Toàn beats Thai rival to secure WBA Asia title

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Lê Hữu Toàn celebrates his win with match officials on Sunday. Photo of WBA Asia

HÀ NỘI — Lê Hữu Toàn has become only the second Vietnamese athletes to win a World Boxing Association Asia belt after his victory at HCM City’s Vietnamese Dream event on Sunday.

Toàn beat Kitidech Hirunsuk of Thailand by unanimous decision after 12 rounds to secure the minimum weight title.

“This was a really difficult match for me,” Toàn said.

“Hirunsuk is very tough. I didn’t imagine he would be as tough as he was.”

Toàn, 29, is the Việt Nam champion of the men’s 48kg category for the last two years. He has only been boxing for three years after long time practising and coaching vovinam (Vietnamese traditional martial art).

Prior to the final fight, he competed in three matches and won all with two knock-outs (KO).

Meanwhile undefeated Hirunsuk recorded all eight wins with five KOs and planned to secure another KO prior to the match.

Toàn knew his rival’s advantage of long arm-span, height and experience. But he also had his own strong points like good physique, stamina and agility.

The Thai took full advance of his strong points to launch attack against Toàn in the first four rounds, setting his dominance.

Lê Hữu Toàn (left) of Việt Nam lands a punch on Thai Kitidech Hirunsuk’s face during their 12-round match in HCM City on Sunday. Photo zing.vn

Toàn said he felt the pressure and tried to find chances to punch back. He made it from the eighth round, landing a number of blows on Hirunsuk to persuade two Vietnamese and one Thai judgers to give him the decision.

“I have a strong physique so my plan was to attack from the beginning to make him ‘run out of battery’ as soon as possible. Then I would apply next tactics,” said Toàn.

“He seemed better than me in the third, fourth and fifth rounds but I caught up with him in the next three and could return to my plan landing a lot of hard punches.”

Toàn’s belt is the second WBA Asia title of Việt Nam. The first one went to Trương Đình Hoàng who won the super middleweight category in 2020.

The belt is also the third Asian title of Việt Nam with Trần Văn Thảo securing the World Boxing Council (WBC) Asia in the super flyweight in 2017.

Toàn will next focus on the National Boxing Club Cup held in Tiền Giang in the next few days. — VNS

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