The WBA “interim” titles have become a real issue, though one the WBA now seem to finally be stamping out. For a long time the titles were used to collect extra sanctioning fees for bouts that typically don't feature a world class fighter as opposed to temporarily filling a void following an injury to the champion. Sometimes they do however lead to good bouts, though bouts that could have been made as eliminators
In the talent laden Flyweight division, which features the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Kazuto Ioka, Juan Carlos Reveco, Amnat Ruenroeng, Brian Viloria, Takuya Kogawa, Edgar Sosa, Johnriel Casimero, Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep and McWilliams Arroyo the need for the best to face the best is obvious, especially for titles and for the major recognition that those top tier belts bring for the fights.
Unfortunately rather than the WBA forcing bouts between the likes of Ioka and Estrada they have allowed 3 title holders, and essentially extended a joke that was never funne. Estrada is the “Super” champion, Ioka the “regular” champion and little known Thai Stamp Kiatniwat the “interim” champion.
On December 10th, Stamp (14-0, 6) was supposed to defend his title against the man he beat for the belt, Gregorio Lebron(13-3, 11), for whatever reason that bout was delayed and will now take place this coming Friday, leading Thai fans to get a second “world level” rematch in as many days.
The first bout between the two men came back in August and saw Stamp claim a majority decision over Lebron, a fighter from the Dominican republic, courtesy of two 10-8 rounds. The decision upset Lebron's team, who accused two of the judges of bias and lead to the WBA calling for a rematch, leaving us where we are now.
In their first bout both took turns to be the aggressor in what was a solid bout overall, and the perfect eliminator type bout. Although a vaunted puncher Lebron only really seemed to hurt Stamp once whilst Stamp scored two knockdowns, and came the closest to forcing the referee to stop the fight. For many who watched the fight though Stamp was spending too many rounds being negative, inactive and backing off rather than than making the most of his speed and skills.
Since their first bout neither man has fought, however they have both aged. For Stamp that will have seen the teenager mature and grow more into a man, and the time between the originally scheduled date and the actually bout will have given yet more time to mature. He's still a teenager but certainly a more mature man than he was in their first meeting. For Lebron he's aged and is now heading towards his 34th birthday, an old age for a man in the lower weights. Saying that however Lebron hasn't been in a lot of wars and has only tasted 53 rounds of professional experience, with 12 of them coming against Stamp in their first meeting, making him a very fresh 33 year old.
In their first fight it was Stamp who looked the more intelligent fighter, especially early on when he landed counter hooks, flashy combinations and showed good movement. He was however the man who was under-pressure and looked like a fighter unsure of himself a sign of his youth and inexperience. Lebron however looked like a powerful and aggressive man, looking to teach the youngster lesson with his power punches. We're expecting much of the same here, with Stamp looking to use Lebron's pressure against him whilst Lebron will again be looking to use his vaunted power to stop the youngster, and keep the judges out of the result rather than risk another decision loss.
For both men however this bout will be different to their first. Lebron will know the officiating away from home isn't as favourable as it is at home. He'll be more aggressive and look for the KO more than he did last time out, taking more risks and throwing more reckless and wild hayemakers. As for Stamp he'll likely have fewer lulls and be less negative. When he attacks he'll look to make a bigger statement and try to make his rounds clearer when he wins them. The Thai may also swing less widely when he attacks, having missed wildly with a number of left hands in the middle rounds.
Like their first bout we're expecting to see Lebron coming forward and Stamp countering. We however think that Stamp will manage to up the ante late and force a late stoppage on to the hard hitting Dominican who we know can be hurt by Stamp.
For those who missed the first one, we've included it below.
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.