The champion first made waves thanks to his unusual ring name. It was memorable, it was different and even a bit comical. It was also much easier to remember than his birth name of Thammanoon Niyomtrong. He won the WBC Youth title on his debut, just over 5 years ago, and defended it 7 times in total, before giving it up to fight for bigger and better titles. That resulted in Knockout claiming the interim WBA title in 2014 with a controversial win over Carlos Buitrago and since then he has gone from strength to strength, claiming the full title last year with a win over Byron Rojas.
At times in his career Knockout has looked laborious, and clumsy but fight after fight he has improved, with that being obvious in his 2016 rematch with Buitrago. Now the only major flaw that stands out is his questionable stamina, which has seen him running low in later rounds. Other than his stamina issues he looks like a talented, heavy handed and skilled fighter who could well be the best 105lb fighter on the planet. He may not have the 40-something win of compatriot Wanheng Menayothin but wins over Buitrago and Rojas are just as good as the best wins scored by Wanheng, and he's not taken the easy record padding fights that his countryman has.
On paper the challenger looks useless. 13 losses from 36 fights is pretty bad. However they only tell a fraction of the story of Rey Loreto's career. To begin his career he went 0-4, losing all 4 fights in a little over 6 months during 2008. In 2011 he was 8-11 (4), a long way from ever looking like a world title challenger. Then came a run of 7 wins, including a stoppage in Thailand over Wisanu Kokietgym. Aged 21 Loreto was then 15-11 (8) and was a veteran at such a young age. Like a veteran he went through a bad patch, losing 2 of 3 against naturally bigger men, but has since reeled off 8 wins. They have including a technical decision over Pornsawan Porpramook and a 2014 Upset of the Year contender against Nkosinathi Joyi
In the ring Loreto is an aggressive fighter with a great engine, really under-rated power and a great work rate. He might not be the most rounded fighter, or the quickest, or even a particularly technical fighter, but he's incredibly talented and very destructive with natural power, as he showed against Joyi. Also worth noting is he's a southpaw, making him even more feared and showing why he has been relatively avoided in recent years.
We really think this could be something special. Loreto is hungry, he's been forced to wait, he's already a veteran and there is no way he's not going to be putting it all on the line here. He might not be as talented as Knockout but he's certainly hungrier and that could prove to be pretty key in this bout. We think the skills will be the difference, with Knockout winning, but he will have to fight through hellfire to come out on top and Loreto will not be there for loss #14, he'll be there for the title. We suspect this will be an exciting, hard hitting war and something that no fan should be missing out on.