Starting his career in 2012 at the age of 32 Amnat Ruenroeng (20-3, 6) was always up against it in regards to Fight of the Decade honours, and in fact a general chance to shine. He was too old, and turned pro way too late in the decade to really achieve much. At least that's what we'd have assumed. In fact he only just missed out on the top 10, and did more in 8 years as a professional than most do in significantly longer careers. During his title run he had made a mark on the sport with 2 huge upsets on foreign soil, and notched a couple of other notable wins. Though he he didn't exactly shine, or look great in some of those wins.
Amnat won the IBF Flyweight title in January 2014, in his 12th professional bout. He had only debuted in May 2012 and had raced through the IBF rankings to become the mandatory challenger for Muroti Mthalane. Sadly Mthalane and Amnat wouldn't clash, with Mthalane vacating the belt, rather than travelling to Thailand for a poor payday. That lead to Amnat beating Filipino veteran Rocky Fuentes for the title and begin his messy yet remarkable reign.
Less than 4 months after winning the title Amnat travelled to Osaka and beat Kazuto Ioka in his first defense. The bout was a close one, but given he had travelled to Japan and still got the decision it was an impressive result, even if the performance wasn't amazing. Amnat's second defense was a foul filled, ugly affair against McWilliam's Arroyo. This was controversial and messy, but another big name on his record. Amnat's third defense saw him to Macao and upset local star Zou Shiming, to get a second huge road win. Another messy win followed as he defeat John Riel Casimer in another messy and foul filled wrestling contest.
After an easy defense against Myung Ho Lee we would see Amnat lose in a rematch to Casimero, ending his remarkably messy reign. From there he never really bounced back, going 3-2 (1) in the professional ranks, whilst dipping his toes in kick boxing and Olympic boxing.
Amnat will be remembered for his foul filled bouts, his use of the dark arts, judge throws, headlocks, bear hugs and bending the rules as often as possible. His big wins tended to come with an asterisk due to how badly officiated the bouts were, but few fighters can claim a run like he had over Ioka, Arroyo, Shiming and Casimero. For a guy who turned pro in his 30's his achievements are brilliant, but not quite enough to get his way into our top 10 fighters for the decade.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features