Paulus Ambunda’s time has arrivedBy: HELGE SCHUTZ
AFTER months of hard work and preparation, the moment has arrived for Paulus Ambunda to launch his assault on Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu for the WBO bantamweight world title at the Ramatex hall tomorrow night.
Ambunda is in the best shape of his life, but he will face an opponent with an impressive record and highly rated by boxing experts worldwide.
Pungluang is only 24 years old but is already one of the most experienced bantamweight fighters in the world with a record of 43 wins from 44 fights, with 28 knockouts.
Since turning pro as a 16-year-old in 2004 he has built an impressive record, winning the WBC Youth World Bantamweight title, the WBO Asia Pacific Youth bantamweight title and the Interim Oriental bantamweight title along the way.
His only defeat came in May 2009 when he lost a split decision to Stephane Jamoye of Belgium, but according to his promoter Pariyakorn Ratanasuban, it was a highly controversial decision as the bloodied Jamoye came off the worst from that fight.
Since then, Pungluang has remained unbeaten and his big moment came on October 20 last year when he beat AJ Banal of the Philippines on a ninth round TKO to win the vacant WBO bantamweight title.
In contrast, the 32 year-old Ambunda only has 19 fights to his name, but he is not known as ‘The Rock’ for nothing.
He turned pro in 2007 and soon made an impact with his powerful punches, winning five of his first 10 fights on knockouts.
In April 2010 he won the WBO Africa Bantamweight title and went on to defend it on five occasions, beating some highly rated South African opponents like Klaas Mbonyane, Bongani Mahlangu and Cleutus Mbhele along the way.
In July last year Ambunda comfortably beat William Prado of Brazil on a unanimous points decision to capture the vacant WBO International title and in October he finally got his crack at the world title when he was installed as the mandatory challenger to Pungluang’s title.
With two big punchers in the ring, the chances of a knockout are high and both boxers are confident that they will be victorious.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Pungluang said he will win by a knockout, while Ambunda said that Pungluang had not faced an opponent of his power before.
International boxing expert Eric Armit, who amongst others writes for www.boxrec.com, said Ambunda can expect his toughest fight to date.
“The Thai Pungluang is a very different class of fighter than any Ambunda has faced in the past and it will be a big step up for the Namibian. The Thai is a relentless pressure fighter with a hard punch, great stamina and a good chin. He showed in winning the vacant title in nine rounds against Filipino AJ Banal that he makes a fight a war of attrition, slowly breaking down his opponent until they are ready to crumble,” he said.
“Ambunda is 32 and has good wins over Emilio Norfat, Bongani Mahlangu and William Prado. He has a good defence and a good chin and home advantage. However, none of his victims have been anywhere near the class and power of the Thai champion and I see Pungluang wearing away at Ambunda and winning either on a wide unanimous decision or a late stoppage,” he added.
The WBO vice president Andrew Smale, who will oversee the fight for the WBO, said that Ambunda will have to be at his best if he hopes to win the title.
“On paper, Pungluang has the advantage because he is far more experienced, but I think he will bring out the best in Ambunda,” he said.
“In terms of style, it should make for a good fight because Pungluang probably hasn’t come up against a pressing fighter like Ambunda before, and we will have to see how he reacts to Ambunda’s punches,” he said.
“Ambunda has matured as a fighter and this title challenge comes at the right time. But he must bring his form to the ring because he will need it,” he said.
With a bumper crowd expected, Ambunda will have his best chance ever to become Namibia’s third boxing world champion after Harry Simon and Paulus Moses. But a lot will also depend on the support that he receives from his home crowd, so make sure you are there to support Ambunda and witness history in the making.
Some of Namibia’s top professional boxers like Paulus Moses, Tyson Ushona and Vikapita Meroro will be in action on the undercard while there will also be live entertainment throughout the evening. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at Computicket, the Namibian Boxing Control Board office or the Windhoek Country Club.