Today, just a few days later, we had a war as Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-4, 35) [ผึ้งหลวง ส.สิงห์อยู่] battled under-rated Filipino Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12), in what was a thrilling WBO Bantamweight title fight. The Thai champion was looking to make the second defense of his title, whilst the unheralded Filipino was looking to make the most of his opportunity.
The fight started relatively evenly, and through 4 rounds there was little to separate the fighters. A judge could have had it 40-36 one way, or the other and no complaints would have been had. The two men each had their moments, and each could have impressed the judges with their particular style. For Pungluang it was as the pressure fighter attacking the body whilst Tapales was showing the better pure boxing and seemed to be landing the flashier head shots.
In round 5 the bout took a major shift with Pungluang having a break through with his body attack, sending Tapales down twice, with Tapales taking much of the count to get up. It was guts and bravery in the extreme from the Filipino who ended the round being beaten up and was very lucky the referee didn't wave the bout off. He looked spent and with another referee that would have been it.
Amazingly Tapales came out for round 6 and ended up turning the bout around in his favour hurting the Thai with a left hand before dropping him with a right hook. Although Pungluang got up from the shot he seemed to be in survivor mode and didn't seem to recover as the bell went.
Notably Pungluang didn't ever seem to fully recover, either physically or mentally, and his pressure style, with the body shots,never returned after the knockdown with the Thai preferring to try and counter punch the Filipino who was growing in confidence after the knockdown. Round 7, 8 and 9, seemed to see a hungry looking Tapales back up Pungluang, who only had select moments of success whilst the Filipino had more sustained and more notable work. It was a strange twist but it seemed like the effort to finish Tapales off at the end of round 5, and the subsequent knockdown in round 6, had left Pungluang short on confidence,
In round 10 we saw more of the same, but by now the work of Tapales was taking a growing physical effect on the Thai who seemed to try everything he could to get the juices going again. Everything he tried however failed and although he had a little bit of success in the round it seemed that his time as champion was whittling away
With in seconds of the 11th round starting Tapales had his next break through, dropping Pungluang, who failed to beat the count. The crowd silent, whilst the realisation that Tapales had become the new champion saw the Filipino and his team celebrate.
For Pungluang this loss was a painful one. He had come incredibly close to winning in round 5, he could likely taste his celebration meal, but to see Tapales pull through the torrid round seemed to mentally break the Thai who never looked the same fighter. For Tapales the heart he showed and the aggression, as well as the way he had coped with being messed around in Thailand was incredible and his will to win will make him an incredibly hard fighter to dethrone.