A huge Sunday of fights kicked off earlier today with an IBF Flyweight title fight, that saw Moruti Mthalane (36-2, 24) being crowned as the new champion as he narrowly out-pointed Muhammad Waseem (8-1, 6) in a pulsating and action packed bout.
The contest started well Mthalane who brought the pressure early on and forced Waseem to fight his fight, with the two men trading blows at close range. Waseem tried to keep up with the veteran but Mthalane was finding gaps and landing the cleaner shots through the first 3 rounds as he got off to a perfect start.
Knowing he was behind Waseem changed his game plan, moving more, finding angles and stopping Mthalane from dictating the tempo and distance of the contest. It lead to round 4 being very close before Waseem clearly took the following two rounds, showing his boxing skills as well as his ability to stand and fight. The change in tactics showed that Waseem could make life easy for himself, but by round 7 it seemed like Mthalane was getting a read on the movement of Mthalane and he was starting to counter more and cut the distance, as he had earlier in the bout.
Mthalane would continue to be consistent with his work, there wasn't anything different from him but we was landing consistently, finding a home for his left jab, his left hook and his right hand. Waseem, who seemed to land to the body much more than the South African, wasn't quite getting the snap on his shots to do damage the damage that he was wanting to do.
The two continued to trade a lot of leather through to the championship rounds before we saw Waseem land his best shot, dropping Mthalane in round 11 with a dynamite left hand that dropped the South African. Sadly for Waseem there wasn't enough time left to jump on Mthalane who beat the count.
Having dropped Mthalane in round 11 it seemed like Waseem was going to jump on the South African in the final round.. Instead it seemed that Mthalane was even to it in what was a sensational round of back and forth action, which saw both men looking hurt. Waseem had been hurt in the middle of the round, but came back strong and had a swollen Mthalane badly hurt at the very end of the fight.
Given the close and competitive nature of the fight a decision could have gone either way as we went to the cards. The scores of 114-113, twice, and 116-110 could, conceivably, had gone to either man but unfortunately for Waseem went to Mthalane, who is now a 2-time champion.
For Waseem there will be serious questions asked. Why did he pick up the pace so late? Why did he drop the angles that he used in the middle rounds? Why didn't he pick up the tempo a little earlier? Despite those questions he impressed, he went 12 rounds with one of the most under-rated fighters in the sport and ran Mthalane razor close. There is a real chance that, given a second world title fight, Waseem will come on top with the experience from this loss.
The “Superfly” shows are giving fighters from the lower weights a chance to shine on HBO and an international stage that typically they won't have been showcased on. One such fighter shining on “Superfly 2” was IBF Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23), who scored his first defense of the IBF Flyweight title whilst stopping Argentinian veteran Juan Carlos Reveco (39-4, 19), who was making his US debut.
The fight started very competitively, with both men seemingly mirroring each other at times. They looked amazingly well matched and every bit of success one man had seemed to be matched by the other only seconds later. It was high tempo, thoughtful yet brilliant boxing from the off by two high level and respectful practitioner's. Although competitive it seemed like Nietes was slightly sharper, finding the holes a tiny bit more successfully than his foe.
Through the first 4 rounds there was little really to separate them. Nietes probably impressed the judges slightly more, but there fight was so closely contested that from one angle there is a good chance that Reveco was leading.
Despite being a brilliantly fought boxing bout the crowd were growing restless, booing the action and showing a bit of disappointment. It was as if they were expecting a war but were getting a boxing contest.
The boos grew louder in round 5, though it seemed like Nietes was beginning to figure out his man, and in round 6 he began to really up the pace. It was a sign of how good Nietes is as he increased his out put and movement, and began punching between the shots of Reveco, rather than waiting to return fire. It was a wonderful change and gained almost immediate results as he cut the eye of Reveco and badly staggered him right on the bell. The shot, which seemed to land behind the ear, sent Reveco stumbling as he tried to find his corner and the doctor took a look at him. Had the same shot landed just 15 seconds earlier there is a good chance that Reveco would have been stopped before the round was over.
