By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
Vic Saludar (19-3,10KO’s) of the Philippines will defend his WBO minimumweight world title against the mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez (13-1,5KO’s) of Puerto Rico. This will be another road battle for Saludar on August 24 with the fight set at the challenger’s home country.
Last February, Saludar successfully defended his title for the first time against Japanese Masataka Taniguchi by unanimous decision at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
The 28 years old Saludar took the title in Kobe,Japan last July 13, 2018 against Ryuya Yamanaka, also by unanimous decision. Saludar decked Yamanaka in round seven with a hard right hand that changed the complexion of what was a close fight in the first six rounds.
Saludar lost in his first world title attempt on New Year’s Eve 2015, when then champion Kosei Tanaka stopped him with a body shot in round six.
“Saludar has already started to train,” Promoter Kenneth Rontal told this writer. Rontal promotes Vic and his brother Froilan here in the Philippines and he heads Championship Boxing Promotions. They decided not to go through the purse bidding that was initially planned on June 27.
“Saludar’s training is going well,” Trainer Jojo Palacios told this writer, “He is very disciplined. This will be our most difficult challenge. We need to be very impressive in this fight, it will be a difficult fight but if the opportunity comes, we will go for a knockout.”
Saludar is a former mainstay of the Philippine amateur boxing team. He won a bronze medal in the light flyweight class in the 2010 Asian Games and his brother Rey won the gold in the flyweight category.
Mendez is the WBO number one contender. The 22 years old southpaw is also ranked number 11 by the IBF and number 14 by the WBA. He was initially reported early this year as an opponent for Filipino Robert Paradero for the right to face Saludar. That fight didn’t push through.
Mendez holds the regional WBO NABO belt. His only loss happened in 2018, by unanimous decision against Nicaraguan Leyman Benavides in the Dominican Republic. In his last fight, Mendez scored a split decision verdict against countryman Janiel Rivera.
Mendez aims to follow the footsteps of countrymen Alex Sanchez and Ivan Calderon who previously held the WBO 105 lb division title.
August 24 will be an exciting day for Philippine boxing; on the same date Filipino Samuel Salva is scheduled to challenge IBF minimumweight world champion DeeJay Kriel of South Africa in Metro Manila.
PHOTO – Vic Saludar
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Filipino contenders Arthur Villanueva (31-3-1,18KO’s) and Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1,22KO’s) both experienced fighting at the world championship level twice and came up short. They will be getting a third shot at glory this July.
Villanueva will be the first to step up to the plate when he fights the undefeated WBC world bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (15-0, 11KO’s) of France at the Barys Arena in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on July 6.
Villanueva was a rising star in Philippine boxing and touted as a future world champ. He was undefeated in 27 fights when he fought Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo in 2015 for the vacant IBF world junior bantamweight title. Villanueva lost a tenth round technical decision. The fight was stopped due to Villanueva’s cut near the right eye. The scores were wide in favor of Arroyo - 98-91 twice and 97-92. But the punch stats told a different story with Villanueva shown to be busier, throwing 494 and landing 95, while Arroyo threw just 278 and landed 77. No rematch happened and Arroyo would lose his title to another Filipino, Jerwin Ancajas.
Villanueva would win his next three fights and got another shot at a vacant title, this time the WBO interim bantamweight belt against South African Zolani Tete. Villanueva lost by a lopsided unanimous decision in Leicester,U.K. Tete would be recognized as the regular world champion by the WBO.
Villanueva went 2W-1L-1D in his next four bouts, which included a 6th round TKO loss to Mexican Luis Nery in Tijuana and a listless performance against countryman Carlo Demecillo in Cebu, a bout that was scored a draw last November.
Villanueva is only ranked number 15 by the WBC. The WBO has him much higher at number 4. Now at 30 years old, time is not on Villanueva’s side. This could very well be his last title shot.
The 32 year old Oubaali is of Moroccan descent and is an accomplished amateur. He won a bronze medal in the 2007 World Amateur Championships in the light flyweight category.
