By James Goyder
Norasing Lookbanyai could only muster a draw with Danilo Pena in their PABA Super Flyweight Title fight in Surat Thani as the defending champion faded badly down the stretch to suffer the first blemish on his professional record.
Norasing was 5-0 going into this bout and won the title courtesy of an impressive first round KO win against Michael Escobia last December. His opponent was a seasoned veteran who was moving down in weight and boasted a 26-16-2 record.
Pena is a an awkward southpaw whose tactics consisted of lunging forward, more often than not leading with his head, looking to clinch at every available opportunity and throwing wild, clubbing punches. Norasing wanted to land his trademark left hook but struggled to find the openings as the Filipino kept charging relentlessly forwards.
It didn't make for a particularly technical contest but Norasing seemed to have a comfortable lead on the scorecards as the fight reached the midway stages. In round six the Thai began to fade badly which allowed Pena to probably pinch a couple of rounds, the significance of which would not become apparent until a dramatic double knockdown in round ten.
Norasing was a Muay Thai champion but had never been more than six rounds in his boxing career up until this point and it became increasingly apparent as the fight progressed that he was severely short of stamina. Despite a dramatic reduction in punch output he seemed on course to win by decision when he was put down for the count by a left uppercut to the body late in the tenth.
The 26 year old was close to being counted out but he recovered only for Pena to swarm all over him with a follow up flurry which put him down again. Norasing got to his feet just in time to hear the bell but looked visibly exhausted and now it was the Thai fighter who was looking to hug and hold in round 11.
Pena, who was competing at super bantamweight as recently as last month, was also running low on energy which made for an uneventful final round. The bout was taking place in Norasing's hometown but the Filipino can have no complaints with the decision as two of the judges scored it 113-113 while the third had it 115-113 for the Thai fighter who retains his PABA Super Flyweight Belt courtesy of a majority draw.
Earlier in the day two veterans collided when Terdsak Kokietgym took on Ernesto Rubillar. Terdsak's only losses have come in either world title bouts or world title eliminators and he was odds on favourite against a 40 year old opponent who hadn't fought since 2005.
Despite the eight years of inactivity Rubillar put up a spirited display en route to losing a decision in this six round fight. The win takes Terdsak's record to 49-4-1 while Rubillar drops to 38-34-7.