by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation flyweight champion Rocky "The Road Warrior" Fuentes (35-6-2, 20 KO’s) who is highly rated by the top four world boxing organizations will face Thailand's former Olympian Anat Ruenroeng on January 22 for the IBF title relinquished by South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane who refused to fight in Thailand and claimed the purse was roo small.
Filipino promoter, manager and former boxer Aljoe Jaro informed the Manila Standard that the negotiations for the title fight were completed in two days but that the winner would have to be “willing to fight No. 4 ranked Silvio Ilteanu in an optional defense.”
The 36 year old Romanian Ilteanu has a record of 14-6-1 with 6 knockouts and is ranked No. 4 while Fuentes is ranked No. 5 and Ruenroeng No. 7.
Olteanu pulled out of a mandatory title fight against Mthalane in October in Germany with a hand injury thereby scuttling Mthalane’s fifth title defense after which Ruenroeng was appointed challenger in a fight that Mthalane subsequently turned down and relinquished his belt enabling Fuentes to earn a shot for the vacant crown against Ruenroeng.
The 34 year old Ruenroeng had an extensive amateur career during which he lost to the Philippines Harry Tanamor by a 16-8 margin in the World Amateur Championships in Chicago in 2007 where he won a bronze medal.
In 2009 in Milan the Thai was a quarter finalist before he went on to win a bronze medal in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China , in 2010 losing to two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming by a score of 5-2.
Zou Shiming who turned pro and signed up with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions is undefeated at present and is considered a potential world champion who is trained by the celebrated Freddie Roach.
Ruenroeng is undefeated with a record of 11-0 with 5 knockouts and is the reigning IBF Asia flyweight champion having won the title with an easy twelve round decision over perennial Filipino loser Michael Rodriguez in Ratchaburi, Thailand who had a pathetic record of 13-34-1.
Ruenroeng was clearly the more accomplished fighter prompting his promoter Jimmy Chaichotchuang to tell IBF executive Ray Wheatley he thought Ruenroeng was impressive and he is confident he would be a future world champion.
The Thai fighter gets his chance against Fuentes who, ALA Promotions Michael Aldeguer noted is a solid body puncher and has lots of experience fighting abroad, particularly in Japan and has defended is OPBF title successfully six times.
Aldeguer is confident that despite fighting in Thailand and facing a hostile crowd, Fuentes should fulfill his long standing dream of becoming a world champion.
Ruenroeng also won the IBF Asia Pacific title with a twelve round unanimous decision over another Filipino Julius Alcos on April 19, 2013 and in his last defense of the IBF Asia flyweight title won by an impressive 4th round TKO over Ricky Manufoe of Indonesia.