Two years ago, Oubaali scored a seventh round knockout win over Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo. Aside from having won WBO regional belts, Geraldo is known for being the only boxer to beat Jerwin Ancajas seven years ago in Cebu.
Oubaali, a southpaw, won the WBC world title by unanimous decision against American Rau’shee Warren by unanimous decision. This fight was on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s win against Adrien Broner in Las Vegas last January. He will be making his first title defense.
Then on July 12 at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Taconing will challenge WBC world light flyweight champion Ken Shiro of Japan.
Taconing, a southpaw, turned pro in 2007 and had his first title shot in 2012 against then WBC light flyweight champ Thai Kompayak Porpramook (Suriyan Satorn). He lost by a controversial technical decision in the fifth round that left many in the Philippines crying foul. The fight was topped due to a cut on Taconing in round four. The scores read 47-47 and 48-46, 50-45 in favor of Kompayak. There was a protest and a reported review of the fight. The late Ronnie Nathanielz, a famous boxing scribe in the Philippines, wrote that the WBC suspended the referee Jae Bong Kim because of his performance in that fight. But a rematch never happened.
Taconing had to wait four years for another title shot. In between he had notable wins against fellow Filipino Vergilio Silvano and former WBO world champ Ramon Garcia Hirales of Mexico. Taconing traveled to Mexico City but lost to Ganigan Lopez in their WBC light flyweight title bout by unanimous decision.
Taconing racked up six wins since then including a unanimous verdict against young rising local prospect Vince Paras. He is the WBC’s number one contender in the 108 lb division.
The 27 year old Shiro whose real name is Kenshiro Teraji, is unbeaten at 15-0,8KO’s. He dethroned Ganigan Lopez in 2017 and has since compiled five successful defenses, which includes a second round KO of Lopez in their rematch and a seventh round TKO win over Filipino Milan Melindo, a former IBF world champ.
Taconing is now 32 years old. World title shots don’t come very often even in the present era of multiple governing bodies. Just like Villanueva,there will be a sense of urgency when he enters the ring on fight night.
Photo - Arthur Villanueva (left) and Jonathan Taconing
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
WBO number 7 ranked junior lightweight contender Joe Noynay (17-2-1,6KO’s) is in the midst of training for his third trip to Japan when he defends his WBO Asia Pacific title against unbeaten Satoshi Shimizu (8-0,8KO’s) on July 12 at the Edion Arena in Osaka.
The 23 year old Noynay, who hails from the central island of Cebu in the Philippines, has a 1W-1L record in Japan, having lost on points to Reiya Abe in 2017 and stopping Kosuke Saka in two rounds last April. The fight against Saka was for the vacant WBO regional title at 130 lbs.
The 33 year old Shimizu is ranked number 9 at featherweight by the IBF. He has beaten two Filipino boxers, Eduardo Mancito and Carlo Demecillo, who is now the WBO Asia Pacific Youth titleholder at bantamweight.
Shimizu represented Japan at the 2012 Olympics where he won a bronze medal in the bantamweight division. He beat future WBO world champion Isaac Dogboe of Ghana in his first bout. He lost to the eventual gold medalist Luke Campbell of the U.K. in the semifinals.
Shimizu was a member of his country’s Self Defense Force before he retired from service. He holds a university degree in Business Administration.
“My training is going well,” Noynay told this writer. “I know this will be a tough fight. I have already seen a video of his fight. I will just train as hard as I can and pray to God that I can pull off another win.”
Other notable wins in Noynay’s career are his eighth round technical decision victory in 2017 against China’s Pan Jinxiang in Zhongshan and two wins against foreign opponents in the Philippines last year - Mexican Hector Garcia by majority decision and Chinese Zhang Qixiu by 8th round TKO.
“I am not thinking about fighting for a world title just yet.’ Noynay added, “Just focusing on further improvement.”
The current WBO world champion at junior lightweight is American Jamel Herring, who beat Masayuki Ito of Japan by unanimous decision last May in Florida.
Shimizu, listed at 5 foot 10 and a half, would be a couple of inches taller than Noynay. He captured the OPBF featherweight title in his fourth pro bout by beating Korean Sa Myung Noh by TKO in round five.
