Earlier today at the Panphil B. Frasco Memorial Sports Complex, Liloan, Cebu fight fans were able to see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (11-0-1, 5) claim his biggest win to date, out pointing Jesse Espinas (19-4, 11) over 10 very competitive rounds, to claim the very lightly regarded WBA Asia South Light Flyweight title.
The bout was nip and tuck from the off with neither man ever establish much of a lead. Vicelles got off to the better start, winning 4 of the first 5 on 2 of the scorecards, and 3 of the first 5 on the other card. Espinas however battled back hard, reeling the bout back his way during the middle section of the contest. The hard fight back from Espinas saw him going into the final round well in it, and there was just a point separating them, on all 3 cards, as we entered round 10.
Sadly for Espinas his great fight back was nought with two judges giving the all important 10th to Vicelles, securing him a narrow majority decision win, with scores of 96-94,twice, and 95-95.
Sadly for Espinas this is a second notable loss in a row, following his August 2018 loss to Edward Heno in an OPBF title fight, and the 26 year old Southpaw will really need to rebuild as soon as possible, without another lengthy break.
Vicelles on the other hand is now unbeaten in 12 and and adds Espinas' scalp to a victory over Robert Onggocan in April to rack up his 8th straight win. He's not getting much attention but is clearly a very talented prospect, and the 23 year old is obviously one to make a note of.
Gaballo, the WBA "interim" Bantamweight champion, will be up against Japan's Yuya Nakamura (9-2-1, 7), who continues to fight outside of the Japanese system with bouts in China, Thailand and the Philippines. Nakamura really caught our attention back in December, when he had an unlucky 6 round draw with Yongu Yu, in what was a thoroughly entertaining contest.
Duno on the other hand will be up against Indian foe Kuldeep Dhanda (7-1, 1), who will be fighting outside of India foe the first time. Not only will this be Dhanda's international debut, but also his first bout since December 2017!
Whilst we love the main event between Apolinario and Vicells, we can't help but feel Gaballo and Duno have been matched relatively easily, a pattern we are seeing a little too often with these ESPN5 shows.
Earlier today Filipino promotional outfit Sanman Promotions revealed that their first show of 2019 will be doubleheader, to be held on February 9th in the Philippines and shown on ESPN5.
One of the two main event bouts will see WBA "interim" Bantamweight champion Reymart Gaballo (20-0, 17) whilst the other will feature Lightweight hopeful Romero Duno (18-1, 14). At the moment neither man has had their opponent for the bout's announced but they will be international opponents and will hopefully beat the typical opponent we've seen served up on the main bouts of the ESPN5 cards, such as Gaballo's last opponent Julias Kisarawe, who was just terrible.
The one bout that has been put together will see Dave Apolinario (9-0, 6) battle against Mark Vicelles (9-0-1, 5) for the WBO Asia Pacific Youth Flyweight title, in what is an excellent step up for both men.
We saw a number of Sanman shows on ESPN5 last year and it really did help fans keep up with Filipino hopefuls, and seems to be something that is continuing into the new year, as the channel once again looks to back Filipino boxing, and developing the sport. Sanman Boxing CEO Jim Claude Manangquil is quoted by ESPN.Com as saying:
"I couldn't have done this without the support of ESPN5. They are doing a very noble mission helping Filipino boxers get the exposure they deserve. (The year) 2018 was such a great year for Sanman, will ensure 2019 will even be a more explosive year for us and for Philippine Boxing. This Gaballo and Duno double treat is our way of starting the new boxing year with a bang. We look forward to more world titles for Fiipino boxers and more big events for Sanman,"
With that in mind it seems obvious that there is big plans for ESPN5 to stay involved in the sport, something really needed to try and recapture the Filipino audience, and give fighters a chance to build their names.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!