When we talk about big upsets one of our absolute favourites came in early 2014 when our attention was focused on Monaco, for a Gennady Golovkin lead show in Monte Carlo. It wasn't Golovkin in the upset, but in many ways the upset is much more memorable than the bout that did feature the Kazakh star the show.
Rey Loreto (17-13, 9) Vs Nkosinathi Joyi (24-2-0-1, 17) I
In one corner was little known Filipino Rey Loreto, who was a complete unknown outside of the Philippines. With losses in 13 of his 30 bouts he wasn't seen as being a particularly testing opponent for Joyi and with only 9 stoppages in 30 bouts few would suggest he was a puncher. Like many Filipino fighters however Loreto's record only tells a fraction of the real story, and he was very much an improving youngster at this point. Even with 30 bouts to his name he was only 23 years old and was very much a different fighter who lost his first 4 bouts, or the 20 year old who was once 8-11 (4). Those improvements had been shown just a few months earlier when he battered former world champion Pornsawan Porpramook into retirement.
Whilst Loreto was an unknown Filipino youngster Joyi was someone hardcore fans had known about for quite some time. He had been the IBF Minmumweight champion for more than 3 years, holding the belt from June 2009 to September 2012, and had scored notable wins over the likes of Florante Condes, Raul Garcia and Katsunari Takayama. When he finally lost his title, to Mario Rodriguez in Mexico, some of the blame was put down to the conditions and a loss to Hekkie Budler in 2013 seemed to signal that it was time for Joyi to move up in weight.
On paper at least this looked like being an easy win for Joyi at Light Flyweight as he began the hunt for a second divisional world title. What happened was very different to what was expected.
The fight started with both men looking to get their distance and it wasn't the most incredible of starts, but was a fun way to kick the bout off. It seemed Joyi was the more polished fighter though Loreto wasn't intimidated by the reputation of the South African who pressed forward for the most part. Loreto did land a few solid shots of his own but for the most part they seemed wild shots, whilst there was more technical work from Joyi. The South African probably did enough to take the opening round, but it was close.
In round 2 the South African seemed to settle more and began to keep Loreto at range more effectively. The Filipino still looked like he was there to win, but it was Joyi who seemed to get his rhythm and got behind a busy, long jab. It was clear he and his team were aware that throwing down with Loreto wasn't necessary and should be avoided where possible. Towards the end of the round however the good work of Joyi's came to an end with Loreto unloading on the South African in the corner, making the round a tricky one to score.
Through the first two rounds we had seen enough of Loreto to know he was dangerous, but few would have anticipated what we saw to begin round 3. Loreto really just went after Joyi, forcing a fire fight on the South Africa and after 25 seconds he landed a monstrous left hand onto the jaw of Joyi. The shot shook the South African who avoided an immediate follow up but couldn't avoid them all, and one landed like peach dropping Joyi flat on his back, and there was no getting up from it.
The upset was massive, one of the biggest of 2014, and really put Loreto on the map, building on his win over Pornsawan in Thailand. Loreto would then prove it was no fluke when he stopped inside a round in a rematch in 2015. Since then Joyi has gone 5-1-1 and is still an active fighter, a real surprise given what we saw 6 years ago! As for Loreto he is also active and ended up getting a world title fight in 2017, losing a decision to Knockout CP Freshmart. More recently Loreto fought in Japan losing to rising young stud Ginjiro Shigeoka.
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).