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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Neutral judges for Loreto title bid

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
14 Jul 2017



GAB chairman Abraham Mitra will be at ringside to make sure Filipino challenger Rey Loreto gets a fair shake in taking on defending WBA minimumweight champion Thammanoon Niyomtrong, also known as Knockout CP Freshmeat, in a scheduled 12-round title bout in Chonburi, Thailand, tomorrow. If Loreto wins, he’ll join IBF lightflyweight champion Milan Melindo, IBF flyweight ruler Donnie Nietes and IBF superflyweight king Jerwin Ancajas as the country’s reigning world titlists.

Mitra left Manila for Bangkok yesterday with GAB commissioners Fritz Gaston and Eduard Trinidad. Aside from attending the fight, they will meet with representatives of three Thai boxing commissions to lay the groundrules for a transparent working relationship. It will be the first attempt to coordinate closely with Thai boxing officials as Mitra intends to address alleged anomalies that jeopardize Filipino fighters’ chances to win in Thailand.

Mitra confirmed that the WBA has assigned neutral officials for Thammanoon’s third defense of the 105-pound crown he wrested from Nicaragua’s Byron Rojas in June last year. The fight supervisor will be Renzo Bagnariol, born in Italy now living in Managua. The referee will be Texan Rafael Ramos who worked Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Joshua Clottey in Arlington in 2010. The judges will be Ferlin Marsh of New Zealand, Ignacio Robles of Panama and Takeshi Shimakawa of Japan.

Loreto is now in Bangkok with his manager Brico Santig of the Highland Boxing Gym in La Trinidad and trainer Joven Jorda. He has won his last seven outings, six abroad, to rise to No. 1 in the WBA ladder. Loreto, 26, hasn’t fought since stopping Thai Rungrit Sor Visetkit in the third round in Bangkok last August. His record is 23-13, with 15 KOs.

Loreto started his pro career on the wrong foot, losing his first four fights in 2008. Then, in 2011, he took another tumble, dropping four in a row. But the Davao City slugger has since bounced back to win 15 of his next 17 outings. In 2014, he won the vacant IBO lightflyweight crown via a third round stoppage of South African Nkosinathi Joyi in Monte Carlo. The next year, Loreto staked his title against Joyi in a rematch in South Africa and scored a first round knockout. Loreto, however, was never paid his $40,000 purse by South African promoter Siphanto Handi.

When Mitra took over as GAB chairman last year, he reviewed the agency’s pending matters and made Loreto’s case a priority. Handi’s license as a promoter has since been revoked by the IBO. Mitra has asked assistance from South African Ambassador Nicolaas Blabber to resolve the collection case.

Loreto will be paid $30,000 to battle Thammanoon. He is dropping down in weight class to fight for the world title. Loreto hasn’t fought as a 105-pounder since 2009 although his weight has never ballooned.

Thammanoon, 26, has a 15-0 record, with 7 KOs. The former Muay Thai fighter has repulsed two Japanese challengers so far, Shin Ono on points and Go Odaira by a fifth round knockout. In 2012, the Thai captured the WBC Youth minimumweight crown in his pro debut and made seven successful defenses. His Filipino victims were Bimbo Nacionales, Mark Anthony Florida, Marzon Cabilla, Jonathan Refugio and Cris Alfante. He has beaten former world champion Muhammad Rachmann and twice defeated Nicaragua’s Carlos Buitrago who held Filipino Merlito Sabillo to a split draw at the Araneta Coliseum in 2013.

“I expect a good fight,” said Mitra. “Rey has gone through a lot of hard times. Imagine not being paid for that fight in South Africa. Sen. Manny covered for it. I don’t think it will be a problem for Rey to drop down in weight. His power will be more potent as a minimumweight. The GAB has cleared him to fight with a travel authority.”

Mitra said an issue he will bring up before the Thai boxing authorities is the recent fight involving Michael Enriquez and Stamp Kiatniwat for the WBA Asia flyweight title in Bangkok. In the seventh round, Eniquez dropped Kiatniwat and was on the verge of scoring a knockout when the timekeeper saved the Thai fighter by ringing the bell after only 1:46 minutes. Enriquez, who is from Misamis Oriental, went on to lose by a unanimous decision in the bout where the referee and three judges were Thais.

Photo: The Philippines' Rey Loreto (R) and Thai defending champion Thammanoon Niyomtrong during Friday's weighin in Thailand.


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