Junior bantamweight world champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai was launched to stardom with significant victories in his last three fights in the United States.
However, the toast of Thailand has declined an opportunity for a fourth major fight in a row stateside and will instead participate in a nontitle bout in his homeland, it was announced Saturday.
Sor Rungvisai will face Young Gil Bae in a 10-round bantamweight fight on July 21 at the Workpoint Studio in Bang Phun, Thailand, rather than wait to headline the "Superfly 3" card on HBO on Sept. 8 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Promoter Tom Loeffler and HBO wanted Sor Rungvisai to headline the "Superfly 3" card in a rematch of the "Superfly 2" main event, which took place on Feb. 24, also at The Forum, where Sor Rungvisai won a majority decision over former flyweight world titlist Juan Francisco Estrada in an action-packed fight of the year candidate.
Instead, Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 39 KOs), who has become a star in Thailand after years in anonymity, elected to fight at home against Gil Bae (28-6-2, 22 KOs), 38, of South Korea, a former strawweight world title challenger who has boxed regularly in Thailand.
Sor Rungvisai hit it big in 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York, where he won a controversial majority decision and a junior bantamweight world title for the second time when he defeated then-pound-for-pound king Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez in a savage fight of the year candidate on the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Jacobs undercard.
Sor Rungvisai, 31, retained the title in September in an immediate rematch with Gonzalez, whom he brutally knocked out in the fourth round in the main event of "Superfly 1" at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Since defeating Estrada, Sor Rungvisai has dealt with more than just his increased fame at home. He and his longtime girlfriend broke up and he also split with his longtime manager, and he wanted to fight at home for the first time since December 2016.
Loeffler said "Superfly 3" will go on as planned and that he and HBO are working to put together the card.
"Will be a great 'Superfly' show as always," Loeffler said. "[It's the] biggest platform for that division to create stars."
Estrada (36-3, 25 KOs), 28, of Mexico, could still headline the card, which highlights the 115-pound division called both junior bantamweight and super flyweight, against another opponent.
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