THAILAND has been rough to Rocky Fuentes in his past visits there. He has never logged a win there in four fights with three losses and a draw.

To change things around this time, Fuentes, known as the “Road Warrior”, must score a knockout and not leave the fight to the judges.

“Yes. He needs to dominate the fight and hopefully score a knockout to ensure a win,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu.

The 27-year-old Fuentes is gunning for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight strap against former amateur standout Amnat Ruenroeng today at the Lippatapanlop Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Fuentes’ first visit to Thailand was in 2004, in which he dropped a six-round unanimous decision to future world title challenger Panomroonglek Kaitanghadaogym. He returned two months after and suffered a sixth round technical knockout loss to Kaichon Sor Vorapin.

Fuentes’ next visit to Thailand was in 2005 and he settled for a draw with Chana Porpaoin. The hard-hitting Cebuano returned the following year for a rematch with Sor Vorapin but he was still unsuccessful and bowed to the Thai in a lopsided unanimous decision.

Fuentes and the 34-year-old Ruenroeng both tipped the scales at the flyweight limit of 112 pounds.

Fuentes was supposed to be scheduled to fight McWilliams Arroyo in an IBF flyweight title eliminator in Puerto Rico but the fight was cancelled.

Luckily, Ruenroeng needed an opponent after then champion Moruti Mthalane refused to travel to Thailand and defend his belt there. Mthalane was stripped of the title and it gave an opportunity for Fuentes to fight for the vacant crown.

“It will be a great fight. We saw his fight on Youtube against (Julius) Alcos and he really steps in and fight,” said Edmund Villamor, who will be in Fuentes’ corner along with former boxer-turned-coach Michael Domingo.

Fuentes is a 10-year veteran with a 35-6-2 slate along with 20 knockouts, while Ruenroeng is 11-0 with five knockouts.

Fuentes packs a punch with his high knockout rate but if ever he doesn’t find that punch that would end the night, then he should at least dominate the fight to avoid a hometown decision.

“If there will be no knockout, we have to win round by round,” said Villamor.