Friday, June 09, 2023  |


Road warrior Amnat Ruenroeng wants top flyweights on U.S. stage

Fighters Network
Amnat Ruenroeng (L) beat Zou Shiming by unanimous decision in the Chinese star's backyard, Macau. Photo by Dale de la Rey/AFP-Getty Images.

Amnat Ruenroeng (L) beat Zou Shiming by unanimous decision in the Chinese star’s backyard, Macau. Photo by Dale de la Rey/AFP-Getty Images.

In late June Amnat Ruenroeng successfully defended his IBF flyweight title for the fourth time, outpointing former IBF junior flyweight titlist Johnriel Casimero.

The Thai champion used his boxing skills to drop the Filipino challenger twice, once in the second round again in the seventh. He won an ugly, foul-filled encounter by unanimous decision (116-110 115-110 113-112).

Although the scrappy nature of the fight would have done little for his Q rating, his promoter Jimmy Chaichotchuang was pleased with his client’s victory.

“I am happy with Amnat’s performance,” he told in early July. “Amnat showed to be the best flyweight boxer, easily beating Casimero.”

With the victory in the books Ruenroeng (16-0, 5 knockouts) is spending time with his wife and young son in Utaithani City, where the humble champion is a rice farmer.

At 35 years old, he is considered old for a flyweight. Perhaps part of the reason he looks so spry and well preserved for his age is that unlike many other fighters he didn’t rack up miles on his boxing odometer earlier in his career, having only turning professional in May 2012. The late start was at least in part due to drug issues and stints in prison.

“Amnat can perform well at age 35 because Amnat (has) never (been) hurt in the ring,” his promoter said. “Amnat does hard training in the gym and Amnat has a great training by his Filipino brothers, Aljoe and Francisco Jaro. The good training is important to extend his boxing career.”

Having taken care of his mandatory obligation Ruenroeng is free to seek out the best fighters in the talent-laden flyweight division. Since winning the title in early 2014, he has shown a willingness to do just that; he traveled to Japan as a big underdog to shock Kazuto Ioka in his first defense, and earlier this year he beat local deity Zou Shiming in Macau.

On both occasions Ruenroeng took the challengers into deep water and won deserved decisions, showing himself to be among the best in his weight class.

“I’d like Amnat to fight the other top flyweight’s in this division including Roman Gonzalez, Juan Estrada and the rematch with Kazuto Ioka, the WBA flyweight champion.” Chaichotchuang said. [Note: Ioka holds the “regular” belt; THE RING Magazine recognizes Juan Francisco Estrada as the WBA flyweight titleholder.]

“If Amnat beats those guys, Amnat will be ranked in the Top 10 of THE RING pound-for-pound.”

Gonzalez’s demolition of Edgar Sosa in May was shown on HBO, which has made a commitment that he will appear on their airwaves again in the fall.

Chaichotchuang hopes his fighter, who appeared on HBO2 in March, is able to face one of his fellow champions.

“Amnat will go to America to fight Gonzalez or Estrada, but Amnat (will) not go to fight in Mexico,” he said. “I want to use your media to talk with the promoter of Gonzalez and Estrada, and make the fight happen in America.

“It will be a great fight for the boxing fans around the world.”

Gonzalez and Estrada would both be difficult propositions for the Thai speedster, each holding advantages in strength and power – for all Ruenroeng’s skills he sports a KO ratio of just 31 percent. But it would be fair to say that his elusive style would make things tough for even the best flyweights in the world.