Thai bantamweight Pungluang Sor Singyu pulled off an upset tonight at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, The Philippines, defeating the more seasoned local man AJ Banal in hostile territory.
At stake was the vacant WBO strap, and big-punching southpaw Banal, having defeated a pair of IBF super fly champs, ex-titlist Luis Alberto Perez and future beltholder Juan Alberto Rosas, had home advantage and was favored to win.
Singyu, who was giving up over four inches in height, didn't do much early on to dissuade that line of thinking as Banal didn't seem to have much trouble in making the Bangkok man miss punches and then suffer the counter consequences.
Banal suffered a setback in the third round, however, as the Cebu City resident was cut above the eye by an accidental head clash and was clearly distracted from the matter at hand.
The visitor warmed to his task, zeroing in on his stricken rival with sharp combination punching but by the sixth was flagging from his efforts. Banal rose to the occasion
and regained control for a few rounds but hampered his cause by losing a point for low blows.
The local man won many exchanges in center ring as he was faster and hit harder than Singyu.
But the tourist would not give up and by the ninth, Banal was no longer in command as his plucky rival went on the attack, producing two knockdowns, the second of which ended the contest at 1:45 of the round.
After an eight year career fighting for largely youth and regional Asian belts against unheralded opposition, Singyu makes the best of his first world title clash, improving to 43-1 (28), and capturing the WBO bantam championship.
Banal sees a four year, 11 bout win streak snapped, falling to 28-2-1 (20).
On the undercard, the vacant WBO International featherweight bauble went to ex-super bantam world title challenger Rey Bautista, 34-2 (25), who escaped with a split decision on the cards after 12 rounds with Mexican import Daniel Ruiz, 27-6-1 (19).
The WBO light welter International strap was also up for grabs, as Cebu City's Jason Pagara, 30-2 (18), retained the belt by putting a first loss on the record of Barbados man Miguel Antoine, 17-1-1 (19), who was wiped out in the very first round.