The popular opinion is that defending flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng may not get fair judging in Zou Shiming’s home turf in Cotai Arena, in Macau.
But Ruenroeng did just enough to defend his title against China’s boxing poster boy, two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming. And the judges’ reflected the same on their respective scorecards. Amnat won on all three judges’ 116-111 for the unanimous decision victory over Shiming over 12 rounds of awkward and a whole lot of clinching in the last five rounds.
Ruenroeng’s effective jab and ala-Hopkin’s defensive stuff carried the day. Obviously, he did just enough to win, the way a defending champion can retain a title. But it is not an impressive win at all. I even scored close rounds to Shiming, and had him winning in my unofficial scorecards. But I understood the obvious also that Shiming not able to do the way a challenger would do to wrestle the title from the champion.
Shiming (6-1, KO1) was not able to figure out the right technique to be the effective aggressor when he chooses to be the aggressor half way to the fight. Amnat was wise enough to clinch every time Shiming mounts an attack to limit effectiveness.
In the first round, Ruenroeng (15-0, 5 KO’s) was the aggressor as Shiming started slow as usual. Amnat open up the first combination that caught Shiming. In the second, Shiming scored a knockdown that looks like a slip, although from another angle it looks like Shiming landed a left hand before Ruenroeng went down.
In the third round, Amnat executed a popular MMA move. He took Shiming down hard to the floor. Referee Mark Nelson gave stern warning to give a clean fight. But those words seemed ineffective as both men tried to takedown each other everytime they clinch throughout the fight.
The fourth round was more of a chess match as both men stood their ground but not throwing punches. They’re anticipating each other’s move waiting for opening and ready to counter.
In the next three rounds Zou, 33 years old, pick up the pace and was stalking the champion but still was not able to keep the punches going. Amnat, 35 years old, doubling up the jab, landing them, as Shiming tries to come in. He also limited Shiming aggression once he (Shiming) closes the gap by tying him up.
The championship round showed no urgency from Shiming although he was the aggressor and might won them being the attacker. But Amnat’s well executed clinching limits Shiming’s output from the inside. And the champion also wisely used the entire ring. And his punch that carried him the victory — his jab.
Shiming in my opinion was being rushed to become a world champion. He was matched with Ruenroeng because it looks like Amnat is a beatable champion in flyweight. And in fact Shining defeated him in the amateurs. But now that he lost to Amnat it seemed the way to become a flyweight titlist is difficult based on his performance with Ruenroeng.
The other titlists were; pound-for-pound number 3 and flyweight true champion Roman Gonzalez; pound for pound number 9 and flyweight number one contender Juan Francisco Estrada according to the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Hence, I can only figure out a rematch if you will ask me what is next for Zou Shiming?