This week is set to be an interesting one for fight fans, with some huge fights set to take place, and it's going to be very easy to over-look some hidden gems. One of the potential hidden gems is a bout from Thailand which could end up being a thrilling action bout, and a great chance to see one of Thailand's top prospects in action. The bout is one which will take place on Saturday in Thailand, but will be shown in the US on Friday night, and promises to be a fantastic way to start a busy boxing weekend!
The One to Watch?
Chainoi Worawut (13-0-1, 12) Vs Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-9, 36)
March 13th (Saturday) [March 12th - Friday, in the US)
This bout ticks two boxes for fights that we like. One of those is that the bout features a really talented young prospect, in fact it features a prospect that many in Thailand regard as one of the nations most promising hopefuls and a future face for the nation’s boxing scene. Secondly it’s a match up that promises a lot of fireworks, with an exciting but flawed power puncher taking on an always fun to watch pressure fighter who smiles when he gets hit and refuses to take a backwards step. This should be a very, very tough test for the prospect, and should be a barn burner.
Unbeaten 23 year old puncher Chainoi Worawut, also known as Thattana Luangphon and "Rock Man", is a highly touted Thai Super Bantamweight hopeful who is quickly becoming one of the leading faced of NKL promotions, the same promotional stable that have helped make Srisaket Sor Rungvisai a 2-time world champion. The youngster was a stand out amateur Muay Thai fighter who turned professional as a boxer a few years ago and has been regarded as a potential star for boxing in Thailand ever since.
So far into his career Chainoi has looked exciting, aggressive, powerful and like the sort of fighter who can connect with a wider audience. He has however been pretty matched pretty softly so far, often against under-sized opponents or opponents who posed little threat. One of the few men who did ask questions of him was Daichi Matsuura, who lasted 12 rounds with him, and another was Rakniran Muadransarakam, who held him to a draw very early in his career. On paper this is a massive step up for him, and a chance for him to make a name for himself internationally, with this bout being shown live on DAZN.
The 31 year old Pungluan Sor Singyu is a fighter who has been a professional since he was 15 and has had a very long and interesting career. He won his first 23 bouts before a decision loss in Belgium against Stephane Jamoye, aged 19. He then rebuilt with 20 wins, including one against AJ Banal to become the WBO Bantamweight champion. Sadly however he lost in his first defense, losing a razor thin decision to Paulus Ambunda. He rebuilt once again, before losing in 2014 to Tomoki Kameda, in his US debut, before finally recapturing the WBO title with a 2nd round KO win over Ryo Akaho. He managed a single defense before losing the belt to Marlon Tapales and retiring. It was, however, a short lived retirement and he has been active since 2018, though has picked up losses since his return going 2-5 in his 7 bouts since returning to the ring.
Although Pungluang has been picking up losses since his ring return he has been a really fun fighter to watch. Win or lose he has been in the ring looking for a fight, bringing tense pressure for every minute of every round, and forcing everyone and anyone to fight at a high pace. That actually saw him dragging a really fun to watch fight out of the awkward and frustrating Amnat Ruenroeng last year, in what was a surprisingly entertaining gem. He presses forward, he walks into a fight, and when tagged he smiles before coming again. He is making for fun fights, no matter who he is in the ring with.
What to expect?
We know, going into this, that Chainoi will be wanting to put in a performance that will catch the eye of international fans. He won’t be wanting to box and move and pick up a rather dreary decision by just moving and neutralising the pressure of Pungluang. Instead he will be wanting to put his foot down, fight fire with fire and make for a fun, exciting clash. That is something that will suit Pungluang, who will trudge forward, walk into distance, take a pounding and smile, before resetting and coming again.
We expect this to be really action packed, fought at a thrilling pace and be a very action heavy fight. The quality, at times, might dip a little bit, but the intense, back and forth, action will be highly entertaining throughout the contest. In the end however the natural size and youth of Chainoi should be too much and should take him to a clear, if hard fought, decision win.
The bad news?
There isn’t really any negative going into this fight. It’s at a suitable time for a US audience, as well as a Thai and European one. It’s set to be a fun, exciting fight and it’s being shown internationally. If any complaints are to be had it’s potentially the fact the fight will be overshadowed by the main event, which will feature Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, however that really is the only negative, and if anything Srisaket’s bout will actually help this one get more eyeballs on it!
For this week's one to watch we're going to go over and focus on Thailand for a compelling match up that, in all honest, we didn't think we wanted, until we saw the two men in the ring essentially announcing the bout live on Work Point TV. From the moment they did that we have been massively excited about the contest and the compelling mash of styles.
The One to Watch?
Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-8, 36) Vs Amnat Ruenroeng (20-4, 6)
November 7th (Saturday)
It's rare, at least in Thailand, to get two pretty well known domestic fighters in the ring against each other. Typically Thai shows are "big name against unknown" or "rising prospect against faded fighter" here however we have two past their best former world champions facing off in what looks like a match watering, well matched and truly intriguing match up. This isn't one we expect will be a war, but we are anticipating a very, very interesting contest.
Of the two men we would assume that the 40 year old Amnat Ruenroeng is the more well known fighter. The former IBF Flyweight champion is a truly compelling character who was once in prison due to drug offenses, before turning his life around, having success in amateurs and then in the professional ranks. At the age of 34 he won the IBF Flyweight title and defended it against some top fighters, such as Kazuto Ioka, McWilliams Arroyo, Zou Shiming and John Riel Casimer, before losing the belt in 2016. It was assumed that would be the end of him, but he later went to the Olympics, fought Tenshin Nasukawa in kick boxing, and has a boxing resurgence in 2019.
Now aged 40 it's fair to ask what Amnat has in the tank, though he showed he was very much a tricky master last time out, giving Srisaket Sor Rungvisai a real test in August and the awkward, frustrating Thai is certainly not shot, but is shop worn.
Despite being less well known Pungluang Sor Singyu is a 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion who has been a professional since 2001, and is still only 31. Some how. He first won the WBO Bantamweight title in 2012, beating the popular AJ Banal, but lost the belt just 5 months later, to Paulus Ambunda. He worked his way into a second world title shot, and was giving Tomoki Kameda fights before being taken out by the brilliant Japanese fighter. when Kameda vacated the title Pungluang had his second reign, beating Ryo Akaho before losing the bout in a great bout against Marlon Tapales.
In recent years Pungluang has toiled a little bit, going 2-4 following the loss to Tapales, but scored a notable upset earlier this year, against Campee Phayom, and that has opened the door for a fight like this, for him.
What to expect?
One thing we expect with Amnat bouts is that they can get ugly, and Pungluang isn't against making fights ugly himself, when he needs to. So there is a risk that this could end up being a mess. Thankfully however we expect that risk will be somewhat low, with the weight, Featherweight, being one that would favour Pungluang in an up close wrestling match.
Instead we expect to see Amnat trying to play the role of move-boxer, getting on the outside, jabbing, slipping, tiping Punluang. The younger man will be coming forward, looking to throw his own heavy, straight shots, trying to get inside and work away with hooks. Interestingly Amnat is probably the naturally longer, taller man, and he'll try to use that to his advantage early on. As the bout goes on however we expect his legs to slow, and for Pungluang to try and ground down the veteran.
In regards to outcome this is a very, very hard one toi predict, and we wouldn't be surprised by a close decision either way.
The bad news?
For once there isn't really any bad news. The bout is an interesting one, it'll be available for free on WP Boxing's YouTube and Facebook pages and, better yet, it won't clash with Dynamic Glove, as the Japanese show will be shown on Tape Delay and not live!
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.