Yokkao 33-34 marks the promotion’s third event in the vibrant city of Hong Kong since 2016. Held at the Kowloon International Trade & Exhibition Centre on 29 October, the night saw a total of 15 bouts including the climatic WBC title match between Manachai YokkaoSaenchaiGym and Julio Lobo.
It has been quite the journey for Manachai just to get the crack at a championship title. Despite topping the Lumpinee stadium rankings at one point during his days at Kiatmoo9 Gym, he was never presented with any title shot. The 22-year-old had his hope tarnished when Channel 7 stadium organizers decided to withdraw the belt a day before weigh-in. Manachai was again let down when Rambo Phet Por Tor Aor pulled out from their Thailand champion match in March. With Yokkao 33-34, his time has finally arrived.
In the contest for the vacant welterweight title against Manachai was another young upcoming fighter, Julio Lobo. Lobo now trains out of Phuket Fight Club and has fought against big Thai names including Saenchai and Pakorn PKSaenchaiGym. The Brazilian fighter wasn’t going to have it easy for his opponent as a win would certainly help to propel his own fight career.
After 14 fights with the event pushing past midnight, the crowds stayed on for the Yokkao 33-34 main event showdown. It was the only full 5-round fight of the evening but both fighters left no time to waste right from the start.
Manachai fought decisively but with a cool composure that deviated from his usual wrecking ball style. There were at least a few takedowns in the first 2 rounds in a display of dominance by the Thai. The points were clearly in Manachai’s favor as the intensity mounted.
Lobo sought to narrow the gap in round 4, pushing forward and loading up the offense with more punches and knees. Manachai responded with a solid defense but the Brazilian who took advantage of his longer reach to score a number of vicious strikes. Lobo continued to swoop in hoping for a shock finish but the fate was sealed. Manachai took home the win on points as the WBC world championship belt.
This event also saw memorable fight appearances by Muay Thai superstars Singdam and Superlek Kiatmoo9 as well as a host of fighters from around the world. Muay Thai legend Saenchai was also present as a special guest and to rally behind his Yokkao team mates.
In the pre-fight press conference, WBC China chairman Song Ke revealed that there are at least 2-3 more collaborations with Yokkao next year. The partnership opens up the potential for more exciting matchups on the Yokkao promotions in Hong Kong and the greater China region.