This past Saturday in Bang Phun we saw two former world champions clash in what turned out to be one of the most entertaining bouts of the entire weekend. The bout saw former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (21-4, 6) clash with former 2-time WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-9, 36) in what was a battle of veterans. Despite coming in at a combined age of 71, the two gave us more action than men significantly younger. Not only that but they also had styles that gelled, making for a genuinely fun to watch back and forth, with both men having moments in a bout that swung back and forth.
Although we suspect most would have over-looked this bout, and not cared much for it going in, especially given the fact Amnat was the wrong side of 40, it was worth caring about, watching and rewatching. Something we did earlier today to help with our five take aways from the bout.
1-Styles are important in match making
One of our biggest gripes from this weekend has been matchmaking, which was a particularly big complaint about the contests in the US, with the Devin Haney Vs Yuriorkis Gamboa bout being a particularly dull match up where styles didn't gel. Here we saw the styles of the two men click instantly, and it was a fans dream. The men were relatively even in ability, but their styles were totally different. Pungluang was the aggressor, the man pressing the action, coming forward and looking to make a fight whilst Amnat was the counter puncher, using slick tricks, timing and movement to make Pungluang pay. The game plan from both was clear. For Pungluang it was to grind down his foe, and take him deep, tire him out and go for a big finish. For Amnat it was to be calm, land the eye catching blows and run up the early lead, then soak up the heat late on if he needed to. The matchmaker fucking nailed it here and so much credit goes to them for getting it right. Matchmaking isn't easy, but the folk behind this bout deserve a round of applause.
2-Amnat might be dirty, but he doesn't like it back
We've known for years that Amnat is a sneaky, crafty, intelligent fighter who bends the rules as far as he can without getting points taken. In many ways he's like Bernard Hopkins, knowing that there's a lot of leeway within the rules to, be a dirty sneaky SOB. One thing that was really interesting here was how disgusted he looked when Pungluang used some dirty tactics himself. Amnat didn't like it at all. There's no real take away here, other than that we found it humorous when Pungluang gave him a taste of the medicine he had dished out several times during his career. If he fights again we do wonder whether an opponent will perhaps go dirty against him.
3-Despite being 40 Amnat can still go!
Now we need to pre-face this and state we don't think Amnat should be getting a world title fight any time soon, but even at the age of 40 he can still go. His performance against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai earlier this year may well have said more about Amnat than it did about Srisaket. The sneaky veteran is still sneaky, quick, sharp, knows hoe to move around the ring, can look after himself defensively and has brilliant timing. There's not much on his shots, but he is still a fantastic boxer and a handful for many out there. At least over the shorter distances. We suspect he'll struggle more in 10 and 12 round bouts, but over 6 and 8 rounds he's a banana skin for good to very good fighters. His performance against Srisaket, and now Pungluang, shows just how good of a boxer he is, and in some ways it's a shame he developed a reputation for bending and breaking rules, when, on the back of recent performances, he really didn't need to.
4-Pungluang Sor Singyu is our type of fighter
We'll admit we prefer aggressive fighters to defensive ones. It's our natural preference and something that isn't likely to change. With that in mind we need to admit that we bloody love watching Pungluang Sor Singyu. Win or lose he comes to fight. He puts his on the wall and fights. He might not be the best, the most skilled, the hardest hitting, the quickest or the smartest, but he's the sort of fighter we can watch and enjoy any day of the week. Not only that but he also seems to genuinely enjoy being in the ring. We see him smiling, and smirking through a fight, and whether he's on top or not he's the sort of man we love to watch. The sport needs more Pungluang Sor Singyu's. The sport would be so much better with more Punglung Sor Singyu's!
5-Amnat sure didn't look like he had an injury!
Going into this bout it was originally advertised as being for a WBC regional Featherweight title until the week of the fight, where the WBC title was removed from the contest and instead we ended up with the bout being fought at 131lbs. The reason reported was that Amnat had injured his wrist and requested the heavier weight as a result. Whilst he was clearly some extra weight around his waist it didn't seem like he was carrying any sort of injury into this at all and he let shots fly with both hands. Maybe he was playing a dirty game in the long run with the feigned injury. Regardless there is talk about a rematch in the future at 126lbs, and you know what, after this bout we'd bloody love it! Injury or not he looked great, Pungluang looked great, they made for a fantastic fight, and it was so nice we want to see it twice...well we already have but you get the point!
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).