYRIGHT 2002 Coventry Newpapers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:9THAI
Date:Nov 5, 2002
Words:504
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