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Bad Left Hook Scouting Report: Stamp Kiatniwat

Radu takes a look at 18-year-old flyweight Stamp Kiatniwat of Thailand.


Welcome to another edition of Bad Left Hook Scouting Report. This quarter's numbers are looking better than ever. Excluding the impact of the weakening of the US dollar and related currencies (10%) and the impact of various divestments (3%), comparable quarterly sales rose by 4%, reversing the downward trend of the last two years. Income from operations totaled $488 million, driven by an improved performance from Medical Systems, Consumer Electronics (including Licenses) and Semiconductors. Income from operations benefited from significant cost savings resulting from the various cost-saving programs implemented over the last two years. The improvement in income was, however, negatively affected by restructuring and impairment charges, as well as higher pension costs. Especially encouraging is the fact that in the fourth quarter all five product divisions delivered healthy levels of profitability.

So... that all sounds awesome. So far we've covered:

Today we stretch the notion of 'prospect' way down the age ladder and we'll have a look at Stamp Kiatniwat, a Thai kid who, at only 18 years of age, is starting to make a mark in the flyweight division. Kiatniwat turned pro in 2013, having just turned 15 years old (!!!). Compared to other young Thai fighters, his record is arguably a bit more solid, alternating easy bouts with wins over actual former contenders or fellow prospects. He is currently 15-0 with 6 KOs and was designated as one of the top prospects in the flyweight division by our very own Scott Christ. More tellingly, he is recognized by the WBA as their 'interim' champion, although of course Juan Francisco Estrada is the 'super' champion and Kazuto Ioka is the 'regular' champion. I would laugh at the WBA's need to have 3 champions in this weightclass, but I am still researching to make sure there isn't also a 'diamond' champion, a 'platinum' champion, an 'aluminium oxide' champion or, naturally, an 'interim approximate are you seriously not aware there are other people we're taking money from for this title?' champion. Anyway, the WBA likes this kid so let's all have a look at his work thus far. Beware: there are no fewer than 4 twelve-round fights below plus a few others, so watching all of them can take several hours (it took me several days). If you only have time for one of them, I suggest the first Gregorio Lebron bout (his 14th pro bout).

Here is his 9th professional fight, a massive step up against former paper titleholder and multiple-time title challenger Kwanthai Sithmorseng. This one goes the full 12 rounds.

This is his 11th fight, a second round stoppage of professional bout-loser Geboi Mansalayao.

This is his 12th pro bout, a 12-round decision against former Indonesian prospect (now on a losing streak) Espinos Sabu. His 13th pro fight is a 5 round stoppage of another designated bout-loser, Filipino Wilber Andogan. His 14th pro bout is his breakout hard-earned 12-round victory over Dominican prospect Gregorio Lebron, in which he won the ridiculously unnecessary 'interim' WBA flyweight title. This is an excellent bout by the way. His 15th pro bout is a rematch with Lebron, another intensely-contested 12-round contest.

As usual, here is a list of things I noticed, divided into several categories:

The Very Best

1) Punch accuracy. Stamp Kiatniwat has a very good sense of where an opponent's chin is going to be, even when the opponent is moving his head. A great deal of his power punches land straight on the button, especially his left hooks and his straight right hands.

The Good

2) Counterpunching. Kiatniwat is at his best when an opponent gives him an opportunity to counterpunch. He seems very aware of his opponent's offense and almost never misses an opportunity to respond, even in the middle of high-speed combinations.

3) Technique on left hand. His left hook is his best punch. It's very accurate, compact, pretty quick, with good leverage, good weight and good torque.

4) Toughness. He showed in his first fight with Gregorio Lebron that he can withstand many rounds of punishment and still pick himself up and come back to take late rounds. He didn't give up on himself and didn't give up on his gameplan.

5) Work rate. As expected from a flyweight, especially a very young one, he keeps up a sustained level of brutality.

6) Body punching. This is something he only sometimes remembered to do in his early bouts but he has made significant strides. His technique was always very good, but he used to not go to the body often enough, but that seems to have been fixed.

The Decent

7) Power. Normally at the lower weights KO percentages are lower. For a flyweight, he is sufficiently heavy handed. His game definitely revolves around catching, hurting and busting up opponents rather than outworking or outpointing them. But it is worth noting that he doesn't have the stunning one-punch KO power of someone like Naoya Inoue or Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez.

8) Guard. Another part of his game that has improved. It's not perfect, it's not airtight, but he definitely concentrates a lot on keeping his hands up. He kind of has to, since he doesn't really have any other defensive techniques, as we'll see.

