Today there was a pretty big card at the Angono Sports Complex in Angono, Rizal. The card wasn't a stacked one in terms of world class talent, but did have some pretty notable Filipino fighters on it, with a nice mixture of veterans and youngsters on it.
Among those veterans was the returning was the returning Denver Cuello (37-5-6, 25), who was fighting for the first time since the summer of 2018. The former world title challenger, now 32, made light work of Indonesian journeyman Jack Amisa (21-46-2, 14). Amisa seemed to be hurt by everything he was caught with and was dropped in the opening round, before being taken apart in round 2 and being stopped, with the bout being waved off whilst Amisa was on his knees on the canvas. Given the long lay off Cuello looked good, but clearly wasn't the fighter he had once been and will likely want another couple of fights before facing a notable foe.
Another veteran picking up a win was former WBC Flyweight champion Sonny Boy Jaro (45-14-5, 31), who scored a 4th round TKO win over veteran Indonesian Boido Simanjuntak (24-54-2, 10). A third notable Filipino veteran was former world title challenger Ardin Diale (35-13-4, 17), who scored defeated Richard Rosales (13-9-2, 7), who retired after round 3.
As for the youngsters it was 22 year old KJ Natuplag (8-0-2, 7) who impressed, stopping Robert Udtohan (24-6-3, 15) in the 5th round. On paper this is a goof win, though it is Udtohan's 4th stoppage loss in 6 bouts, and his 5th loss in 6, leaving real question marks as to his desire. Another youngster picking up a good win was Adrian Lerasan (7-3, 1), who took an 8 round decision win over the heavy handed Jeny Boy Boca (12-6, 10)
Earlier this year we saw Jonas Sultan (15-4, 9) stink out the joint in a loss to IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, in the first All-Filipino world title fight since the 1920's. Today he bounced back from that loss by out pointing on domestic veteran Ardin Diale (34-13-4, 16).
The fight, like the Ancajas one, failed to really ignite though this time it was Sultan in control with his speed and skills regularly neutralising the more experienced but less talented Diale. Diale, to his credit regularly came forward but often ate clean shots from the more rounded Sultan, who was so much crisper with his punching.
Not only was Sultan landing the better shots but Diale was also spending much of the fight battling with a nasty cut over hit right eye, caused by a clash of heads in round 2. That gave Sultan a place to target and he continued to land the cleaner, sharper blows through the first 5 rounds, as he ran up a clear lead on the score-cards.
In round 6 we finally saw Diale finding his groove and landing a clean combination on Sultan, which he took well. It seemed clear that the blow shots were a wake up call for him, showing that Diale was still there with him. The wake up for Sultan show him get back to his best in round 7, as he landed a number of clean blows, and ended almost every exchange with the better shots.
As the fight wore on into the later rounds the pattern very rarely changed, despite Diale getting more aggressive and having more success in the later rounds, he never looked like he was landing often enough or hard enough to turn the bout around.
At the end of 10 rounds it seemed like a very clean win for Sultan, who failed to set the world on fire despite being in control. The judges agreed, scoring the bout 98-92, twice, and 97-93-, all for Sultan.
Despite being a talent Sultan will struggle to create a fan base and he may well find big opportunities hard to come by due to his style. For Diale, he was almost always second best here.
The next major card from ALA Promotions was announced earlier today, and is set to be a triple header, with the top 3 bouts all being affiliated with the WBO, albeit for a trio of their minor titles.
One of the title bouts will see the once touted Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) defending his WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title against Ghana's George Krampah (14-3, 12). This really should be a straight forward win for Pagara, given the that visitor has been relative inactive in recent years and was stopped in 2 of his last 3, including stoppage losses to Thabo Sonjica and current world champion Isaac Dogboe. Sadly though it doesn't seem like the step forward that the Filipino deserves given his talent and the promise he has.
A much better looking match up will see KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) take on Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) in a mouth watering match up for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. The unbeaten Cataraja is very highly regarded in Asian boxing circles and he has been tipped for major success since turning professional. Despite being highly regarded he hasn't been matched particularly hard, with this being a notable step up in class. Reyes has been matched relatively easily but has been impressive on the Mexican domestic scene, with a good win last time out against Julio Castillo. This really could be the stand out show on the card.
