Niyomtrong outfights Loreto to retain WBA strawweight belt
Thammanoon Niyomtrong overcame a determined start by his challenger and a left eye swollen shut to defeat Rey Loreto by unanimous decision and retain the WBA strawweight title Saturday in Chonburi, Thailand.
The scores were 117-110 on two cards and 115-113 on the third, all for Niyomtrong (16-0, 7 knockouts), the 26-year-old Thai who fights under the name Knockout CP Freshmart. The win was Niyomtrong’s third defense since winning the title with a unanimous decision over Byron Rojas in June of 2016.
Loreto (23-14, 15 KOs) of Davao City, Philippines, who started his career 0-4 before establishing himself as a contender with two knockout wins over Nkosinathi Joyi in 2014 and 2015, sees his seven-fight winning streak halted.
Loreto was the naturally larger man, using his reach to land counters from the outside, which helped him build an early advantage through four rounds. The fight turned in the sixth round as Niyomtrong took advantage of the southpaw’s square stance, cutting him down to size with straight rights the body, which Loreto had no defense for.
The body-punching slowed Loreto’s attack and opened him up for shots upstairs. Niyomtrong scored the fight’s only knockdown in the ninth with an overhand right that caught Loreto backing straight out of an exchange. Loreto wasn’t seriously hurt and finished the round on the attack, but was made to play catch-up. Loreto became ultra-aggressive in the 10th, trying to pull the fight out of the fire, but couldn’t get the knockout he needed.
Loreto’s manager, Brico Santig, gave Niyomtrong credit for making the adjustment in the middle rounds but decried what he described as “Muay Thai moves” and holding. He says Loreto will move back up to 108 pounds, where he’d been world-rated.