By Dennis Principe
Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu achieved what hundreds of Thai boxers failed to do on Philippine soil, and that is to win a bout. The 2nd-ranked Sor Singyu made the victory sweeter as he captured the vacant WBO bantamweight crown by stopping Filipino top contender AJ “Bazooka” Banal in the 9th round Saturday night at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
The 24-year old Sor Singyu started slowly as Banal was able to connect some counter blows and body shots. An accidental clash of heads in the third round resulted in an ugly cut on Banal’s right eyebrow that eventually served as Sor Singyu’s target. Sor Singyu slowly gained momentum by relentlessly attacking Banal with combinations though he got caught with stiff jabs and uppercuts by a backpedalling Banal. In the 6th, Banal was winning the round with good uppercuts & 1-2 combinations but was later assessed a point for low blow. Sor Singyu’s plodding style eventually paid off as he connects a strong right that nearly threw Banal off ring. Referee Tony Weeks however ruled it as a slip but Sor Singyu, sensing that Banal was in deep trouble, tried to go for the kill. Banal tried to fight back but the exchanges resulted in another fall with Weeks administering a mandatory count. A dazed Banal was able to stand up but Weeks waved off the fight at 1:45 of the 9th canto. At the time of stoppage, Judges Raul Caiz, Jr. and Levi Martinez had Sor Singyu ahead, 76-75 while Robert Hoyle saw Banal leading, 77-74.
The win improves Sor Singyu’s record to 43-1, with 28 knockouts while Banal drops to 28-2-1 with 20 KOs. Banal was also Sor Singyu’s 17th Filipino victim.