Earlier today in Thailand we saw the first Thai of 2021 thanks to TL Promotions and their "The Fighter" series of shows. The card wasn't a massive one, but was an interesting one with a major, albeit very faded, name in the main event taking on a man some see as part of the future of the Thai boxing scene.
That main event saw former IBF Flyweight king Amnat Ruenroeng (21-5, 6), best known for his wins against the likes of Zou Shiming, Kazuto Ioka and Johnriel Casimero, battling against the promising Arnon Yupang (7-1, 3). Up for grabs, for the winner, was the vacant WBA Asia South Featherweight title.
From the off it was clear this wasn't going to be the most entertaining bout we'd ever see. It was cagey from the off with neither man in a rush to take risks. The caginess was likely to suit Amnat, who has made a career out of being cagey, and dirty, but it was actually Yupang who made the most of things. He was the quicker man, the younger man, and the sharper man. That speed and youth allowed him to land single shots and get away before Amnat caught him with anything too serious.
To his credit Amnat looked the stronger man, the powerful man and the bigger man. He also looked the more willing to press and pressure, but at 41 years old his tired body couldn't keep up the intensity for long and when the two men did let their hands go for something resembling an exchange it was Yupang who was out landing his man in terms of volume.
Through the first 6 rounds neither man was hurt, though at the very start of round 7 a huge counter left hook from Yupang dropped the former champion. Sadly due to Thairath showing replays from the previous round the knockdown wasn't shown live, and it wasn't until the end of the round that we got to fully understand why Amnat was on the canvas. To his credit, once again, Amnat didn't seem too badly hurt and got to his feet before taking the fight to Yupang, but it was clearly a 10-8 round for the younger man.
Yupang continued to use his speed in the final rounds, not letting Amnat lure him into anything stupid.
After 10 rounds we went to the scorecards, and whilst we didn't get the scoring specifics, Yupang was announced the winner, and the new champion.
Interestingly Yupang is now a 2-time WBA Asia South Featherweight champion, first winning the title in July 2020 when he beat Inthanon Sithchamuang, but lost just weeks after winning it. This time around he'll be hoping for a much longer reign.
Despite the loss Amnat showed that he can continue to be matched at this level, even at 41, and we're really hoping he doesn't call it a day. Instead we're hoping that he takes on more aggressive fighters, which allows him to use some of tricks, rather than younger, faster, speedy boxers like Yupang.
Over the past day or two TL Promotions, who put on televised shows on Thairath, have announced that their planned January 30th show has been "postponed", due to Covid19, and as a result their first show of the year will now take place in February 27th.
Originally the January 30th card was supposed to feature former IBF Flyweight king Amnat Ruenroeng (21-4, 6) battling against Arnon Yupang (6-1, 3) for the WBA Asia South Featherweight title and Nonthasith Petchnamthong (2-0) battling Suradech Ruhasiri (6-3, 5) in a bout for the WBA Asia South Bantamweight title.
Right now it's unclear if either of those bouts will be re-arranged for the new date, or whether TL Promotions have dumped that bout all together to focus on other contests going forward. With that in mind we'd expect more details of what we'll be getting on the February card later this month, or very early next month.
Although a relatively unknown promoter in the west TL Promotions have made waves with their excellent "The Fighter" series, and they have done a fantastic job in bringing through some very exciting Thai talent, such as Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (10-0, 5). Thy have also consistently put shows worth watching, such as their March 2020 card which had 2 barn burners on it, both resulting in upsets. Fingers crossed when they get up and running for 2021 we end up with more exciting bouts and enthralling events from one of the more under-rated promoters in Asia.
Over the past day or so news in Thailand has broken about the next TL Promotions show.
The show, which will be aired on Thairath, will take place on January 30th and will feature a former world champion in the main event, and a very noteworthy prospect competing on the co-feature.
The former world champion in question is former IBF Flyweight king Amnat Ruenroeng (21-4, 6), who will find himself battling against Arnon Yupang (6-1, 3) for the WBA Asia South Featherweight title.
Despite being 41 years old Amnat has had a career revival in recent years with wins against Karoon Jarupianlerd, aka Petchbarngborn Kokietgym, Brian Lobetania and Pungluang Sor Singyu, as well as an excellent performance against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. That performance against Srisaket saw many suggesting that the former WBC Super Flyweight champion is on the slide, though it perhaps under-played just how crafty and ring smart Amnat is.
