It's fair to say that 2017 will be a year to forget for Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (22-5, 15) [ตะวัน BTU เรือไวกิ้ง], AKA Komgrich Nantapech, who went 0-2 for the year, following losses to Donnie Nietes and Juan Carlos Reveco. He will be hoping for better success this coming year, and will begin his 2018 campaign in February with a recently announced IBF Pan Pacific Flyweight title bout against Japanese ranked Naoki Mochizuki (13-2, 8) [望月直樹], set to take place in Bangkok.
The Thai comes into the bout as a world ranked fighter, but will know that he can't afford a third successive. In his losses to Nietes and Reveco fans saw a tough and hungry Eaktwan continually trying to press the against both men, but just lacking the skills to match either of his conquerors. Interestingly the the Thai is 1-5 outside of Thailand, and 21-0 (15) at home, and will be obviously be looking to continue that good home form.
Mochizuki is is a real unknown outside of Japan, but at home he has been gaining some traction in his career, helped by a good 2016 win over Yusuke Sakashita and a very competitive bout with Ksieuke Nakayama in 2017, just before Nakayama claimed the OPBF Flyweight title. At 23 years old he is still developing physically, but he is a very credible opponent, and shout make for an interesting opponent for the Thai.
Other than this title bout little else has been revealed about this show, but this bout should be a very interesting one and a very action packed one.
Yesterday in Argentina fans saw Thailand's Eaktawan BTU Ruaviking (22-5, 15) [ตะวัน BTU เรือไวกิ้ง], AKA Komgrich Nantapech, battle against former world champion Juan Carlos Reveco (39-3, 19) in an IBF Flyweight world title eliminator. Sadly for the Thai he wasn't able to book himself a second show at a world title as he was beaten by the Argentinian, who has secured himself a shot at Filipino icon Donnie Nietes.
The Thai looked aggressive from the opening moments, but lacked the skills needed to match his aggression, and instead it was Reveco who managed to get his shots off, landing shots with both hands. There were moments that the Thai had success, using his size and natural strength to press Reveco with some success but on the whole it was the combinations of the local favourite that impressed and looked incredibly fluid as he showed not only skills but also his experience.
As the bout wore on Eaktawan really did just refuse to back down from the fight, pursuing Reveco hard in the later stages and having some eye catching moments in round 11, but much like Yoshihiro Kamegai against Miguel Cotto, the aggression and pressure was never effective enough to have Reveco in too many issues. It was more competitive than the Kamegai Vs Cotto bout.
When we came to the final bell there was no doubting the winner, despite the effort of the Thai, and Reveco was well deserving of the victory, but Eaktawan certainly came to fight and will come again with his exciting style, gutsy mentality and refusal to just accept a loss. He never stopped trying and will be welcomed back at Oriental level in a heart beat. He's a solid fighter but no world beater, yet, though the potential is for him to rebuild and he seems to have the mentality to bounce back time and time again.
For Reveco a bout with Nietes either later this year or early next year would be an attractive match up,a good pay day and a winnable contest, which would be very fun to watch and feature a very high skill level. Hopefully that bout takes place sooner rather than later.
Earlier today Filipino fight fans at the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel & Casino, Barangay Lahug got the chance to see Pinoy Pride 40:Domination, the latest in the ALA series of Pinoy Pride shows.
The main event of the card saw Donnie Nietes (40-1-4, 22) takes a well earned, but hard foughht, decision win over Thailand's Eaktawan BTU Ruaviking (22-4, 15) to claim the IBF Flyweight and become the third Filipino to become a 3 weight world champion. The Filipino fighter did struggle at times, particularly in the middle of the fight, but clearly won using his speed and skills to keep Eaktawan at bay, and make the Thai miss wildly.
Nietes wasn't the only notable Filipino picking up a win on this card however with several others picking up wins.
