In Bangkok earlier today TL Boxing Promotions, who ran the excellent "The Fighter" series last year kicked off their new deal with Thairath, and unfortunately it was a show they'd rather forget, despite their being two solid WBA Asia title bouts on the card.
One of the bouts, at 115lbs, saw a man who had actually won during last year's "The Fighter" tournament Tanes Ongjunta (4-1, 2) face his first international opponent as he battled Filipino Adrian Lerasan (9-4, 2). On paper this looked like a good step up for the unbeaten Thai who was going up against a Filipino who lacked power and and had lost 4 of his previous 6.
Despite Lerasan looking like a safe opponent on paper he proved to be the opposite in the ring, taking the shots of Ongjunta without problems and coming back with some solid shots of his own. The Filipino began to grow round by round and chipped away at Ongjunta with good solid shots, particularly to the body. After 6 rounds it was becoming clear that Ongjunta was slowing, his output dropping and his defenses starting to show holes.
In round 7 the Thai was drown for the first time in the fight. The Thai recovered to his feet, and managed to see out the round but was looking like a man fighting on fumes. The best he had in his arsenal was tired looking arm punches, thrown in singles.
In round 8 Lerasan managed to drop his man again. Once again Ongjunta got to his feet but was down again, and then again with the referee then waving off the bout to give Lerasan the biggest win of his career.
The other bout saw former world title challenger Dennapa Kiatniwat (21-3, 16) [เด่นนภา ตราใบห่อ], aka Sarawut Thawornkham and now fighting as Dennapa Trabaihor, battle against Filipino foe Jeny Boy Boca (14-6, 12). Coming in Boca had scored just a single win in his previous 4 bouts, dating back more than 3 years and was expected to offer a test, but nothing too tough for the local.
Surprisingly it was Boca who was pressing from the off, and the local fighter tried to avoid a fight with Boca, who looked like he was putting everything into some of his shots. Boca's aggression really had some notable moments, with the Filipino hammering the body of Dennapa in round 2 with the Thai being pinned on the ropes.
The Filipino was backed up himself in round 4 but nothing Dennapa could do seemed to hurt Boca who turned the tables back in his favour mid way through the round and landed a great left to the body then a right up top to drop Dennapa. The Thai recovered to his feet but a follow up attacked saw Dennapa needing to be saved by the referee just moments later.
Whilst TL Boxing Promotions do have a 10 month deal with Thairath, and this show doesn't really disk that deal, it's certainly not the start either part would have wanted. Losses for two of the most notable members of the stable will be hard to bounce back from, but certainly not impossible.
Unbeaten Filipino prospect Dave Apolinario (11-0, 6) had arguably his toughest test to date earlier today as he took on domestic foe Adrian Lerasan (7-4, 1), and was given a really good work out by the unheralded Lerasan.
On paper this looked like a mismatch, the fast rising and unbeaten prospects, who had been tipped for big things from his debut, against an opponent with 3 losses in his previous 4 bouts, , but instead Lerasan put in a fantastic effort, pressuring Apolinario through long stretches of the fight and not reacting to the heavy clean shots of the unbeaten man.
Lerasan's offensive work posed little danger to Apolinario, but that didn't stop him from letting his shots go and he had plenty of success with his shots, especially as the bout went on and he grew in confidence. That's not to say he didn't take a fair bit from Apolinario, including a huge right hand and a brutal looking jab in round 7, but he was putting up a real fight and getting in Apolinario's face.
Despite Lerasan's effort it did always seem like he was coming off second best. Apolinario might not have been able to discourage his foe, but he was out boxing, out landing and out classing him, winning the rounds, but having to work for every single one of them. The shots of Apolinario did eventually seem to slow Lerasan down late on, but even in round 10 he managed to back up Apolinario.
Impressively both men went 10 rounds for the first time in their career, something that will certainly help both fighters in the long run, but there was no doubting the winner. After the 10th round we went to the scorecards with Apolinario winning the bout 98-92 and 99-91, twice, for a well earned win in a very, very good test. Both men came out with enhanced reputations here, and Lerasan looks a lot better than a man who is now 1-4 in his last 5.
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