At 23 years old Yupang is the much younger man, but also the man who can ill afford another loss following a defeat earlier this year against a then debuting Nonthasith Petchnamthong. He certainly has youth on his side, but Amnat is proving, even at an advanced age, that he is no push over.
Talking about Nonthasith Petchnamthong (2-0) he will also be on the show as he takes on Suradech Ruhasiri (6-3, 5) in a bout for the WBA Asia South Bantamweight title.
For Nonthasith this will be his first defense of the Bantamweight title and see him looking to build on an October win over former world champion Kompayak Porpramook. As for Suradech, the 28 year old is looking to bounce back from 3 straight losses.
Earlier today we got the latest show from the WP Boxing series, run by Nakorluang and shown on Work Point. The card was one of the most interesting in the series with several notable names, a brilliant main event a really fun overall show.
The event kicked off with fast rising Thai youngster Thananchai Charunphak (11-1, 9), who took his latest win, and defended his regional WBC title, with a 4th round KO win against veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (61-14-2, 25), aka Wicha Phulaikhao.
The 39 year old Pigmy looked old and under-sized at the weigh in and those issues seemed clear when the men got in the ring today. To his credit he tried, he came forward and he attempted to make a fight of things, but he was totally out classed from the off by the taller, longer, younger, faster, and sharper Thananchai. The younger man was in control through out, and turned up the heat in round 4, dropping Pigmy twice, with the veteran being counted out in agony after the second knockdown, from a brutal body shot.
The second bout, as we often see with WP Boxing shows, was the main event and saw former world champions face off.
This main event saw IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (21-4, 6) battle former 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-9, 36), in what looked like a really interesting match up. This was originally announced as being a regional title bout at 126lbs, but Amnat reportedly suffered an injury and requested the bout took place at 131lbs, which Pungluang agreed to.
Despite the change in weight the bout delivered. Big time. From the off we had intense action, with Pungluang pressing forward and trying to break down Amnat, who was landing some brilliant counters, slipping shots and showing his incredible skill level. Following a brilliant opening round we saw the action get better and better and rounds 2 through 5 were brilliant. Amnat's ability to soak up the pressure, counter, and use his skills were eye catching, but so too was Pungluang, his pressure, tenacity and toughness. This made it a thrilling contest. It also had some dirty stuff thrown in for extra drama, with Pungluang illegally sending Amnat down in round 5.
Amnat seemed to struggle in rounds 6 and 7, it seemed like his old legs, the body shots of Pungluang and Pungluang's natural strength were breaking him down. It seemed like Amnat would struggle to make it over the finishing line, and then he found his second wind and boxed amazingly, like a man half his age, to secure the final round.
Having gone the distance we then went to the score cards, which favoured Amnat, reportedly with scores of 78-74, and 77-75, twice.
We'll be honest that was one of the best bouts we've seen in Thailand this year, and we would love to see it re-run, over 10 rounds, at 126lbs with a regional title on the line. For those who missed it, it is well worth watching,
In a stay busy bout we also saw Nawaphon Por Chokchai (50-1-1, 40), aka Nawaphon Nakorluang and Nawaphon Kaikanha, pick up his 50th victory as he scored an easy stay busy stoppage win over Yutthichai Wannawong (10-11, 7).
On Saturday we'll get the latest episode of WP Boxing live on Work Point TV from Bang Phun. The real talking point of the card will see former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (20-4, 6) battle with former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-8, 36).
Originally this was supposed to be a WBC regional title fight at 126lbs, however things got changed very late on, in fact on the week of the fight.
Now the bout won't be a title bout, and will instead be an 8 round contest, at a contracted 131lbs, with no title on the line.
Today the two men took part in their official weigh in and both men came in at 131lbs dead on, making the new weight for the bout, which was no real surprise given that both men are from way down the weights.
Reportedly the weight and length of the bout were changed due to Amnat suffering an injury to his a few days ago. As a result it appears this could be one of two bouts between the two men. Amnat has offered a second bout with Pungluang for the future, regardless of tomorrow's result, and there is talk about a 1 million Baht side bet on that rematch, if it gets made.
(Image courtesy of WP Boxing)
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