9) Defending against body punches. He has this crouching style, head forward and body kept back and out of range, as well as keeping his elbows glued to his ribs. Very difficult to catch with body punches.

10) Overall punch technique. Another area where he has made improvements. His left hand was always tight but his right hand used to be looping, off-balance and thrown out of rhythm. He has now learned to push with his feet on his right hands as well, so his punching technique is now passable.

11) Physical conditioning. On the one hand, there are no fewer than four 12-round bouts above where he managed to go hard up until the final bell. On the other hand, he tends to start rounds strong and then slowly fade and cede initiative towards the end of each round. Better dosage of his energy within each individual round would be welcome.

12) Size. He is listed on Boxrec at 5′ 4½″ , which is decent for a flyweight, but to my eyes he seemed at a slight reach disadvantage in several of his bouts.

The Not So Great But Improving

13) Jab. This used to be a major problem. It has improved to the point where it's just a regular problem. His jab is very deliberate, is very slow, and he delivers it with this very weird bunny hop in his step. He jumps forward just a little bit but doesn't throw the actual jab until his movement has stopped completely, thus losing the weight and the momentum on his punch. This also makes the jab very predictable.

14) Footwork. His footwork is all over the place. His steps are too short, too heavy and he moves his whole body a bit back and then a little too much forward on every step. Basically he moves with his whole body instead of moving only his feet and keeping his upper body tensed.

15) Handspeed. Kiatniwat winds back each punch just a little bit, sort of corking it for a punch. This makes them a bit slow. This has also seen some improvement.

16) Open to counterpunches. He frequently walks into trouble, especially into right hooks and uppercuts.

The Bad

17) Combination punching, punch variation and angles. Kind of a single-shot or at best a one-two puncher. He also seems to employ mostly the same array of left hooks and straight right hands, always from the same angle.

18) Unable to punch on the fly. He needs to plant both of his feet to unload a punch. He never punches when he is moving and he always waits with both feet firmly glued to the ground for an opponent's attack, in order to set up his ever-present counterpunches.

19) Ring movement. Consequently, the more he moves, the less he punches, which basically means he prefers to not move.

20) Head movement. I actually identified this as by far his biggest problem. Charles Martin demonstrated in his 'title defense' against Anthony Joshua how spectacularly a fighter can be dismantled if his chin is always in the exact same place, irrespective of how slow an incoming punch is. Stamp Kiatniwat has the same Batman neck as Martin. He is almost impossible to miss. The only reason I haven't put this in the "Downright Horrible" category is because I have seem some slight improvements in his very last bout. With no head movement and no ring movement, Stamp Kiatniwat is a major sitting duck against any kind of incoming offense.

21) Lack of adjustments mid-bout. I have yet to see more than one gameplan from him.

The Downright Horrible

22) Unable to get out of trouble. The kid never holds and never backs away out of trouble. If he finds himself in a position where he starts taking punishment, he is stuck like a deer in the headlights. This is a recipe for getting stopped suddenly by any sustained flurry from any of his opponents.

23) Open to uppercuts. Stamp Kiatniwat has a very particular stance, crouched forward, head very low. This makes him very susceptible to uppercuts, which he eats all the damn time.

Overall Impression

Well, I cannot say this with enough emphasis: Stamp Kiatniwat is only 18 years old. He's barely turned 18, actually. To say that he is young and is not as good as he could become is an understatement. Yes, there are several big holes in his game. Yes, if he doesn't fix them he isn't likely to become a long-time contender. But he has a hell of a long time to fix them before he enters his prime. Progress has been slow-ish, but I have seen improvements in his punch technique, his body punching and his jab. It's not inconceivable that he will eventually be able to add some head movement, ability to move and punch at the same time and the knowledge of how to grab his way out of a pickle.

But it will all be contingent on his matchmaking. At the current rate it's not inconceivable that we'll see some losses pop up on his record in the near future. He clearly isn't ready to hang with the world's top 10 flyweights. But more important is to start keeping him away from unnecessary wars. The two bouts with Gregorio Lebron were surprisingly taxing on his body. There's only so many wars an 18-year old kid can go through before it starts affecting his development. Hopefully we'll see some more conservative matchmaking for a little while.

Thank you for attending this meeting. You can find all presentation materials on the intranet. Please remember to submit your individual reports by next Friday. Let's all make the next quarter a profitable one and remember the company values and commitment to our customers and leveraging market trends for optimum global brand awareness.

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