Last July Thai fans saw Stamp Kiatniwat (15-0, 6) [แสตมป์ กระทิงแดงยิม] claim the WBA "interim" title with a controversial win over Dominican fighter Gregorio Lebron (13-4, 11). That bout saw Stamp twice drop Lebron, securing two 10-8 rounds, but was out fought in a number of other rounds as the gutsy Dominican took the fight to the local favourite.
Today the two men faced off again, and again it was Stamp coming out on top as he retained his title, with another close win.
The bout, which was supposed to take place last week on Channel 7, was delayed until this morning where it took place on Channel 3 SD, following a dispute over TV money. And like the first it was a really good, solid and competitive match up, that again will lead many top believe that the decision should have gone against Stamp.
The action was even early on and really picked up in the middle of the contest with Stamp seemingly getting the better of the action. As with their first fight Lebron was the busier fighter but was often on the receiving end of the more hurtful blows and was made to miss more by the Thai who used some smart movement to make Lebron miss, and make him pay.
The final few rounds saw a determined Lebron try to turn the fight around and it seemed like he did enough to win the final couple but he and his team both seemed to think they had fail to do enough to get the win. This proved to be the case with Stamp getting a majority decision with scores of 115-114, 115-113 and 114-114.
Despite the win Stamp was a swollen at the end of the bout and the power of Lebron's connects did leave Stamp's face showing the effects of the bout. That swelling will take a will to come down and may keep him out of the ring for some time, however after today's win the 18 year old does deserve a break from the ring anyway. For Lebron this was another bitter pill to swallow, though it's one that he will have to swallow with all three of the judges for this one being completely neutral.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
In Japan we've seen a rise in the super talented youngster with the likes of Naoya Inoue, Daigo Higa, Kosei Tanaka and Takuma Inoue all impressing in recent times. The same can also be said of some Filipinos such as Albert Pagara and Mark Magsayo. Thailand however have been left slightly behind their local rivals with few young Thai's really making their mark near the top of the sport.
Today however we saw that change with teenager Stamp Kiatniwat (14-0, 6) claiming the WBA “interim” Flyweight title courtesy of a decision win over Dominican slugger Gregorio Lebron (13-3, 11).
The pattern of the fight was set very early in the contest with Lebron marching forward from the opening bell whilst Stamp moved, looked for counters and tried to use the visitors aggression against him. It worked a charm for the Thai who managed to hurt the Dominican in the opening round before dropping him late in the round. The Dominican got back to his feet, and saw out a Stamp assault late on, but it was clear this was going to be a tough afternoon for Lebron.
Lebron's game plan never really changed. His intention through out was to come forward, swinging powerful but wild shots in the general direction of the Thai who often saw them coming a mile off. It was, at times, as if Lebron was hand picked for Stamp to look good against. Through rounds 2,3 and 4 that was the case with Stamp looking like he was having fun countering when he wished and coming forward as chose.
In round 5 things began to get a little tricker for the Thai teenager with Lebron seemingly coming on strong late in the round, which seemed to be a short round. Lebron continued his late surge in round 5 with a brilliant round 6 that saw him genuinely having Stamp in trouble with the Thai being given one of the most torrid rounds of his short career. The Thai suddenly appeared in trouble and it was almost as if he was coming undone at the seams, as he compatriot Kongfah CP Freshmart did last week against the aforementioned Daigo Higa.
It was fair to say that the bout appeared to be turning in favour of the visitor who had managed to get real momentum in the middle portion of the fight. Sadly for him he let it go as both men had a very quiet 7th round with little offense from either man really worthy of note, in fact if anything the most solid shots were right hand leads from Stamp. By round 8 Stamp had completely resettled however Lebron still looked dangerous and strong as he attempted to walk down the Thai and re-establish his control of the action.
Round 9 was a close one and it still seemed unclear if Lebron was going to manage to get to Stamp, the Thai however responded in style in round 10 dropping the Dominican who really struggled to survive the round. Lebron was dropped hard and follow up attacks from Stamp appeared to leave Lebron close to going before the bell eventually came.
Given that Lebron looked spent at the end of round 10 it seemed clear that Stamp would hunt the stoppage to begin the 11th round. Lebron however had recovered his senses and managed to make the round one of the most competitive as the two men traded shots and by the end of the penultimate round it was Stamp looking worse for wear. Lebron knew he still had a chance, albeit a slim one, and in round 12 came out swinging. Stamp saw much of Lebron's offense coming and avoided the wildest of it and despite some success from the Dominican he seemed to take more than he gave with Stamp picking some more sharp counters.
By the end of the fight it seemed clear that Stamp had won, with two of the judges agreeing, though questions need to be asked of Raul Caiz Jr who amazingly had the bout 113-113. Despite the win though there is a lot for him to develop. He's not a “typical Thai” in the ring, he showed good movement and an intelligent counter-punching style but he often looked a bit too negative and his finishing still needs work. There is however a lot to like about the kid who became Thailand's “youngest world champion” with this win. Sadly we expect his reign to be a relatively poor one with little intention of facing a top contender or challenger. Instead we expect he'll be given developmental fights whilst defending his title.
Whilst the win is great for Stamp we don't think he's close to a once in a generation fighter. He is however a very talented young man who appears to have a huge fan base and a real chance to become a star in Thailand, if managed correctly.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.