The third title bout will see the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) take on Mexican Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The 22 year old Santisima has been one of the most explosive Filipino prospects in recent years and will be favoured here, especially given he is riding a 14 fight winning run. The visitor however is no push over and in 2016 he scored a major upset over Ryo Matsumoto.
Others on the card include Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) and Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16), who will be facing against each other, and Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
On Saturday we saw a number of Filipino fighters fighting on the road. The first of those was Allan Vallespin (9-1, 8) who suffered a nasty KO in Japan to Masaru Sueyoshi (14-1, 9) [末吉 大] and soon afterwards Diomel Diocos (10-2-3, 3) was stopped by the world class Daigo Higa (12-0, 12) [比嘉 大吾], with both of those set backs coming at the Korakuen Hall.
Later in the day we saw two more Filipino's suffer defeats on the road.
In South Africa it was disappointment for Joey Canoy (12-3-1, 6), who was beat by former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10), who became a 2-time IBO Light Flyweight champion. The Filipino had some moments during the fight but he was out classed by Budler and broken down by the talented South African, who should really begin to turn his focus towards world class Light Flyweights, like Kosei Tanaka, Ryoichi Taguchi and Akira Yaegashi, rather than continue to fight against the likes of Canoy. Budler, one of the most notable South African's in the sport, has still got time time carve out a really notable career, but will have to look to face top fighters in the next 12-24 months if he's going to leave the legacy his ability desevres. As for Canoy this was a third loss in 7 bouts, and and his second stoppage loss in his last 4 bouts, showing the huge gulf between himelf and world class.
The disappointment also travelled to the UK where veteran Ardin Diale (32-11-4, 15) suffered a 10 round shut out defeat to Welshman Andrew Selby (8-0, 5), with Selby claiming the WBC International Flyweight title. Diale had his moments, and exposed some issues with Selby, but lacked the speed to really test the Welshman who was too quick and too smart. Although Diale was shut out he will take positives from this bout, and it was certainly a less punishing contest than his 2016 loss to Higa, in which he was battered into a 4th round stoppage. For Selby the performance showed moments of magicv, but he does look to be some way from a world title bout, and will have a lot of work to do before thinking about contests with the likes of Kazuto Ioka, For Diale the loss probably leaves him as a gatekeeper, though he's a solid one, and came up against someone who was a stylistic nightmare here.
In the UK over the last week or saw we had an interesting announcement regarding the next bout of the super talented Welsh Flyweight Andrew Selby (7-0, 5), who we now know will return to the ring on February 4th. That alone wouldn't be of interest to us, but the part that did interest us is that the Welshman will be up against Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (32-10-4, 15) in what should be regarded as a genuine step up for Selby and also acts as Diale's UK debut.
Selby, a former amateur standout for Team GB, turned to the professional ranks in late 2015 and will be looking to become a professional champion like his brother Lee Selby. This bout will be a chance for the Welshman to stake a claim in the WBC ranking's, as he battles for the WBC International title, and will also see him take on a former world champion who has been in with a number of names for comparison purposes.
Last time out we saw Selby toy with, and stop, Diale's countryman Jake Bornea to claim the IBF Inter-Continental Flyweight title and he'll be looking to continue his winning run here.
Diale is a true veteran, despite only being 28 the same as Selby, and has been in with a veritable who's who. He has fought the likes of Rodel Mayol, Wanheng Menayothin, Johnriel Casimero, Julio Cesar Miranda, Juan Francisco Estrada, Petchbarngborn Kokietgym, Koki Eto and Daigo Higa. Unfortunately has has lost consistently against the bigger names, but will have that experience to bring to the ring here, and should tell us more about what Selby has to offer, as he moves through the ranks.
Sadly Diale hasn't travelled well in the past, and has suffered several punishing losses through his career, but again he's the most accomplished fighter Selby will have faced since turning professional about 15 months.
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