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WBA orders Knockout CP Freshmart to defend against Rey Loreto

Image courtesy of Gilberto Mendoza Jr. (via Twitter)
18
Apr

MANILA, Philippines – WBA strawweight titleholder Thammanoon Niyomtrong has been ordered to face No. 1 contender Rey Loreto in what figures to be a dangerous mandatory defense.

Niyomtrong (15-0, 7 knockouts), who fights under the name Knockout CP Freshmart, has made two defenses of the 105-pound title since upgrading from the interim strap to the full championship with a tightly contested decision over Byron Rojas last June in Thailand.

In a communique dated April 17 and addressed to Niyomtrong’s promoter Panya Prachakorn and Loreto’s promoter Liu Gang, the two parties have 30 days, or until May 16, to negotiate terms for the fight before a purse bid is ordered.

The WBA cites “rule C-13 – Bout Limitations” in declaring that Niyomtrong “may not fight a boxer who is not the official challenger within sixty (60 days) of the expiration of the mandatory defense period.”

Loreto (23-13, 15 KOs) may not have the prettiest record but he’s proven his ability to be a spoiler on the road, scoring two early knockouts of former champion Nkosinathi Joyi, in 2014 and 2015, in fights that took place in Monaco and South Africa, respectively.

After a 0-4 start to his career in 2008, Loreto sustained some close decision losses in his opponents’ hometowns before eventually found his rhythm. He’s won his last seven fights, including a technical decision over former WBA strawweight titleholder Pornsawan Porpramook in Thailand and the two Joyi fights.

Loreto’s manager Brico Santig says he’d prefer the fight to take place in the Philippines or in China, where Liu Gang is based.

Loreto says he’s excited for the opportunity but makes no predictions as to how it’ll turn out.

“This is boxing, so I don’t know what’ll happen for the fight,” says Loreto, who is trained by former upset specialist Joven Jorda out of the Highland Boxing Gym in La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines.

“The champion is a good boxer but I’ll do all my best to win the fight.”

Niyomtrong is currently rated the No. 2 contender by THE RING, while Loreto is unrated.

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.

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