WATCH: Pinoy Loreto scores highlight KO of former champ Joyi in Monaco

Filipino boxer Rey Loreto seemed like an easy tuneup fight for former IBF minimum weight champion Nkosinathi Joyi, but the Pinoy pulled off an improbable upset with a highlight reel KO.

MANILA, Philippines – On paper, Rey Loreto seemed like a credible, but beatable opponent to get former IBF minimumweight champion Nkosinathi Joyi’s career back on track. Instead, Loreto added the second consecutive former world champion’s scalp to his collection with a highlight reel knockout.

Loreto (18-13, 10 knockouts) of Davao City, Philippines scored an improbable upset on Saturday night, knocking the South African Joyi (24-3, 17 KOs) out at :49 of round three at the Salle des etoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Loreto, 23, ended the fight with one overhand left that knocked Joyi, 31, stiff.

The two southpaws traded punches freely through the first five minutes of action, but a Loreto right hook near the end of the second round rocked Joyi seriously. A Loreto follow-up flurry highlighted by several damaging left crosses left Joyi virtually defenseless in a corner when the bell rang to end the round.

Joyi was still imperiled when the third round began, with the final blow landing as Joyi traded carelessly in a desperate attempt to back Loreto off of him.

UPSET SPECIALIST. Rey Loreto may not have the prettiest looking record but he's building a reputation as a spoiler. Photo from Loreto's Facebook

Joyi, who had won the 105 pound title in 2010 before losing it in his third defense in 2012, has now lost 3 of his last five fights and has likely seen his best days as a fighter pass by.

The win is Loreto’s second straight victory over a world champion, having defeated former WBA minimumweight titleholder Pornsawan Porpramook by a ten-round technical decision in Thailand this past August.

The win opens up big opportunities for Loreto, who turned pro at 17 and lost his first four fights and had spent much of his career losing close decisions in his opponents’ hometowns.

Loreto, who is managed by the Baguio-based Brico Santig, may now be emerging as an unlikely dark horse to contend for a title at 108 pounds. –

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at An archive of his work can be found at Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.