Back in August MP Promotions won the purse bid for an IBF Bantamweight title eliminator between former champion Lee Haskins (35-4, 14) and unheralded Filipino Kenny Demecillo (14-4-2, 8). The winning bid was a tiny $26,000, will be split 60/40 in favour of Haskins, and it was through that the former champion would else where for his next bout. Instead it seems that the Englishman is happy to accept the pay day to face Demecillo with the two teams now said to have agreed a venue and date for the fight.
According to multiple sources the bout has been added the October 21st card in Manila, which is set to be headlined by a IBF Light Flyweight world title bout between Nicaraguan puncher Felix Alvarado (33-2, 29) and slick boxing Filipino Randy Petalcorin (29-2-1, 22).
The bout will be a huge step up in class for the 26 year old Demecillo, though he has performed well as an under-dog in the past, beating the likes of Daryl Basadre and Vyacheslav Mirzaev in bouts he was expected to lose. As for Haskins it's a huge chance to put himself back in the title mix at the age of 35. The "Playboy", who claimed the IBF title back in 2015 by stopping Ryosuke Iwasa before losing it in his third defense, will know that a win here secures him another shot at the gold, whilst a loss likely ends his career.
The winner of the Demecillo Vs Haskins bout would become the leading IBF contender, though would certainly have to wait for a shot at the title, as it's tied up in the soon to begin World Boxing Super Series. That title is actually being defended in a mandatory bout on October 20th as part of the WBSS with Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12) defending it against Jason Moloney (17-0, 14) and the winner will progress to the WBSS semi-final before the final takes place. Only then is the winner of the eliminator likely to get a shot at the belt, which could end up being unified with the WBA and WBO titles, or could be left vacant by the winner who may decide to pursue new tests at Super Bantamweight.
Over the next two years or so we're expecting to see a lot of exciting action in the Bantamweight division thanks to the one of the upcoming WBSS tournaments being held at 118lbs. Despite the WBSS featuring a lot of the top talent, such as Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14) [井上 尚弥], Ryan Burnett (19-0, 9), Zolani Tete (27-3, 21) and Emmanuel Rodriguez (18-0, 12) the division won't be sitting still waiting for the winner. We already know that on September 11th we'll be getting a WBC Bantamweight world title eliminator between Takuma Inoue (11-0, 3) [井上 拓真] and Mark John Yap (29-12, 14).
Also in the works is an IBF eliminator, which would see former champion Lee Haskins (35-4, 14) take on Filipino Kenny Demecillo (14-4-2, 8).
The bout went to purse bids yesterday with MP Promotions, the promotional company of Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, having the winning bid. Unfortunately it was a rather paltry sum of just $26,000 which would be split 60/40 in favour of Haskins. That would mean the Englishman, who won the title with a stoppage win over Ryosuke Iwasa back in 2015, would get $15,600 whilst Demecillo would get $10,400. If the fight takes place, which given those sums of money is unlikely, especially given that Haskins could get more for fighting on the domestic scene rather than travelling to the Philippines to take on the unheralded Demecillo.
The promoter has 90 days to stage the bout, with the winner set to become the mandatory for the IBF title. That title is currently held by the aforementioned Rodriguez, though would likely be unified with the WBO and WBA titles by the end of the WBSS at some point in the next 18 or so months.
After winning the title in June 2015 Haskins made 2 defenses, defeating Ivan Morales, the younger brother Erik Morales, and Stuart Hall, himself a former IBF Bantamweight champion, but suffered a loss when he faced then mandatory Ryan Burnett in June 2017. Since then he has fought just once, defeating Isaac Quaye with a 6 round points decisions.
As for Demecillo his career has been blotchy at best with most of his fights taking place on the Filipino domestic scene. He has suffered losses to the likes of Eduaro Mancito, Jetro Pabustan and Mark Anthony Geraldo but an upset win this past March over Vyacheslav Mirzaev in Russia has certainly helped boost his ranking. Other notable opponents that Demecillo has faced including Edrin Dapudong, who he drew with in 2015, Daryl Basadre, who he has stopped twice, and Jestoni Autida, who he beat in 2016.
Despite the low purse we suspect Demecillo will be wanting to go ahead with the bout, due to the potential doors it could open, whilst Haskins may well begin to look for other opportunities, due to the very low purse.
Yesterday Filipino fans at the Robinson's Galleria in Cebu City had the chance to see an interesting card with several bouts of note, including two title bouts and a major debut.
The debut was that of 2012 Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga (1-0) who took to the professional scene like a duck to water as he took a 6 round decision win over teenager Melvin Manangquil (1-2-2, 1). Barriga, who is tipped to be a huge success over the coming years, was a run away winner with a clear decision here. Whilst the 23 year old may have been looking for a stoppage he did dominate the bout winning with cards of 60-54, and 59-55, twice.
Barriga wasn't the only prospect on the card with unbeaten puncher Christian Araneta (12-0, 10) also fighting on the under-card. Araneta made very light work of the experienced, but fragile, Charlie Cabilla (14-19-4, 2), who lasted just 98 seconds with Araneta. Araneta did struggle last time out, taking a split decision over Ryan Tampus but he does appear to be a legit prospect with notable wins over Jason Neri and Jesse Espinas
Another unbeaten puncher in action here was Jack Tepora (18-0, 13), who successfully defended his WBO Asia Pacific Youth Super Bantamweight title with an opening round destruction of Bryan Capangpangan (10-3-1, 7), who was downed 4 times in 154 seconds! Tepora is tipped for huge things following a very successful amateur career and at 23 time is on his side. For Capangpangan this bout loss will be very hard to rebuild from.
In the shows other title bout Kenny Demecillo (11-3-2, 7) defended the World Boxing Federation Asia Pacific Bantamweight title with a split decision victory over Rambo Lagos (8-2-2, 5). This was a really well matched bout and the judges struggled to split the men with all 3 judges scoring it 96-94, though two of the judges favoured Demecillo who recorded the second defense of the title.
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