Over the last few years we've seen the lower weight divisions getting attention due to a number of exciting and action based fighters. Through fighters, such as Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, fans have been given some really fun fights. Whilst it has been those action fighters that have brought the attention to those divisions we also have a few fighters who stand out for other reasons, such as the dirty, tricky and ugly Amnat Ruenroeng (16-0, 5), who is perhaps the most stylistically frustrating of any of the smaller men in the sport.
Ruenroeng came to the attention of the hardcore fans back when he was an amateur though really it was last year that he came out of nowhere to claim the IBF Flyweight title, with a decision win over Rocky Fuentes. The win over Fuentes began a run of great results for the Thai who has since beaten Kazuto Ioka, McWilliams Arroyo, Zou Shiming and Johnriel Casimero, with the wins over Ioka and Shiming coming on the road. The wins haven't always been pretty but they have seen Ruenroeng show various facets to his game, including his boxing ability, physical strength and dirty tricks.
Although Ruenroeng is 35, in fact he's coming up to 36, he's a very young 35 and hasn't been in the wars that age a fighter. In fact he's got the speed, stamina, timing and strength of a much younger man. It's fair to say that he's the youngest 35 year old in boxing today.
On December 7th Ruenroeng returns to the ring for his 5th defense of the IBF Flyweight title as he takes on little known Japanese challenger Myung Ho Lee (19-4-1, 6). For Amnat the bout is regarded as a foregone conclusion before a possible unification bout next year, for Lee however the opportunity is a huge one, and a chance for him to end the rise of the Thai.
The Japanese challenger really is very unknown outside of Asia, though has fought in Mexico once where he gave Edgar Sosa a very tough outing 3 years ago. The Sosa bout, which ended in a majority decision loss for Lee, is really the most notable of Lee's bout, though he has also suffered defeats to Rocky Fuentes and Rey Megrino, whilst also fighting to a draw with Hirofumi Mukai. In regards to wins his most notable came more than 4 years ago when he beat Shin Ono.
Although not considering as one of the best Flyweights in Japan Lee is a man worth giving some attention too. He's one of only 3 men to lose a decision to Megrino, one of the sports most criminally under-rated punchers who has stopped 6 of his last 7 foes including Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Ernesto Saulong, he was also able to hold his own with 2-time world title challenger Mukai and given his experience he could well ask some genuine question of Amnat.
Although Lee is no pushover, and could well go into the bout with Amnat with a rough gameplan, it is hard to see him becoming the first Japanese fighter to claim a world title in Thailand. The likely outcome is that Lee does give Amnat a few problems, especially if he fights dirty against one of the dirtiest players in the game, but he'll not have the skills to shine when he needs them, like Amnat does. As a result we have to expect the champion to retain with a clear, but rough, decision.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.