By James Goyder
Amnat Ruenroeng won the vacant IBF 112 lbs title in Korat this afternoon beating Rocky Fuentes by unanimous decision to snap the Filipino flyweight’s 15 fight winning streak. The scorecards read 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112 in favour of the undefeated Thai fighter.
Fuentes is known as ‘The Road Warrior’ after having beaten numerous local fighters while competing in Japan and he knew he would face an uphill struggle to defeat local favourite Ruenroeng, a former convict who had a successful amateur career.
The Thai looked to establish his jab in the opening round as Fuentes pressed forwards and tried to land power punches which rarely troubled Ruenroeng. The second stanza was notable for the amount of clinching with both fighters consistently finding fresh air as they looked to land hard hooks.
Ruenroeng looked to have a clear advantage in term of speeds and landed an eye catching combination of hooks to the body and head in the third round which were mostly blocked but drew a stir from the partisan Korat crowd.
As the fight progressed Fuentes increasingly became the aggressor, pressing forwards and backing Ruengroeng up while the Thai fighter’s counters became less frequent as he received multiple warnings from the referee for holding.
By round seven Ruengroeng was sufficiently confident to take virtually the entire three minutes off, backing up, circling out and taking every opportunity to hold but despite being handed the initiative Fuentes was unable to land any clean shots.
The eighth round brought with it a further warning from the referee to Ruengroeng for holding as Fuentes continued to press forwards but the pendulum swung back towards the Thai in round nine as he began to utilize his fast jab and easily evade his opponent’s attacks.
Ruengroeng again demonstrated his superior speed in the tenth as he fired away a quick combination of hooks to the body and head and the 11th round saw Fuentes subjected to a defensive masterclass as he consistently failed to connect with looping punches and was countered with fast, accurate jabs and one-two combinations.
By this stage Ruengroeng clearly felt if he could only hang on long enough to hear the final bell and the belt would be his and gave up any pretence of aggression in the last round, focussing instead on staying out of Fuentes’ way.
It was a strategic decision which was emphatically vindicated by the judges who all had him well ahead. Ruengroeng improves his perfect professional record to 13-0; Fuentes drops to 35-7-2.
In the co-main event, Rusalee Samor scored an eight-round decision win over forner title challenger Angky Angkotta. Samor improves to 22-5-2, while the veteran Indonesian is stuck at 27-10-1.