Four months later, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Amnat Ruenroeng are still ready to collide.
Two of the more accomplished boxers to ever come out of Thailand will meet in a 10-round non-title fight Saturday afternoon (local time) at Workpoint Studio in Bang Phun, Thailand. Both boxers weighed 120 pounds for the event, which will stream live globally on the YouTube channel of Matchroom Boxing (Saturday, 8:45am BST/3:45am ET), Sor Rungvisai's co-promoter.
The weight matches a career-heaviest for Sor Rungvisai and officially the heaviest for Ruenroeng, as both boxers currently campaign in the junior bantamweight division.
Sor Rungvisai (47-5-1, 41KOs) weighed 120 pounds for a non-title fight in this very venue in July 2018, scoring a 1st round knockout of Young Gil Bae. The bout came five months after establishing himself as the lineal junior bantamweight champion following a thrilling 12-round majority decision win over Juan Francisco Estrada in February 2018, his first fight following a pair of wins over former pound-for-pound king Roman 'Chocolatio' Gonzalez in a Fighter of the Year-level 2017 campaign.
To date, Sor Rungvisai is the only boxer to hang a loss on Gonzalez, who has re-emerged as a 115-pound titlist following a 9th round stoppage of previously-unbeaten Kal Yafai this past February.
Meanwhile, Sor Rungvisai's days of ruling the junior bantamweight roost ended in a 12-round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Estrada in their entertaining rematch last April. The 33-year old southpaw from Si Sa Ket, Thailand has not fought since, having waited out two separate dates for his long-awaited clash with his countryman and fellow former champion.
Ruenroeng (20-3, 6KOs) enters riding a two-fight win streak over modest competition, though having not fought since last March. The 40-year old from Chon Buri, Thailand—less than two hours from the fight venue—previously reigned as a flyweight titlist, beginning with a 12-round win over Rocky Fuentes in their January 2014 vacant title fight.
Five successful defenses followed, including his becoming the first to defeat Kazuto Ioka and Shiming Zou. Wins over McWilliams Arroyo and John Riel Casimero look better on paper than they did in the ring, with Ruenroeng's fighting style—often flirting with disqualification but almost always finding a way to prevail. All made for a 2 1/2 year title reign which far surpassed expectations before Ruenroeng conceded the crown to Casimero in their May 2016 rematch.
The bout was Ruenroeng's last as a pro for more than a year, having registered his second Olympic tour in between. Ruenroeng was among a handful of pro boxers who made their way to the 2016 Rio Olympics, though not faring as well as his quarterfinal bid in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His return to the pro ranks suggested he has long ago seen his best days, scoring a rust-shaking win over a sub .500 boxer before suffering back-to-back upset losses. Two wins have followed to run his post-Olympic mark to 3-2 heading into his long-awaited showdown versus Sor Rungvisai.
Saturday's bout comes nearly four months after its originally targeted April 4 date. Like most other global occurrences, the event was shut down due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as were subsequent plans to reschedule later in the spring. With boxing once again active around the world either without fans in attendance or in front of a small, scattered crowd, the time is right for the pair of Thai standouts to settle up old business. It will come behind closed doors, with only essential personnel permitted on site.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox