Our great sport may be the “Fight Game” but there are rules to it, it's not a street fight, and it's not a barbaric event with a “free-for-all” mentality. Sadly for those who tuned into to Mono 29 on Saturday to watch the IBF Flyweight title bout between unbeaten Thai Amnat Ruenroeng and Filipino slugger Johnriel Casimero, the rules were essentially bent, broken, buckled, destroyed and ignored in a bout that may go down as the worst officiated bout of the decade. So poorly enforced were the rules that referee, Larry Doggett, mat as well have been on another continent. Instead Mr Doggett was in the ring and was part of the farce, possibly even exacerbating the problems.
From the opening this was a wild one, with in seconds the fighters had come together with Amnat wrestling, using his physical strength to bully Casimero who was thrown to the canvas within 30 seconds. It should have been an indication to the referee that he would need to get a grip on the fight quickly, and that if he didn't things were going to become downright appalling. Unfortunately the referee let it slide.
Despite the early “physical activity” there was some good boxing by Amnat in the opening stanza with the Thai landing some beautiful counters as Casimero charged in looking to land a solid shot. Ruenroeng often saw the Filipino's lunges coming, stepped back and countered. There was some real sweet science when Amnat decided to box. Sadly though the round ended in slightly sour fashion with Amnat swinging for Casimero well after the bell, the shot missed but the intention seemed to be there, and it was clear the referee was willing to turn a blind eye.
The second round again saw some classy work from the Thai who scored a knockdown with a solid counter and appeared to have Casimero under his control with both the counter-punching and the wrestling. Unfortunately though the wrestling was just starting to get worse and the referee's ineptitude was only just starting to show.
The third round was where things really began to fall apart. Casimero appeared to land a solid counter of his own that dropped Amnat, that however was, very questionably, ruled a slip. From the on Amnat began to flaunt the rules, throwing Casimero down, hitting on the break and, twice, holding Casimero against the ropes. Notably there was also a very long break for Amnat to have his shoe laces tied. There was little in terms of notable boxing, other than knockdown that wasn't.
The fouls that were evident in round 3 became worse in every progressive round from then on with Amnat showing off a bigger variety of illegal tactics than legal ones. They included a number of headlocks in round 4, judo throws in round 5, Amnat trying to shovel Casimero out of the ring in round 6, a choke hold in 7 and a full on mount in round 8. Not only was Amnat breaking the rules regularly but he was also being rewarded for them with a terribly called knockdown in round 7 coming following several illegal moves from the Thai.
By the start of round 9 it was looking like there was only 2 possible results. Either Amnat was going to win by decision, or Casimero was going to lose by DQ, losing his temper and hitting the referee, who really did deserve to be “take one” in the name of justice. What made everything worse however was the fact Amnat was more than capable of out boxing the Filipino, in fact he did so every time the fight actually resembled “boxing”. The Thai was able to avoid shots, counter with ease, land the telling blows, but unfortunately he couldn't help himself to break the rules at every opportunity.
The referee, finally, did something in round 11 when he deducted a point from Amnat. It was, however, little more than a token gesture by a referee who had no intention of disqualifying Amnat for what had been a disgraceful performance.
The 12th saw a desperate, frustrated and clearly annoyed Casimero swinging for the fences. For the most part he was again wrestled away, pushed down and generally neutralised as Amnat showed off his physical strength. There was however little landed cleanly by either man.
Come the final bell there was no doubting the winner with Amnat clearly taking the decision. Whilst he had fouled continually through the course of the bout he had also landed almost every telling blow, with his counters being eye catching when he let them go. With the win he managed to notch his 4th defense whilst extending his unbeaten record to 16-0 (5). For Casimero the loss drops him to 21-3 (13), and is his first set back since 2011, though we'd not be shocked to see a petition from his team to the IBF for an immediate rematch.
Sadly whilst Amnat's record now looks really good, especially with wins over Kazuto Ioka, McWilliams Arroyo, Zou Shiming and Casimero, he didn't manage to do himself any favours here. A potential unification bout with Roman Gonzalez or Juan Francisco Estrada simply won't interest anyone who saw today's bouts and it's also unlikely he'll lure any big names over to Thailand to fight him. As for Casimero, he must have felt like he did when he was in Argentina having chairs hurled at him following his win over Luis Alberto Lazarte. The Filipino has now faced two of the dirtiest fighters of the last decade, both on the road, and will have every right to be aggrieved about the officiating here.
As for the referee himself, he needs to be kept away from a boxing ring, in future. Maybe MMA is more his scene.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.