Boxing: Amnat dashes Zou’s title dreams in Macau, retains IBF belt
- Updated: March 8, 2015
March 7, 2015: Amnat Ruenroeng comfortably retained his IBF flyweight title at ‘The Showdown at Sands’ as he crushed the dreams of Chinese star Zou Shiming, who suffered the first defeat of his seven-fight pro career at The Venetian Macao.
Stronger, faster and smarter, Amnat outclassed Zou over 12 rounds, winning 116-111 on all three judges’ scorecards to retain his IBF flyweight title for the third straight time after winning it in January 2014.
Amnat, 35, ended Zou’s unbeaten record and preserved his own for a 15th straight win in the pro ranks, while the Chinese crowd favourite – even with Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, in his corner – will have to wait another day for a title shot.
Entering the ring to Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’, Amnat eventually resembled a big cat playing with a cub, making the most of his five-inch reach advantage to keep the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medallist at a distance for most of the fight.
Amnat picked up boxing during his third stint in prison and turned pro in 2011, a year earlier than Zou – and his experience told.
With the crowd sounding more nervous than excited before the fight, both fighters fought accordingly, keeping their distance and picking their punches in a cagey opening round.
A springier Zou emerged for the second round and he soon put Amnat on the floor, although it was as much fall as knockdown, and the two ended the round on smiling terms.
In the third round, Amnat earned boos from the crowd for throwing Zou to the ground after the Chinese wrapped his arm around the Thai’s shoulder following a missed punch. However, the round finished with some comedy when a smiling Amnat had to point a wrong-footed Zou to his correct corner.
Despite a world title at stake, the pair were increasingly on smiling terms – mostly after rounds and sometimes during them – with the fighters familiar with each other from three fights as amateurs.
Amnat, enjoying the support of a small but vocal contingent in the Cotai Arena, started to grow in confidence from the fifth round, raising his arms after the bell, and even started showboating in the sixth.
The fight was developing a pattern by the seventh. Standing back and picking his punches, Amnat looked a composed figure compared to the increasingly hunched Zou, who resorted to bobbing and weaving as he tried in vain to get in close.
Amnat started to walk around the ring as if he owned it and by the eighth round had Zou on a string, the Chinese unable to make any significant impression.
Amnat even refused a stool after the late rounds and looked fresher by the minute, while Zou was stuck without a Plan B and did little to lift an increasingly despondent crowd as the Thai cruised to victory.
On a high-profile night for Chinese boxing, ‘Ik’ Yang Lianhui – another of Roach’s charges – stopped Thailand’s Patomsuk Pathompothong with a sixth-round TKO in the card’s penultimate fight to become the No. 1 contender for the IBF Light Welterweight title.
Yang, 29, dominated the card’s penultimate bout, winning the first three rounds on all three judges’ cards, before losing the fourth. However, he turned on the power in the fifth and earned the biggest cheers of the fight when a long series of hard punches at the end of the round sent Patomsuk wobbling before the Thai was saved by the bell.
The Chinese – part slugger, part slapstick – continued where he left off and only needed one minute 47 seconds in the sixth round to finish the job. Yang followed a powerful straight right to the head with left and right hooks, as Patomsuk collapsed to his knees, with his arms draped around the legs of the referee who halted the fight.
Zhou Yunfei, fighting in the card’s swing bout, competed in the first of three bouts featuring fighters from mainland China. Despite coming back impressively from a first-round knockdown, the 26-year-old super middleweight lost a split-decision to Paul Valenzuela of Mexico after four rounds (37-38, 38-37, 36-39).
Glen ‘Jersey Boy’ Tapia stopped Australian Daniel Dawson in the second round in the first fight of the main card.
For report on the undercard, visit: sport-asia.com/boxing-hks-tso-earns-world-title-shot-vows-to-be-another-bruce-lee/
The Showdown at Sands, Cotai Arena, The Venetian Macao, Macau
- Aston Palicte defeats Ismael Garnica: TKO in Round 7 (2:19)
- José Felix Jr. defeats Raymond Sermona: KO in Round 1 (1:47)
- Ng Kuok Kun defeats Chingchai Kiatpracha: KO in Round 3 (2:35)
- Rex Tso defeats Michael Enriquez: UD after 10 rounds (95-94, 95-94, 96-93); retains WBA international super flyweight title
- Glen Tapia defeats Daniel Dawson: TKO in Round 3 (1:42); wins NABO junior middleweight title
- Paul Valenzuela defeats Zhou Yunfei; SD after 4 rounds (38-37, 37-38, 39-36)
- Ik Yang defeats Patomsuk Pathompothong: TKO in Round 6 (1:47); wins IBF light welterweight title eliminator
- Amnat Ruenroeng defeats Zou Shiming: UD after 12 rounds (116-111, 116-111, 116-111); retains IBF world flyweight title