SRISAKET SOR RUNGVISAI returned to the ring for the first time since losing his WBC super-flyweight title to Juan Francisco Estrada in April last year. Up at super-bantamweight, and taking on the rugged Amnat Ruenroeng, Srisaket took a while to get going and struggled to impress.

The 40-year-old Ruenroeng – a former IBF flyweight titlist – is past his best but imposed his iron will on his Thai countryman from the start. Boxing from distance, spoiling in close and avoiding his rival’s initially wild counters, Ruenroeng took the opening two rounds inside Bang Phut’s Workpoint Studio. Srisaket rallied in rounds three and four but it was clear that the old pop he had down at super-fly was largely absent.

The veteran, seven years older than Srisaket, had another good session in the fifth and at the halfway mark – with Ruenroeng’s aim superior to his opponent’s – the upset seemed possible with the fight very much in the balance.

Srisaket improved in the second half. The rust started to disintegrate as the favourite aimed his punches to the body. The change in tactics proved decisive.

Into the seventh and Srisaket was in full flow, hammering the tiring Ruenroeng with effective blows upstairs and down. Yet the wily old campaigner was here to win and fought back at the end of the eighth as both exchanged blows.

In the final two rounds, Srisaket pulled away. The punches that were missing in the early rounds found the target and, in the 10th, we were reminded of the fighter who twice defeated Roman Gonzalez as Srisaket roared forward throwing combinations.

But at 33, one wonders if Srisaket can truly regain the form consistently enough to rule again.

The Verdict Important win for Srisaket but long way to go to recapture old form