Hitman falls short in title bid

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A right hook delivered by Thammanoon Niyomtrong that dropped Rey “Hitman” Loreto in the tenth served as the exclamation point of the successful retention of his World Boxing Association (WBA) minimum weight title during the mandatory defense title bout last July 15 in Chonburi, Thailand.

Both fighters were engaged in a face-to-face brawl in that faithful tenth round when the defending champion, Knockout CP Freshmart to his countrymen, take no notice of two body shoots from a Loreto combination, give the challenger a slight push and unleashed the well-timed overhand shot to floor Loreto at the dying seconds of the tenth round.

While Loreto appeared unhurt by the punch, but was definitely in scorecard with the automatic 10-8 score in favor of the champion for the round.

The knockout proved to be the icing on the cake as Loreto fell short of wresting the title, losing by a 117-110, 117-110, 115-113 unanimous decision.

Loreto took control of the fight in the earlier round, even got the eye of the champion shutting. He began fading in the middle rounds as the champion started connecting and needed a knockout in the latter rounds to take the match.

He went for it in rounds 11 and 12 but Niyomtrong wisely and repeatedly tied him up whenever they got close which he got warned by the referee.

Loreto, a native of Davao Del Sur now based in La Trinidad, got the long overdue title shot after Niyomtrong seemed to be ducking him for over a year.

Niyomtrong won the minimum weight title last June 29, 2016 against Byron Rojas and defended it twice, against Shin Ono last December 14, 2016 and Go Odaira last March 1, 2017 while Loreto was the mandatory challenger.

The WBA rules stipulate that champions must defend their title against the official contender every nine months from the date they become champions. The mandatory defense was ordered by the WBA last April, upon expiration of the mandatory period.

Loreto absorbed his 14th loss against 23 wins, 15 of his wins came by kayoes. He was on a seven-win streak before this loss, including two against Nkosinathi Joyi, for the International Boxing Organization (IBO) World light flyweight title.

Niyomtrong is now 16-0 with seven victories by knockouts.

By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS

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