Kao Roomchang outpoints Nuon Mony on Sunday at the CTN boxing arena to move into a share of first place with Long Sophy in the lightweight tournament
NO cuts, no blood, no knockout - the expected destruction of Nuon Mony at the hands of Kao Roomchang failed to happen Sunday at the CTN boxing arena.
Absent were Kao Roomchang's hallmark vicious elbows and knee-buckling haymakers. Instead, the 21-year-old Battambang southpaw led with his boxing game, banging away at Nuon Mony's brass chin for five rounds with uppercuts and hooks.
Though Kao Roomchang easily did enough to earn a decision victory, he never came close to scoring a knockout, which would have put him alone in first place in the lightweight tournament.
With seven weeks left in the eight-man round-robin competition, each fighter has fought four times, with three fights to go. The winner, as determined by victories and knockouts, will earn a title shot against lightweight champion Lao Sinath.
Kao Roomchang and Long Sophy are now tied for first place, both 4-0 with one knockout.
Nuon Mony, 25, entered the ring Sunday winless in three tournament fights, and locked in a tie for last place with Bheut Bunthoeun. He knew well that his first victory was unlikely to come against Kao Roomchang.
"I've got a very small chance of winning," Nuon Mony said before the fight. "I have fought him twice before and lost both times."
Although the outcome of the fight was never in doubt, Nuon Mony surprised many with his durability. He shrugged off dozens of head-snapping uppercuts and largely held his own in toe-to-toe exchanges. He looked as fresh after five rounds as he did before one.
With his hands high and his chin low, Kao Roomchang came charging forward from the opening bell, winding up with uppercuts and hooks, and largely forgetting other techniques.
A nimble counter-puncher, Nuon Mony from Kampong Thom is among the best defensive fighters in the division. He frustrated Kao Roomchang's advance with jabs and busy feet, fighting nearly every second of the bout while moving backward.
But he could not run forever, and Kao Roomchang inevitably started trapping him in the corners. With few options, Nuon Mony had little choice but to stand and fight or get painted.
In those exchanges, Nuon Mony held up remarkably well, and he managed to escape every time without suffering any major damage. Kao Roomchang may have worn him out, but in five rounds against one of the most fearsome fighters in the division, Nuon Mony never got cut, and he never went down.
"By round five I was pretty worn out," Nuon Mony said afterwards.
It could have been much worse.
Vung Noy KOs Song Saruth
In the second of two lightweight tournament fights Sunday at the CTN boxing arena, Vung Noy stopped Song Saruth in the second round with an elbow.
With about a minute gone in the second round, Vung Noy, 20, from Pailin, faked with a right knee and then stepped through with the left elbow, catching Song Saruth on his left eyebrow.
As Song Saruth grasped at his eye, Vung Noy blasted him with a knee to the ribs, and Song Saruth collapsed in a heap on the canvas.
Referee Sok Vichay counted to three before waving the fight over.
With the victory, Vung Noy remains at No 4 in the tournament rankings, still behind co-leaders Kao Roomchang and Long Sophy. The loss keeps Song Saruth at No 6.
Long Sophy and Van Chanvey, in first and second place respectively, are scheduled to fight Sunday, September 13. Also on the card, Naem Chenda will face Bheut Bunthoeun, in what will likely turn out to be a battle for fifth place.