The final day of September gives us one more Asian world title fight as unbeaten Thai Nop Kratingdaenggym (17-0, 5) faces off against WBA Super Bantamweight champion Nehomar Cermeno (24-5-1-1, 14) in China. The bout isn't a high profile one but could alter the scope of the 122lbs division in some really notable ways and continues to develop the Chinese fight scene.
For the champion the bout will be his first of the title he won back in June. Cermeno's title win came against China's very Qiu Xiao Jun, who he stopped in 12 rounds. That was Cermeno's second bout this year, but just his 5th in 4 years, with some questioning why he had gotten a shot after such a low level of activity. Whatever the merits of his title shot he took the opportunity and easy out skilled the crude Chinese fighter.
Whilst Cermeno will be returning to China for his second bout there this year, Nop will be making his international debut, in what will be his first bout outside of Thailand. In fact it will only be the third time he has fought outside of Bangkok. Not only is it his first bout away from home but it's also a huge step up in class following bouts against a variety of limited domestic fighters and poor imported foes.
Aged 36 Cermeno is a true veteran and has been a professional for close to 12 years. Prior to turning professional he was a solid amateur, fighting at the 2000 Olympics. As a professional he first came to the attention of many fans in 2009 when he twice beat Cristian Mijares. The first of the victories over Mijares saw Cermeno claim the WBA “interim” Bantamweight title, which he would defend twice before losing to Anselmo Moreno, in a bout for the full WBA Bantamweight title.
Following his first loss Cermeno struggled to get going again, losing in a rematch to Moreno before sliding from 19-0 (11), his pre-Moreno record, to 20-5-1 (12). Bouts with inactivity followed but he has since gone 4-0-0-1, winning against Oscar Escandon and Jun.
In the ring Cermeno is a tricky and smart fighter. He's not a big puncher or incredibly quick but he is crafty, smart and experienced. At his best he uses angles brilliantly, judges distances excellently and controls both the tempo and range of a bout with his movement and punch selection.
Whilst Cermeno is a wily old veteran the same cannot be said of Nop, who is 25 and very much an untested prospect coming in to this one. He has 17 fights, 129 rounds and amazingly 12 title bouts so far. However, all those title bouts thus far have been at PABA level, and some have been against very poor opponents. His most notable win, thus far at least, came last year over former world title challenger Nouldy Manakane, though Manakane was never much of a threat to the top guys at his best.
Although Nop's opposition so far has been dire, to say the least, there has been a lot of chances to see him with pretty much every one of his bouts having been aired in his homeland. Unlike a lot of Thai's he's not a an aggression first fighter, but instead he's more of a boxer, who has started to show power. He'll walk down some opponents, using head movement, intelligent footwork and his jab whilst in other fights he has fought on the back foot and used an opponents aggression against them.
Young, big at the weight and with a lot of promise Nop has the ability to win a world title, on day. Here however we suspect his relative inexperience against decent opponents, and inexperience on the road, will be his downfall with Cermeno being too good and too smart for the Thai youngster.
(Image courtesy of Thailand The Champion)
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