Knowing he had hurt his man in round 6 Nietes went hunting in round 7 and really took it to the Argentinian. Within seconds of the round starting he was caught by a right hand and dropped hard. He got up at 5 but failed to listen to the referee's instructions and the referee, after a few seconds, waved the bout off.
For 5 rounds this was ultra-close and a great example of high quality boxing. From round 6 however Nietes upped the pace and Reveco simply couldn't stay with him. It was a statement win, though said a lot about where both men are. Reveco was once a top fighter, but this is his 3rd loss in 7 fights, and his second stoppage loss in 5. He's not the fighter he once was. Although older Nietes is still the fresher man, having mostly avoided wars, and will likely have another few fights at the top. The Filipino is a technical boxing wizard at times, though at the age of 35, in fact he turns 36 in May, he is old for a Flyweight and may not have that much longer left at the top himself.
On a huge day for boxing fans around the globe it could be said that fans in the Philippines got the perfect start as they got two brilliant bouts on Pinoy Pride 42, the second of which saw a local hero retain a world title, despite suffering massive cuts over both eyes.
The champion was IBF Light Flyweight kingpin Milan Melindo (37-2, 13), who narrowly defeated South African challenger Hekkie Budler (31-3, 10) in a really dramatic, and engaging contest.
The fight started slow and the 4 rounds were tactically changed rounds with Melindo looking to unleash his counter punches and Budler waiting back, trying to figure out a point of attack. That saw the challenger look to jab, and look to unleash combinations on the inside, though he got punished for both. The one massive incident during those early rounds was a monstrous low blow from Melindo that sent Budler down in a heap.
In round 5 it seemed like Budler finally found something to go with as he upped the pace, and Melindo responded in kind in a round that suddenly saw the fight come alive. Through the round it seemed like Melindo was the bigger puncher, but Budler certainly seemed to land more and seemed to be the one forcing the action as it suddenly looked like we were on for a tear up.
Sadly the action completely died in round 6, arguably the worst round of the fight. Despite the action dying off the end of the round saw the drama begin as a huge headclash left Budler cut over the left eye, with the cut being a long, deep one. The cut could have stopped the fight, and in round 7, when the doctors inspected it, it did look like we were going to have an early conclusion.
Thankfully the doctor decided to let the fight go on and in round 7 Budler had a great round and it seemed things were turning his way, with the cut clearly bothering Melindo. To his credit Melindo fought back fantastically in rounds 8 and 9, as he escaped another inspection.
With the fight finely balanced Melindo suffered yet again, as the two traded blows and their heads connected again. This time it was Melindo's right eye that was left with a gash over it and a bad swelling that made it seem like he was essentially blind in the eye. The swellings drove on Budler in round 11 and although Melindo was clearly fighting with his sight impaired the Filipino had his moments, including a massive right hand late on. It wasn't enough to take Melindo the round but continued to prove he was the power puncher in there.
With the bout close, and with Melindo's face a swollen and cut mess, the final round was always going to play a major role and both fighters knew it. Budler came out hot, unfortunately was dropped in the first 30 seconds. He got back to his feet, complained about it being a trip and then they went to war, with Melindo seemingly hunting a stoppage then Budler turning the tables until they were just trading back and forth in a round that should in contention for round of the year.
When the knockdown occurred it did seem like it would play a massive role, and that proved to be the case when the cards were read, with scores of 115-113 to Budler being over-ruled by scores of 115-112 and 117-110 for Melindo.
With the win Melindo secures his first defense, but he will be out of the ring for quite some time due to the cuts he suffered, which were both nasty ones. Potentially he could be back in time for a mandatory in 2018, or perhaps see an interim champion crowned whilst he recovers.
Although the Light Flyweight lacks the respect it deserves this was the second world title fight the division has seen this week, and like the first it was a thrilling and dramatic defense, with the winner over-coming serious facial damage. Sadly though it could mean that two champions are out of action until 2018.
Boxing is a sport where technical issues rarely become a major problem, but today technical issues prevented Thairath from showing an IBF Flyweight title bout, with those issues meaning none of the bout was aired in the country, despite a notable amount of publicity and advertising done for the broadcast.
