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 in Thailand TL Promotions put on their latest show, headlined by a WBA Asia South Featherweight title bout between Arnon Yupang (5-1, 2) and the debuting Nonthasith Petchnamthong (1-0).
Entering the bout Arnon was looking for his first defense, and on paper he had to be favoured. He had fought 5 times as a professional before this, he had rounds under his belt and was a something of a proven quality. At least on paper.
The reality however is that Arnon's experience as a professional was still pretty limited. He had debuted in November 2019 and his first 4 bouts came in less than 8 weeks, with 3 of those being 3 rounders. His only win of any note at all had come against Kwanthai Sithmoreseng, who was shot, old, fighting well outside his best weight and was never great even in his pomp. It was a good win on paper, but only on paper.
From the early going Nonthasith didn't look like a debutant going in against an unbeaten an unbeaten and fast rising hopeful. Instead both of them looked relatively inexperienced. That however didn't prevent this from being a good bout, with both men showing off some good skills despite some obvious areas to work on.
Nonthasith took center ring early and although he struggled timing Arnon in the first round he was smartly to counter the more experienced man, looking to land big counters as Arnon let his shots go. As the action went on we saw Arnon begin to pick his shots better though when he made a mistake Nonthasith made him pay with some clean sharp counters, that genuinely caught the eye.
By round 4 we were seeing Nonthasith coming forward more, forcing things himself and making Arnon doubt himself. The champion was still there, and never looked hurt, but he now looked apprehensive of getting into a fight with the challenger and was becoming more conservative with his output.
To his credit Arnon never gave up, though it was clear that Nonthasith was trying to lay traps, fighting with his hands down, and was landing the better shots. Arnon always gave an effort and tried to respond when he was caught, but he was, typically, coming off second best.
Feeling his title was slipping away Arnon finished very strongly, trying to turn it all around in round 10. That was one of his best rounds, but it was too little too late Nonthasith had his armed raised after the scorecards were read out.
We'll admit that despite the inexperience in professional boxing for both fighters, they were both really solid, and hopefully we see more of both fighters. Nonthasith looked like a very well schooled fighter, though that should be no surprise given his background in Muay Thai, and Arnon has got plenty to like and shouldn't be written off after this loss.
Yesterday TL Boxing Promotions, the company who put on "The Fighter" series, announced their next show would take place on August 29th at Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok.
Whilst they didn't announce all the bouts on that show they did announce the main event, which will be a WBA Asia South Featherweight title bout.
That title bout will see unbeaten champion Arnon Yupang (5-0, 2) make his first defense as he takes on the debuting Nonthasith Petchnamthong (0-0), who Muay Thai fans may know as Prachanchay PK Saenchaimuaythai.
The 23 year old Arnon won the title in July, when he beat Inthanon Sithchamuang, and despite being a regional title holder already he has only been a professional since late last year, making his debut in November. He began his career with 4 wins in the space of around 7 weeks in "The Fighter" before his career best win against Inthanon.
Sadly we really don't know much about his opponent, though we have been informed he is an experienced Muay Thai fighter, and is actually close friends with Arnon. Whether that means the two will be nice or look to show who is the better fighter is unclear.
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