In the opening round there were several headclashes, they weren't major ones but they foretold the story that was to come through the following rounds. Unfortunately they were a by product of both men wanting to fight on the inside and both looking to land big shots whilst there. Although both were wanting to fight a similar fight the actual style suited the stronger and more powerful Pungluang, who was getting the better of the action. Pabustan seemed the better outside fighter but all too often gave away his reach to fight up close.
The inside action continued through the fight with round 2 seeing more headclashes, this time they did result in damage with Pabustan being cut from a clash and being bullied when the fight was being fought up close. The cut was inspected in the early stages of round 3 but the doctor ruled that the challenger was fine to continue. Although ruled fine Pabustan did seem to be uncomfortable and did begin to hold and make the action more desperate as Pungluang found a home for some massive right hands as Pabustan stood in the pocket too long.
Pabustan's discomfort was made even worse in round 4 as Pungluang turned up the heat and gave him a bit of a pounding with shots that landing with a sickening thud. Pabustan was beginning to look tired and defeated whilst Pungluang was looking like a man enjoying himself as he seemed to begin breaking down his over-matched challenger.
Amazingly Pabustan had his best round of the fight in round 5, as he mixed up the distance more, used his speed and reach and seemed to make a solid claim to win the round. He did put a lot of effort in to the round but seemed like a worth while tactic given that he needed some momentum after a very painful round 4.
The headclashes returned in style at the beginning of round 6 and saw Pungluang actually back up in agony. The headclash gave the two a few seconds before the action resumed and a seemingly angry Pungluang went after Pabustan with a renewed tenacity landing a number of hurtful right hands as he looked to punish the Filipino. The round was a clear Pungluang round and saw the Thai's smile return.
Sadly the headclashes simply seemed to never end and early in round 7 the doctor too Pabustan to the doctor again, this time to look at a cut around the side of his head. The doctor against allowed the fight to go on, but that did little to help Pabustan who was again on the end of some nasty right hands from the Thai who had got the venue rocking with the crowd well behind him. It seemed as if Pungluang was really breaking up the Filipino and on his way to a stoppage, however a headclash on the bell left Pabustan looking a bloodied mess.
Between rounds 7 and 8 the doctor took another look at Pabustan and called a halt, taking the bout to the scorecards which all favoured the champion by a score of 70-63.
For Pabustan a technical decision shouldn't be anything new, it's his 12th overall and his 4th in the last 7 bouts. His wild style leads to headclashes and has marred up more than just a couple of fights. For Pungluang this win sets up a mandatory title bout with another Filipino challenger, Marlon Tapales. That bout will take place later this and should be a much cleaner bout than this one, however, like Pabustan, Tapales is a southpaw.
(Image courtesy of thairec.com)