The bout in question saw under-rated Filipino star Donnie Nietes (40-1-4, 22) battle against the unheralded Thai Eaktawan BTU Ruaviking (22-4, 15) [ตะวัน BTU เรือไวกิ้ง]. On paper the bout looked like a simple one for Nietes, a former champion at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight, but the reality is that it was a real work out for the Filipino, who continues to chase his legacy.
During the early moments of the fight the bout was all the Filipino's with Nietes show casing a bit of everything, and using the Thai as a bit of a human punch bag at times. That sort of start was hugely impressive but something that Nietes couldn't do through the full fight, and in round 4 Eaktawan managed to get more success of his own, forcing a closer, tougher fight. That type of fight suited Eaktawan, but he was never able to put Nietes under the pressure that could have made the Filipino veteran unravel.
After a few rounds of more competitive and closer action Nietes started to showcase his abilities again, using his movement to land some meaty shots whilst making Eaktawan flail around, missing some shots wildly. The difference between the two was clear again and Nietes, despite having a bloodied nose, resumed total control to the final round, though did so with a lesser output than he had earlier in the bout.
At the final bell there was no arguments about the winner, with Nietes' being the much better fighter through much of the bout, and being a well deserved winner with scores of 117-11, twice, and 116-112. The score cards suggesting a clear, but tough, win for the Filipino, who becomes just the third Filipino to become a 3 weight champion. Despite the loss for Eaktawan he proved he had the drive, toughness and determination to be a handful and we wouldn't be shocked to see him fighting for a world title again in the future.
The amazing road journey of Johnriel Casimero (23-3, 15) continued earlier today as he made his European debut and stopped the gutsy but inexperienced Charlie Edwards (8-1, 3) in the 10th round to retain the IBF Flyweight title.
Early on Casimero took advantage of Edwards' inexperience and landed body shots whilst making Edwards' look impotent in reply. Despite being the taller man Edwards was unable to land a meaningful jab, control the range, tempo or pretty much anything. To Edwards' credit he refused to be over-whelmed but it was clear the two men were in totally different classes with Edwards looking like a British level guy facing a world class fighter.
In rounds 5 and 6 Casimero slowed down notably, it seemed like he was looking to detonate a bomb for an eye catching KO rather than really set up his shots. With the Filipino looking for a big shot he let Edwards into the fight slightly and their would be a case for Edwards to have deserved either of the rounds, but it seemed more like a case of Casimero being overly relaxed rather than Edwards coming on.
Knowing that he shouldn't look for a big shot to finish it there and then Casimero got back to what he had been doing, out landing Edwards ans showing the gulf in ability and experience. By the end of round 8 it was beginning to look like a beating for Edwards, who gritted his teeth through some heavy leather but did little to get the champion's respect and it began to look like a case of when, and not if, Casimero was going to stop the Englishman.
The stoppage finally came in round 10 after Casimero landed a monstrous left hand that dropped Edwards and a follow up forced the referee to save Edwards.
For the Englishman the beating became painful, and actually saw his promoter try and get him saved from punishment late in the fight. He may bounce back but he may also never become the fighter that some had hopes. For Casimero it's a well paid first defense and we suspect he'll be in the mix come the end of the year for a big fight in Japan, possibly against OPBF champion Daigo Higa, or possibly in Mexico against Juan Francisco Rodriguez. Although the best payday would likely be a bout with Zou Shiming it's fair to say that Bob Arum won't be in a rush to put the Chinese star in with Casimero.
For much of the last decade the “lower weights” have been the most exciting, most interesting and more varied divisions in the sport. That was again seen when we had a talented, but frustrating, spoiler up against a flawed but exciting puncher.
The bout in question was the second meeting between Amnat Ruenroeng (17-1, 5) [อำนาจ รื่นเริง] and Filipino Johnriel Casimero (22-3, 14), a rematch that came after last year's farcical and foul filled bout in Amnat's native Thailand.
