Yokkao 17

YOKKAO returns to The Macron, Bolton this Saturday, March 19 for one of the most stacked cards in UK Muay Thai this year.

YOKKAO 17 and YOKKAO 18 plays host to two of the UK’s most renowned Thai boxers, Liam Harrison and Jorden Watson who once again vie for gold.

In probably one of the biggest muay thai rematches of the past decade, Jordan Watson and Sanny Dahlbeck tangle once again inside the famous YOKKAO ring. The last time these two met, an eventful Spring evening in Greater Manchester, Dahlbeck rocked the boat when he knocked down Leeds’ Watson three times in round four.

It was a spectacular showcase from both men, Watson stormed ahead early on, using his renowned ‘Quadzilla’ leg strikes to keep Dahlbeck at bay. However, as the fight progressed and Watson tired, Odenplan’s Dahlbeck piled the pressure on Watson and claimed one of the biggest wins of his career on enemy soil.

It’s a rematch of great proportions, dubbed ‘Revenge or Repeat’, even Watson’s Bad Company teammate Harrison said late in 2015: “I think the most of UK Muay Thai knows that he didn’t prepare properly for his last Yokkao fight, he missed his weight cut.”

The atmosphere in The Macron will be electric for this one, as once again Dahlbeck will look to upset the odds, but this time, he battles a better prepared Watson, who will have the partisan support roaring behind him.

YOKKAO announced that due to Pakorn losing three fights in a row, he had been stripped of the -65kg world title. The YOKKAO 17 main event between Liam Harrison and Tetsuya Yamato will now determine the next holder of the vacant title.

Interestingly, 30 year-old Harrison lost to Pakorn back at YOKKAO 13 in a title fight, whereas Yamato actually holds a win over the Thai great, taking a Decision over him at the Hoost Cup Kings Nagoya in December last year.

Harrison is a notoriously slow starter, and we saw it against Singdam Kiatmoo9 at YOKKAO 15, he just took too long to get into his rhythm. Similar could be said about Yamato, who applies tremendous pressure late-on in a fight.

Yamato is a very technically astute fighter but the way throws the left hook leaves himself open for the right hand of Harrison. The Japanese champion also loves to throw inside elbow strikes; carving the skin of his opponents with his daggering blows. Although Harrison is known for using his lead leg push kick to keep the distance, making it tougher for Yamato to close the range.

It’s been two years since “The Hitman” picked up the win inside the YOKKAO ring and a fight with Yamato will be no walkover. Expect a hotly contested bout and potentially, an elbow war.

Also, Reece McAllister was originally slated to face Christian Baya at YOKKAO 18, but after a loss to Nauzet Trujillo in February, the decision was made to pull the WMC champion from the card.

In his place, Lumpinne Lumpini Crawley’s Ben Hodge steps in to face Baya. The awkward southpaw style of Hodge, mixed in with his dangerous left high kick makes this an equally tough test for Baya.

Meanwhile, Baya is one of the hottest prospects coming out of the Netherlands right now. The Dutch fighter does very well at finding his range using a stiff armed jab and uses it to close the distance, forcing his opponents onto the ropes – in very similar fashion to GLORY Welterweight champion Nieky Holzken. He’s a knockout specialist and it’s going to make for a superb fight.

Elsewhere on the Supershowdown card, there are some more fantastic match-ups. Including Manachai Kiatmoo9 vs. Luke Turner at YOKKAO 17 and Soloman Wickstead vs. Jake Purdy at YOKKAO 18.


Yokkao -70kg World Title: Sanny Dahlbeck (C) vs. Jordan Watson

-72.5kg: Ben Hodge vs. Christian Baya

-72.5kg: Soloman Wickstead vs. Jake Purdy

-48kg: Amy Pirnie vs. Fanny Ramos

-65kg: Danny Harrison Little vs. Jack Kennedy

-90kg: David Sa vs. Darren Howieson


Vacant Yokkao -65kg World Title: Liam Harrison vs. Tetsuya Yamato

-65kg: Manachai Kiatmoo9 vs. Luke Turner

-65kg: Dale Murray vs. Dale Hughes

-79kg: Juan Cervantes vs. Danny Edwards

-61.5kg: Matty Mcguire vs. Myk Estlick

-70kg: Luke Imeson vs. Jackson Barkhouse