Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Lion Fight 10 Fight Breakdown: Ognjen Topic vs. Coke Chunhawat

Lion Fight 10 is a stacked card with some of the best North American fighters in action, not to mention Thailand’s Yodsanklai Fairtex will headline the event. Leading up to the July 26th event we will be breaking down some of the match ups which we are sure to entertain fans.

The first of the match-ups we are going to break down is Ognjen Topic vs. Coke Chunhawat. Be sure to give your feedback on what you think about the fight.

Ognjen Topic (7-3) vs. Coke Chunhawat (147-26-1)

Topic is one of North America’s rising stars. Coming off his knockout over Thai champion Paowarit Sasiprapa has boosted his stock immensely. Technically he is one of the best North American fighters in his weight class and has shown his finishing ability in his last two fights having stopped Rami Ibrahim and most recently Paowarit. Topic could be 10-0 as a pro right now, but all three of his losses have come by controversial or razor thin decisions which puts his record at 7-3.

Coke is a seasoned veteran who is always highly regarded by everyone. He is tough as nails, technically strong, and with over 150 fights to his name he never lacks an edge on experience. He has alternated between losses and wins in his last fight five outings and is 2-3 in that span. Paul Karpowicz most recently defeated him at Muay Thai in America: In Honor of the King this past December. Karpowicz continually pressured Coke not allowing him to dictate the pace of the bout.

This fight is going to come down to two things, how well Topic uses his height/reach advantage and who dictates the pace. Topic should be looking to use his height/reach advantage to make Coke pay whenever he tries to close the distance, which in return should allow him to use his boxing to set up kicks much like he did against Paowarit. If they do engage in the clinch it should be a pretty even battle. Coke fights a traditional Thai style and he should try to force Topic into this type of fight as it gives him the best chance of winning. Landing a few sweeps form the clinch or catching a few Topic kicks and dumping him on the ground could force this to happen, however, if he can’t make that happen Topic will be all over him if he starts landing clean strikes on Coke. Experience won’t play a role in this fight as Topic showed against Paowarit who also had well over 100 fights. A faster pace favors Topic, while a slower pace favors Coke.
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  1. I don't know if I would be quick to judge how good Topic is from his win over Paowarit. Not only was Paowarit hurt prior to the fight, but he was also naturally a champ at a much lighter weight than Topic. Lastly, Paowarit hasn't been active in a while. Good win for Topic, but I wouldn't jump him up the list based on that win just yet. Coke is a good test in that Coke is more at his weight class. However, Coke is by no means a ranked Thai fighter himself. Coke was never that great when he fought in Thailand. I say Topic has a good chance at beating Coke. But if Topic wants to jump into the elite ranks, he will have his hands full as the weight class is stacked with awesome Thai fighters. A good Thai fighter at Topic's weight would be Jomthong Chuwattana, Singdam, and Saketdao - or even Saenchai. A good non-Thai fighter for Topic would be Tetsuya Yamato. We tend to elevate our fighters way too fast based on their performance against older and lighter former Thai champs or unranked Thai fighters. It's a tough weight class hovering among Thai fighters between 130 and 140 - especially once you start fighting active champs from that actual weight class. Let's see how Topic will move through it.

  2. Having been a training partner, gym mate and friend of Ognjen for years now I can say personally that Kru Ray/Joe and Ognjen only want the toughest opposition out there. Regardless of whether or not Paowarit/Coke are or were at the top of their game is irrelevant. They are toughest Nak Muay in N. America and have a lot of experience. I'm confident that Ognjen will step into the ring and put on good showing, as he always does. He ends fights and is as tough as they come. Cheers!