It turns out that rumors of Pongsaklek Wonjongkam’s demise had been greatly under-exaggerated.
The two-time flyweight champion from Thailand, who had been working his way back into contention following his upset knockout loss to Sonny Boy Jaro earlier this year, has retired after suffering a third-round knockout to unheralded Filipino journeyman Rey Migreno at the Central Pavilion in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Thursday night (local time). The time of stoppage was 2:06.
The 26-year-old Migreno (18-20-3, 16 knockouts), of Baguio City, Philippines, had previously lost twice to the 35-year-old Wonjongkam (87-5-2, 46 KOs), by unanimous decision in 2007 and a first-round knockout in 2010.
The Bangkok Post reported that Wonjongkam would accept his manager Wirat Wachirarattanawong’s recommendation to retire after this most recent defeat.
Migreno, who has now won three straight for just the third time since turning pro seven years ago, dropped the southpaw Wonjongkam midway through the third with an overhand right directly on the chin. Wonjongkam arose, though with great difficulty, but was stopped soon after following a followup assault along the ropes knocked Wonjongkam down sideways.
Wonjongkam, who will likely be inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame once he is eligible, won the WBC flyweight title for the first time in 2001, knocking out Malcolm Tunacao in one round. Wonjongkam defended that belt 17 times before being upset by Japan’s Daisuke Naito – another fighter he had previously knocked out – in 2007, while managing just a draw in the return bout.
Wonjongkam regained the belt in 2009 with a majority decision win over current WBA bantamweight titleholder Koki Kameda, who had unseated Naito, defending it several times before the loss to Jaro.
Migreno, on the other hand, began 2012 with three straight unanimous decision defeats, including a loss to newly-crowned WBO bantamweight titleholder Pungluang Sor Singyu.
Prior to Wonjongkam, Migreno’s biggest victory came in 2006, when he stopped a novice named Denver Cuello, who is now THE RING’s no. 4-rated strawweight contender.
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at [email protected]. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.