|Trần Văn Thảo (centre) celebrates with his bantamweight belt. He knocked out Andrew Laurio on September 30 to become the first Vietnamese IBA champion. Photos courtesy of tin247.com
HÀ NỘI — It took Trần Văn 'The Trigger' Thảo just two minutes to knock out Andrew Laurio of the Philippines to win the International Boxing Association bantamweight belt on September 30 in HCM City.
The fight was scheduled for 12 three-minute rounds in the men's bantamweight (52kg) category, but Thảo floored Laurio of the Philippines in the second minute of the first round.
Thảo, 30, had a near-perfect record going into the fight, with 14 wins (nine knockouts) and just one loss. His best result to date was a World Boxing Council (WBC) Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight title in 2017 when he floored George Lumoly of Indonesia in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Vietnamese boxer landed several powerful punches finishing the fight with a heavy right hook.
Laurio showed some of his prowess but couldn't withstand Thảo's power.
The Filipino tried to continue, but the referee waved it off.
"I have been waiting for this moment for years. Finally, finally, I made it," crying Thảo said after winning.
|Trần Văn Thảo (left) needed just two minutes to floor Andrew Laurio for the world title.
'The Trigger' had planned to compete for the IBA title two years ago, but it was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During that time, he could only practise domestically. However, he returned to action with a win over Phayom Boonruean of Thailand in February and the SEA Games in May.
"I have been working really really hard because I know that only by training every day and doing everything with best effort I will grab good results. This KO result, therefore, is not a surprise to me," Thảo said.
"I want to thank my coach, the first person I thought about after this win. He has helped me greatly, bringing me from zero to hero today.
"I want this belt as a present to my wife and son, who have sacrificed living away from me so that I could focus on training," said Thảo, who has not met his family in the US in person for nearly three years.
"With this win, I have proved that Việt Nam's boxing has reached the world level. Now, I want to enjoy this moment, this happiness!"
Thảo has become the first Vietnamese male world boxing champion and the second in the country, following female champion Nguyễn Thị Thu Nhi, who won her World Boxing Organisation (WBO) title last year. — VNS