Ranked Men Clash in Thailand

By Matt McGrain on September 10, 2014
Ranked Men Clash in Thailand
The victor continues to ride the wave he mounted upon defeating superstar Kazuto Ioka.

Ruenroeng’s performance was mature, but he’s the kind of fighter that the flyweight champion and #1 contender eat for breakfast…

For those of you with the depth of experience to remember the joy that was mid-week boxing, be comforted – it’s back, if it ever went away, alive and well in Thailand where today homeboy Amnat Ruenroeng defeated Puerto Rican McWilliams Arroyo by split decision in twelve rounds.

Flyweight is far and away the best division in boxing now and so it was very much a case of another day, another fine confrontation at 112 lbs., as Ruenroeng (still unbeaten at 14-0) the #7 ranked fly clambered from the canvas to out-fight #9 Arroyo (15-2). It was the sixth round in which Ruenroeng tasted canvas, and it brought the fight to life, Ruenroeng having previously dominated. Serious looking, and the busier of the two, he inched back and away whilst jabbing to the body and pulling taut to cause Arroyo to fall short with his own straight punches.

But Ruenroeng looks a little more menacing than he is. There was a tangible advantage for him in those opening rounds but he failed to capitalize for all his violent-eyed stalking and Eubankesque tapping of the gloves. It was Arroyo, not Ruenroeng who was the puncher in the fight, and in the fifth he seemed to come by this realization, digging to the body and arguably picking up his first frame on the scorecards. It was also at this point that Ruenroeng, by no manner of means in a coincidence, began to discover his previously unutilised clinching skills. It was a tactic he employed for the remainder of the fight and one for which he arguably should have had a point deducted.

He was clinching regularly in the fifth, leaning and smothering Arroyo’s best work in the sixth round when a half-push resulted in the Puerto Rican tumbling to the canvas, which was correctly ruled no knockdown by referee Pat Russell. As soon as he had regained his feet, Arroyo attacked, landing a digging left uppercut to the heart followed by a sharp left-hook to the jaw whilst simultaneously stepping out of Ruenroeng’s attempted clinch. It was a lovely two-piece, and my impression was that it was these punches, not the clumsy straight-right hand that followed it that did the damage as Ruenroeng now took his turn to fall heavily to the canvas, once more correctly ruled upon but this time it was scored a knockdown. The Thai regained his feet, but looked hurt to me, and had he attacked with a little more patience, perhaps Arroyo would have upset the odds, but he was wild; Ruenroeng held and fought his way out of the round.

Arroyo won the seventh showing the maturity and patience that he needed in the sixth, but Ruenroeng fought back hard in the eighth, pulling up his opponent’s three-round run on the cards and probably rescuing the fight, Arroyo’s wildness in the ninth betraying his uncertainty as to his strategy. That uncertainty bred gaps and Ruenroeng utilized those gaps with a defined approach of punch and clutch. Still, Russell did a fine enough job separating them and the Thai’s skill at blocking was at least as much a part of his narrow victory as his stick-and-grab barrage in the championship rounds. And a narrow victory is what it was: 114-113 twice and 113-114 made it a split that would have come off a majority draw if the referee had taken the very reasonable step of penalizing Ruenroeng for holding.

The victor continues, then, to ride the wave he mounted upon defeating Japanese superstar Kazuto Ioka earlier this year and might even find himself invited to the banquet at the flyweight top-table. Not that Roman Gonzalez or Juan Francisco Estrada will be worrying about what they saw here today; Ruenroeng’s performance was mature given his experience, but frankly he’s the kind of fighter that the flyweight champion and #1 contender eat for breakfast.

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อำนาจ เกษตรพัฒนา-แม็ควิลเลียมส์ อาร์โรโย Amnat Ruenroeng vs. McWilliams Arroyo

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  1. The Flea 02:25am, 09/17/2014

    Ruenroeng is VERY experienced. Former Bangkok Stadium champion (as good an introduction to high level pro’ boxing as the amateur game) in Muay Thai and a very good amateur. I think his amateur boxing days ruined him, they made his current style second nature, when in fact his Muay Thai background should’ve given him a better base to work on (he’s negative now, which Thais usually aren’t)

    He would make Estrada and Gonzalez look bad IMO, but wouldn’t beat them.

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