Chatchai too good for Turk rival
Flyweight Chatchai Butdee marked his Olympic debut with an impressive victory in the preliminary round of the 52kg category to lift the mood of the Thai boxing team, which is attempting to extend the country's proud record of winning at least one gold medal at every Olympics since Atlanta in 1996.
On Sunday, lightweight Sailom Ardee, the first of the three Thai fighters to box in London, suffered a premature exit, going down to a Kazakh opponent in his fight, which was decided on the count back after it ended in a draw.
Sailom's defeat put the other two Thai boxers under pressure to maintain the country's winning run.
However, Chatchai was able to emerge from the fight against Turkey's Eker Selcuk relatively unscathed after producing a classy performance to claim a lopsided win.
Chatchai got his left working perfectly in the opening round to establish a commanding 112 lead. A count eight late in the second session then underlined the Thai's dominant display before the Thai cruised to a 2410 victory.
A Herculean task awaits the 27yearold in the last16 round where he takes on Ramirez Carrazana from Cuba, a country known for its boxing proficiency.
"It's definitely a tough test against the Cuban since he's a southpaw like me. I can't drop the guard against him. I believe I can give him a good fight," said Chatchai, whose most notable international success was the SEA Games title.
Asked about his chances for a medal, Chatchai replied: "I want to take it step by step, as I don't want to add unnecessary pressure on myself. Though only two of us are remaining, we'll do our best."
Veteran light flyweight Kaew Pongprayoon is the other Thai fighter, who was due to box late last night.