Tran Van Thao became the first Vietnamese male athlete to win the world’s International Boxing Association (IBA) bantamweight belt after defeating Filipino Prince Andrew Laurio Friday night.
More than two minutes into the match held in HCMC, Thao unleashed a powerful right-hand punch into Laurio’s face, causing the opponent to collapse.
Despite trying to get up, Laurio could not stand, prompting the referee to stop the match and declare the victory by knock-out for the 30-year-old Thao.
“Thank you to Laurio. As a fighter, you will be back stronger,” Thao wrote on his Facebook page after winning the match.
Tran Van Thao (R) carries his opponent Prince Andrew Laurio after defeating him at an IBA bantamweight match in HCMC, September 30, 2022. Photo courtesy of Tran Van Thao’s Facebook page
Thao became the second Vietnamese boxer to win a world championship belt. In October last year, Nguyen Thi Thu Nhi won the first-ever World Boxing Organization belt for Vietnam.
Thao is the first local fighter to make his name internationally. He shot to fame after defeating Indonesia’s George Lumoly to become the first Vietnamese boxer to win a World Boxing Council (WBC) Asia title in November 2017.
But he could not compete in the 2018 WBC championship after sustaining injuries from a traffic accident. Since he could not defend his title, organizers decided to strip him of the belt.
He could not compete for nearly a year because of Covid-19 and injury.
Early this year, Thao enjoyed an easy bantamweight (54 kilo) win against Thailand’s Phayom Boonrueang at a pro boxing event in HCMC.
The Vietnamese boxing star has pocketed 15 wins and one loss.
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