The bout started much like their first. From the opening bell it seemed like Amnat was sharper, stronger, faster and and physically the better fighter. He seemed able to box when he wanted and wrestle when he wanted, almost trying to bully the Filipino mentally, and in fact seemed to stiffen the Filipino part way through the round. The second followed a similar pattern with the Filipino being made to look second best to the defending the champion.
In round 3 Amnat sent Casimero to the canvas, though rightfully it was ruled a push with Amnat scarcely hiding his dirty tactics and dark arts.
Surprisingly the bout flipped on it's head in round 4 when Casimero landed a sweet counter up top that sent Amnat down. The shot would have dropped anyone in the division and Amnart unsurprisingly dropped hard, though amazingly got back to his feet. Although he got up he never seemed to recover and Casimero went on the hunt, smelling blood. Several waves of the Casimero storm were thwarted, with Amnat blocking, holding and spoiling his way through some of the round but a left hand to the body put the Thai down for the count.
With the win Casimero becomes a 2-weight world champion, having previously been the IBF Light Flyweight champion, and leaves the Flyweight picture looking extremely exciting, with him, Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada and Kazuto Ioka all holding titles. As for Amnat this could be the end, unless he fancies a trilogy with Casimero, he's getting on in terms of age and after a stoppage loss like this he may find it very hard to get notable opponents to face him and his dark arts style.
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.
Last year we saw Osaka star Kazuto Ioka (18-1, 10) make a move to the talent laden Flyweight division. On his Flyweight debut it seemed as if the weight didn't suit him and he was beaten by tricky Thai Amnat Ruenroeng, who has since proven his quality with wins over Zou Shiming, McWilliams Arroyo and Johnriel Casimero. Following Ioka's Flyweight debut he began to grow into the division, but never looked quite the same fighter that he had been at both Minimumweight and Light Flyweight.
Yesterday Ioka made the first defense of the WBA title that he had narrowly won earlier this year, with a win over Juan Carlos Reveco. In his first defense he took on Reveco's countryman Roberto Domingo Sosa (26-3-1, 14), a man best known for his exploits at Super Flyweight, where he beat Zolani Tete.
On paper it was an interesting contest and a good test for Ioka as a first defense. It wasn't a big name challenger but a tough, strong and naturally bigger challenger.
Whilst Sosa appeared strong and powerful he seemed slow and that made life particularly easy for Ioka who boxed and moved beautifully from the first round to the last using his jab and straight right to pepper the challenger whilst later on the uppercuts were a key weapon for the champion.
Sosa, to his credit, never stopped trying to change the tide but lacked the finesse to do so and at the end it was little wonder that he was a wide loser on cards, with lopsided scores of 120-108, and 119-109, twice, all in favour of Ioka.
It now seems likely that Ioka will face a rematch with Juan Carlos Reveco on New Years Eve with that bout likely to be held in Osaka, the home of Ioka who is considered a major star in the area.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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.
In the past we've seen various countries become linked to poor decisions. Countries where a visiting world champion needs to score a knockout if they are to retain their world title. Countries that are next to impossible to take home the win unless you do something very special. They have notably included German, the UK, the US, Thailand and Argentina. We expected to see Macau added to that list at the start of today when Thailand's Amnat Ruenroeng (15-0, 5) traveled to the gambling hotspot of Asia to defend his IBF Flyweight title. Amnat was up against Chinese cash cow Zou Shiming (6-1, 1) a man ear marked for a world title by Top Rank and a man who was potentially the key to opening up the Chinese boxing market.
At the end of the day however we were pleasantly surprised by the judging. For once they got it right. The judges got the fight right and didn't care about who won or lost, just about doing their job and getting the right decision. A real novelty in boxing.
Before we go any further let's just begin with an admission. The fight wasn't great. In fact it was one of the worst world title fights we can remember seeing in recent years. It was however intriguing and telling with both men showing flaws in their game plans as well as their strengths.
The fight started slowly with both men trying to see what the other had. It was very technical but very dull and frustrating with neither man really wanting to let their hands go. Instead we got a round that saw a lot of posturing, a lot of posing and a lot of feinting. In terms of actual punches the most notable thing was the jab of Amnat which appeared to be the only punch with any real consistency. It was a less than thrilling round but was a clear round for the defending champion.
