Steven Wakeling Vs. Artem Levin
By Mike LNg
Artem Levin fights Steven Wakeling with what was to be a WMC Muay Thai light heavy weight title up for grabs at the XFS Xplosion Series. The fight was controversial to many observers. Though in the fight you won’t see questionable tactics or techniques out of the norm. Levin fought in a very partisan place, with a very partisan crowd, and with very partisan commentary despite Kieran Keddle’s best attempts at bringing balanced commentary. If the commentary distracts, watch it on mute and decide for yourself.
The other thing that came to mind watching this is the extreme size and shape of Wakeling. He was never not in shape but here Wakeling almost looks like a body builder. A far cry, from the smaller, younger version I remember fighting and beating John Wayne Parr and Jomhod Kiatadisak. Comparatively, Levin looks relatively soft.
Wakeling was obviously less than pleased with the outcome and Levin did little to make his case, taunting the crowd between rounds. Though, a draw is honestly not the worst call that could have been made for this bout I didn’t see a robbery in progress either. Some commentary on the internet ranged from calling Levin a coward to a punk and even said Wakeling was robbed of a win. Though to me anyone facing a strong Wakeling is anything but a coward or punk. I understand passionately feeling towards a fight or fighter one way or another. I certainly did and do for fighters but I invite you to think for yourself putting fan appreciation aside for a moment. Ultimately, the match was ruled a draw (*Correction from Sitsongpeenong and WBC Muay Thai staffer Tim* this was a WMC sanctioned event with no title at stake*).
Yes this means Levin retained his light heavyweight strap with out so much as a single defense of his WBC championship.
Now in typical WBC Muay Thai style, the WBC Muay Thai light heavy weight contendership is in a mess with Canadian Simon Marcus, Americans Joe Schilling and Eddie Walker, Wakeling himself and any near contenders not really being clear. In fact with the addition of various interim titles and no clear reason why any contender is matched the championship is actually muddied. Why even have an interim title at all if not for the obvious benefit of WBC charging to sanction yet another title in a crowd of international, world, national, intercontinental, interim, and emeritus titles? If not for a showdown between interim champion versus definitive champion what’s the point? And then yet another round of sanction fees? Then, and this is a stretch, what if an ambitious fighter wants to unify all the titles? For example, could there truly be a unified WMC and WBC unified champion? My personal forecast on the likelihood of that happening is slim to no chance.
Amongst all the title driftwood, credit has to be given to fighters bringing any value at all to such meaningless flotsam. Despite WBC’s own best efforts to thwart their value, it’s the fighters who actually give the fight meaning not the trinket attached to it. Probably, the next contender will be decided in typical WBC Muay Thai fashion: who can throw down the most sanction cash. Or an as yet undiscovered, Sitsongpeenong traveling student at the gym.
Sanctions can and do near accidentally have value when fights that should happen do at all because a piece of jewelry is bought and paid for by a promoter. Beyond that its not really required to have a good, meaningful fight.
Point of fact, more meaningful fights for that title (interim light heavy weight) have happened on American Lion Fight promotions than any where else in the world at this point. That is something of an achievement. And I’d credit it more to Lion Fight match making, as lopsided as they often are, than any effort of the WBC Muay Thai.
At the end of the day fights do have to be decided subjectively and scored intelligently in the absence of a conclusive knockout. Watch for yourself. Who do you think should have won?