One of those was Mark Magsayo (16-0, 12), who destroyed the horribly over-matched Issa Nampepeche (24-8-2, 11) inside a round. Magsayo had stated that he expected the bout to be easy and that proved to be the case with the visitor being dropped twice in what served as a relatively pointless contest. Magsayo's team stated that they were wanting to give him development time before pushign on with him, but this bout really didn't help him develop with Nampepeche not being a suitable opponent at all. Despite Magsayo dealing with him easily it should be noted that the vistor had never been stopped so quickly.
Another was the heavy handed Jeo Santisima (13-2, 11), who dominated Indonesian foe Master Suro (11-9-1, 2) in a frustrating affair. Suro, a born survivor, was down in round 6 but failed to go away and took Santisima beyond 6 rounds for the first time, though did lose very widely on the scorecards after 10 rounds.
In a really fun bout teenager Virgel Vitor (10-1, 6) had a 10 round battle with the under-rated Michael Escobia (11-15-1, 3), in a real back and forth war. The teenager did enough to earn the win, but really had to fight for it, and will have learned a lot from the contest.
Tomorrow fights fans in the Philippines and in Thailand will be able to see Donnie Nietes (39-1-4, 22) battle against Eaktawan Mor Krungthepthonburi (22-3, 15) [ตะวัน BTU เรือไวกิ้ง], AKA Komgrich Nantapech or Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, in about for the vacant IBF Flyweight.
Today the two men weighed in for the bout, and both men made 112lbs for the bout, the divisional limit.
On the scales Eaktawan made weight at the first time of asking and looked in great shape and very confident, despite this being a huge step up in class for the Thai youngster. Whilst this is his first world title bout he seemed like he had prepared hard for the contest and hadn't come to bow over to Nietes.
The Filipino however struggled on the scales, weighing over the limit by a few ounches on his first attempt. He managed to make weight soon afterwards, albeit he had to do it nude and behind a towel. It may suggest that he's made mistakes in his attempt to make the weight, however given his experience it's likely to have been more an issue with calibration of some other scales they may have had in his hotel room.
For those wanting to see the weigh in we've included the video courtesy of the ever brilliant rappler, image courtesy of Thairec
Related- Nietes goes for 3rd divisional title, takes on little known Thai!
Around two years ago the Flyweight division looked like one of the best in the sport with the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Kazuto Ioka, Brian Viloria, Johnriel Caismero, Amnat Ruenroeng and Akira Yaegashi as well as the promise of fighters like Donnie Nietes and Naoya Inoue moving into the division and making a mark in the division. Sadly though the division has gone from being one of the best to one that has been left as a relative mess with fighters moving up, or down, in weight and leaving us with a lack of real star power. Yeah Ioka is still there but he's the only one of that first group to still look like a prime fighter, and the only other champion in the division is the much maligned Zou Shiming, who is unlikely to keep the WBO title for long.
The latest fighter to abandon the division was recent IBF champion Johnriel Casimero (23-3, 15), who defended the belt just once. Casimero, like Gonzalez and Estrada, has vacated a Flyweight title in 2016 to chase bigger bouts at Super Flyweight, not a huge problem but it is one that takes yet more star power away from the Flyweight division, and potentially forces the division to move towards pushing the next generation a little bit quicker than expected.
With Casimero vacating the IBF have already ordered their top contenders to face off for the title. Those top contenders are Donnie Nietes (39-1-4, 22), who is ranked #3 behind to two vacant slots, and Eaktawan Mor Krungthepthonburi (22-3, 15), AKA Komgrich Nantapech or Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking, who is ranked #4, just a place behind Nietes.
At the moment it's unclear if Nietes will take this opportunity or pursue a WBO title fight with Shiming, for whom he is the mandatory challenger. It gives Nietes a really key position in deciding the future of the division but it also gives the division yet another opening for some of the rising fighters at Flyweight, including Daigo Higa, Muhammad Waseem, Andrew Selby and Kevin Satchell along with veterans like Takuya Kogawa and Yodmongkol Vor Saenghtep, who are both said to be after world title fights.
Although decisions haven't been made it does look like 2017 is going to be a massively transitional year for the Flyweight, and could, hopefully, make the year a really interesting one for the division even if we do have to wait until 2018 for the division to really make much sense.
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