In the second round we saw one of the very few talking points as Shiming scored a controversial knockdown of the champion. It appeared that Amnat slipped but the referee seemed to suggest a punch had landed. It was a harsh call but one that secured Shiming his first round of the fight, a 10-8 round. Immediately after the knockdown Shiming looked confident but refused to gamble, almost as if he knew it wasn't a real knockdown.
In round 3 we did some fire works early on but they didn't last too long with Amnat wisely using his jab to keep Shiming at range and by the end of the round Shiming looked clueless. So clueless in fact that he began to walk over to Amnat's corner until the Thai pointed him in the right direction and laughed at his foe. In some ways this mistake from Shiming summed up the fight, he didn't seem to know quite where he was or what he was supposed to be doing. All too often he found himself on the outside tasting Amnat's jab or rushing in wildly and missing, being made to look awfully silly courtesy of Amnat's clever footwork and frustrating holding that blunted Shiming's few worth while attacks.
Through the middle rounds Shiming let things slip away. He tried to come forward and he tried to act as the counter puncher but neither tactic worked as Amnat continued to use his feet and jab to blunt any momentum Shiming managed to build up. It was negative from Amnat but effectively and helped make Shiming look genuinely inept as the Chinese fighter plodded forward, refused to let his hands go and got picked off, time and time again.
Shiming's few rounds of success in the middle came in rounds 7 and 9 but even those were rounds that could easily have gone Amnat's way. Shiming was simply unable to get going, and when he did he was tagged as Amnat began to mix up both his jab and right hand. The straight right of the champion regularly sliced through the guard of Shiming whilst the short uppercuts from the champion were a thing of beauty when Shiming didn't seem to expect them.
By the start of round 10 Freddie Roach had sensed his man, the challenger, was behind. He urged Shiming to pick it up. It was clear that Roach thought his man was behind and needed to pick it up. Unfortunately for Amnat the best he could do was look silly as he chased shadows, looked amateur like and lost. It was again a case of Shiming simply not being good enough. As hard as the challenger tried he simply couldn't have any sustained success, the best he had was an occasional connect which always seemed to be answered seconds late. Even worse for Shiming was the penultimate round which saw Amnat picking up the pace and showing how world class ability as he landed a number of hard right hands. It was a round that showed how good Amnat really is, but was merely a glimpse of his overall ability.
In the final round it seemed Amnat was confident he had done enough and he did next to nothing for the entire round which he spoiled and gave away. Shiming didn't so much win it as being given it. It was however a consolation round for the challenger who had simply not done enough to win.
There was a few moments of worry after the final bell. Could the judges be set to steal the title from the champion? Could Shiming have been set for a belated Christmas present? Thankfully the answer came quickly and was a resounding no as all 3 judges scored the bout 116-111 to Amnat proving that sometimes they do all get it right.
From what we understand Amnat's next defense will come against the fan friendly Johnriel Casimero of the Philippines. That should be a much better bout than this one, which was a stinker, though there is talk of Amnat delaying that to face a voluntary challenger next time out instead. As for Shiming it's a giant question about where he goes next. He could look at claiming an OPBF title or another fringe title but on the back of this fight he really needs to buckle down and change how he fights.
For us the loss for Shiming is a double edged sword. It's fantastic that Amnat's run continues. He's a great story and the type of person who deserves success. He's gone about things the hard way and defended his title in both Japan, against Kazuto Ioka last year, and now Macau. Sadly however the loss for Shiming will see US TV again ignoring the Flyweight division and probably also a lot of Asia. Shiming was a reason for HBO to be interested in both the Flyweights and Macau, and we may end up losing the opportunity to see regular bouts involving the likes of Rex Tso, who won a FOTY contender on the undercard, and IK Yang, who looked sensational on the same under-card. Hopefully the loss for Shiming won't be the end of Macau boxing for Top Rank though there is a good chance that it will be scaled back. Sadly.
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.