The intriguing Flyweight division really does have a bit of everything involved in it with the aggression of Roman Gonzalez, the action of Diago Higa, the the boxing of Juan Francisco Estrada and the trickery of Amnat Ruenroeng (17-0, 5). It was that trickery that was on show earlier today when Amnat recorded the 5th defense of his IBF Flyweight title and over-came the gutsy Myung Ho Lee (19-5-1, 6), of Japan.
In the opening round it looked like the bout was going to be an easy one for Amnat who looked too fast, too skilled, too smart and too accurate for the Japanese challenger. It was a round that saw Amnat showing off what he can do when he's not holding, fouling and wrestling.
The second round was a much more competitive one as Lee came out firing, showing real aggression and arguably showing the key tactic to beating the Thai. The challenger closed the distance, was in Amnat's face and forced the Thai to fight and an uncomfortable pace. It was a round that the judges likely scored to the champion but was one that could easily have gone to Lee who really pressed the fight and made Amnat look uncomfortable.
Amnat saw off the early storm and came back in rounds 3 and 4 with some brilliant work, hurting Lee in both rounds, though also showed his lack of killer instinct letting Lee recover without really turning up the heat on either occasion. Despite the lack of an early finish Amnat was impressive during these rounds and an uppercutt in round 4 was nothing short of exceptional showing just how clever and intuitive he is in the ring.
With Amnat failing to see off Lee when he had a chance it was clear that Lee was going to come back into the fight and in round 5 he really pressed the champion, whilst Amnat had a serious lull through much of the round. It was another round that could have gone to the challenger with little debate whilst the champion fought in some very limited spurts and had little success with his counters and traps. It was one of the best rounds for Lee who showed that he was still really in the fight.
Although Amnat is well known for putting on some dreary action we must say that round 6 was brilliant from both men who spent some prolonged periods trading shots in the center of the ring. The action did have lulls through out but was a really good solid round with both fighters having notable success and being forced to take some solid shots during a round of brilliant 2-way action. Sadly for Lee it was a round where Amnat's slightly more varied offense took him the round, but it seemed to show that Lee was forcing Amnat out of his typically slow paced style.
Lee may not have taken round 6 but he really seemed to grow and took the fight to Amnat once again in round 7 as the champion was forced to fight Lee's fight. The Thai held, spoilers, ran and did his best to avoid the rampaging challenger who looked determined to make a statement with a very impressive effort during the round. In a favourable venue the round would have seen Lee close the gap on the scorecards, and in fact the bout could have been 67-66 leading into the final 5 rounds, on the actual cards however things were never going to be that close.
Round 8 started slowly with Amnat holding, holding and holding though he came alive after that slow start and hammered Lee with right hands late in the round. It wasn't the best round but it was a clear round for the champion who simply out landed and neutralised the challenger, who had began to build some momentum over the previous few rounds.
Amnat's success continued in round 9 as he landed some very solid right hands early, though the most notable part of the round was the fact the Thai was deducted a point. The deduction, for holding, seemed to spur on Lee who finished strongly following a slow start to the round. It was a clear 9-9 round but one that seemed to suggest that Amnat was beginning to walk a tight rope with the referee who was unlikely to let him away with the holding that has become one of his trademarks in the ring.
Knowing that he still had half a chance to claim an unlikely win Lee put his foot on the gas and tried to break down the Thai. In round 10 the tactic failed to pay off with Amnat landing counters almost at will. Lee brought the pressure but seemed to fail in terms of connecting with the shots he needed to. Despite the action of the fight the round was really notable for a judo-style-throw from Amnat, a throw that went unpunished from the referee.
For the final two rounds Lee again continued to press the action, force the pace and really make Amnat uncomfortable. As a result the 11th round was a clear one for the challenger who made Amnat look like a tired fighter, unable to string any sort of offensive salvo and instead resort to holding, running and a simple and move. Sadly for Lee his tactic failed to get him success in the final round, as he was instead dropped, though he claimed it was a slip, securing Amnat a 10-8 round which could easily have decided the bout.
At the final bell Lee looked dejected, as if he knew he could have made the fight closer. Amnat however celebrated, as if the win was secure, easy and clear.
The judges sided with Amnat's view point, scoring it 118-108 and 117-109, twice. The scores weren't reflective of the fight, but they did get the right winner. One thing the fight did show however is that Ruenroeng doesn't like pressure, doesn't like someone in his face and doesn't like to have an opponent forcing the pace. He may have come out with the win here, but the bout seemed to show that Roman Gonzalez would have an easier time with him than some may have expected, in fact it's Gonzalez's style that would be the dominant one if the two men wee to meet in 2016, as has been mentioned in recent weeks.
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.