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Pao Puot loses on points

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090217_24.jpg

Kickboxing veteran Nuon Soriya showed his superiority in the sport, beating younger Battambang southpaw Pao Puot Sunday at Phnom Penh’s TV5 stadium

Photo by:

VIRGINIE NOEL

Nuon Soriya (right) unleashes a flurry of punches against his tiring opponent Pao Puot in the fifth round of their fight at TV5 stadium Sunday.

Nuon Soriya weathered an early onslaught and dominated the later rounds with better hands and defense to beat Pao Puot on points Sunday at TV5.

Pao Puot had not seen the inside of a ring since early 2008 and knew the absence would likely hinder him.

"I have not fought in nearly a year," he said before the fight. "It's hard to say how things will go. I don't know."

Undeterred, the 23-year-old from Battambang's Ponleou Samaki boxing club, climbed into the ring hoping for an upset, knowing that one good elbow was all he needed.

Despite the layoff, Pao Puot looked sharp in the early rounds and displayed the same strength and flair that marked his earlier career. Only his stamina was missing.

At his best in the second round, he stalked Nuon Soriya around the ring, moving forward with combinations, landing hard kicks and looking for the one good knockout strike from his elbow.

In the opening minute, the two stood at center ring and traded shots. Pao Puot got the better of the exchange, ending the flurry with a leg sweep that sent Nuon Soriya crashing to the canvas.

Seconds later, Nuon Soriya blocked a spinning back elbow from Pao Puot, who followed with a flying knee and ended the round with two unanswered left-right-kick combinations to the 29-year-old former champion.

Sensing a weakened fighter, the crowd screamed for more, and for a brief moment the possibility of upset hung in the smoky arena air. But one strong round was all the Battambang southpaw could muster.  

The third round opened with Nuon Soriya standing his ground at center ring and countering straight lefts with hard kicks to the body. He landed a flying knee of his own, doubled up his kicks and banged away at the body of a tiring Pao Puot.

In the fourth, Nuon Soriya connected with a straight right hand that snapped Pao Puot's head back so far he was staring into the arena lights. A round later, Nuon Soriya had total control of a clearly exhausted opponent. He scored with tripled jabs, faked, and landed punches at will.

The crowd not so much cheered as chuckled.

"I've fought him two or three times before," said Nuon Soriya of the Ministry of Interior Boxing Club. "He's never beaten me."

Sunday would be no different.

As with previous fights, Pao Puot vowed to return.

"You'll see me again," promised Pao Puot. "I'll be back."

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