Earlier today fight fans in Thailand saw local teenager Stamp Kiatniwat (17-1, 6) [แสตมป์ กระทิงแดงยิม] claim the WBA Asia Flyweight title as he scored an enjoyable to watch decision win over the limited but always game Filipino Michael Enriquez (13-7-1, 9).
The visitor made it clear that he hadn't travelled to just pick up a loss and chose to fight in center ring early on looking to draw mistakes from 19 year old Stamp. The Thai however showed good maturity and patience, refusing to give Enriquez many chances in the early going. After a few rounds Stamp had began to encourage pressure from the Filipino before looking to turn it around, leading to some really fun moments.
Around the mid-way point Stamp decided to press the action but the tough Enriquez, who famously had a FOTY contender with Rex Tso in 2015, showed his toughness and refused to go down, whilst picking his spots to fight back. Sadly though the Filipino never really looked strong enough or skilled enough to keep up with Stamp when he turned it on, though managed to see out the dangerous moments before taking the fight to a tiring Stamp in the later rounds, and he seemed to hurt a tiring Stamp in the later stages of what was a really fun contest.
Whilst Stamp ran out the winner in the end, with scores of 116-112, twice, and 115-112, the bout was always an enjoyable one and it showed what happens when two fighters have fun styles and are matched together. Hopefully it'll result in more decent fights for Enriquez, who really is one of the sports most under-rated action fighters. As for Stamp the bout might have been a win but showed his limitations late on he'll certainly have to work on his stamina if he's going to claim a major scalp on the world stage.
Yesterday Filipino fans got a title studded card at the Taguig Sports Complex. The card, a relatively low profile one despite featuring numerous notable names, features a trio of intriguing title matches with two of those ending in genuine upsets.
The most notable of the bouts, at least for us, was the one title bout that went as expected.
That was a OPBF Flyweight title bout that saw talented Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (31-9-3, 15) record the first defense of his title as he over-came fellow Filipino Jonathan Francisco (8-5-1, 2) with a unanimous decision. On paper this was a bit of a mismatch in favour of the often under-rated champion and it proved to be a confidence build first defense for a man who is likely to face much stiffer tests if his reign is to continue.
Francisco, fighting in his first title bout, did well to survive the 12 rounds but was never likely to over-come the champion, who really is one of the sports genuine gatekeepers at Flyweight.
It was at Flyweight where we saw one of the shows notable upsets. This time it was at the GAB level where veteran Donny Mabao (22-24-3, 4) managed a shock decision win over Michael Enriquez (11-5-1, 7). Coming in to this one Mabao had gone 0-4-2 in his last 6, dating back more than 3 years, though managed to pull out a career saving performance to over-come Enriquez. Sadly for the loser this was his 3rd loss in 4 bouts, and it seems that his gutsy display against Rex Tso a year ago has essentially taken all he had.
Whilst Enriquez's loss was an upset it wasn't the biggest shock on the card. That was at 108lbs where Jonathan Refugio (15-4-4, 3) shocked former world title challenger Richard Claveras (14-2-2, 12) in a bout for the WBC International Light Flyweight title. On paper this looked like a confidence builder for Claveras, who has scored a pair of wins since his sole loss last April, however it turns out that Refugio, who was 3-4 in his previous 7, hadn't read the script. Instead of lying down for the big punching Claveras fans saw a determined Refugio take the fight to Claveras and earn a well deserved decision win.
After the bout it was noted that Claveras was struggling to make 108lbs and it seems likely that he will now move up in weight.
Earlier today we were informed that highly experienced OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (30-9-3, 15) was set to return to the ring on February 20th to defend his title against countryman Jonathan Francisco (8-4-1, 2).
The talented Diale will be making the first defense of the title that he won last December with a decision win over Renoel Pael whilst. That was Diale's second shot an OPBF title after coming up short, in 2014, to Koki Eto in an thrilling war that featured arguable the round of the year. Since that loss to Eto we've seen Diale go a very impressive 7-0 (5) with notable wins against Renerio Arizala, Jenny Boy Bua and Heri Amol.
For Francisco this will be his first title fight of his career and comes after a technical draw against former world chamoion Toshiyuki Igarashi, last November. Although Francisco hasn't got an unimpressive record he does hold a notable win over Jonas Sultan, albeit a split decision very early in the career of both men, and he is current on a 3 fight unbeaten run.
The bout will be one of 5 title bouts on the card, with others including a WBC International Light Flyweight contest between former world title challenger Richard Claveras (14-1-2, 12), who is the defending champion, and countryman Jonathan Refugio (14-4-4, 3) and a potential FOTY candidate between Michael Enriquez (11-4-1, 7) and Donny Mabao (21-24-3, 4), who will be meeting for the vacant GAB Flyweight title.
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