Noynay vs. Shimizu will be on the undercard of the highly anticipated rematch between Japanese star Ryota Murata and WBA middleweight champ Rob Brant of the U.S.A. Also on the same card, Japan’s Ken Shiro will defend his WBC light flyweight title against Filipino Jonathan Taconing.
Photo – Joe Noynay victorious against Kosuke Saka last April
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Carl Jammes Martin closed the curtains on ESPN 5’s live fight card with his opening round demolition of Thai boxer Yutthichai Wannawong. The bantamweight southpaw from Ifugao province also has the most entertaining ring entrance in the Philippines today, with an entourage dressed in traditional costumes. The actual fight turned out to be short but eye-catching.
Martin landed a stream of shots to the body and finished with a right to the head dropping Wannawong to his knees. Referee Danrex Tapdasan signaled the end at 2:51.
The 20 year old Martin’s two-fisted attacking style is made for television and in his second Metro Manila live show, he once again drew comparisons to the country’s boxing icon Manny Pacquiao. In his post-fight TV interview with Dennis Principe of ESPN 5, he said that Pacquiao is his boxing idol but he never really intended to copy Pacquiao’s style. But when he steps inside the ring, it just turns out that way.
Martin is now 13-0,12KO’s. Wannawong lost his third straight fight by stoppage and is now 9-9,7KO’s.
For more than a decade every Filipino prospect with a decent punch has been compared to Pacquiao. It has more often than not, turned out to a curse rather than a blessing. Most could not live up to the high expectations of the fickle Filipino public.
Martin was modest and honest in his TV interview when he said that he needs more time to develop and it could take three years before he is ready for a world title shot.
For now, he has compiled three regional belts since he turned pro in 2016. He will continue be a television attraction and his fight videos on Youtube have gotten six figure views.
Last February, this writer had a chance to interview Martin in Metro Manila. Aside from Pacquiao, he also cited retired fighters Gerry Peñalosa, a two-division champion and Z Gorres as his other favorites. Martin has Pacquiao’s early fighting style but it would be interesting to see if he can expand his repertoire and develop the technical skills of a Peñalosa and Gorres.
For the rest of Sunday's televised fights – Jayson Mama’s fight against former WBA minimumweight world champ Ekkawit Songnui (Kwanthai Sithmorseng) had a disappointing and bizarre ending. It wasn’t Mama’s fault, he did his job but the Thai boxer, a veteran of 56 fights, complained that he had trouble seeing after being hit by a jab in the third round.
Mama, who is now 13-0,7KO’s, obviously would have preferred a better way to showcase his skills against a former champ in a nationally televised fight.
Dave Apolinario beat Adrian Lerasan by unanimous decision, former WBA interim world titleholder Randy Petalcorin won by TKO in the third round against another Thai, Worawatchai Boonjan, Rolando Servania got a unanimous verdict against Pablito Canada and Robin Dingcong beat Ernel Fontanilla, also by unanimous decision.
Photo from video of Carl Jammes Martin’s fight last February 2019
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Casey Morton (8-1-3,1KO) of Hawaii,USA will get her first world title shot this June 19 in Chiba City, Japan when she takes on the hometown favorite Miyo Yoshida (12-1,0KO) for the vacant WBO female world junior bantamweight title.
Morton, who turned pro in 2014, has been fighting here in Asia since 2017. She has seen action in the Philippines thrice, winning against Thais Phannaluk Kongsang in Mandaue City, Cebu and Kanchana Tungthaisong in Parañaque City. Last March, in her last outing , she beat Japanese Chie Higano by unanimous decision for the WBO Asia Pacific flyweight title, also in Parañaque.
She is trained by Nonito Donaire,Sr., the father of the current WBA super world bantamweight champion Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire.
“Coach Donaire and I are extremely excited and grateful about this fight,” Morton told this writer in an online interview.
Donaire,Sr. was in Morton’s corner in her first appearance in mainland China when she stopped Daorueng Pakkhetanang of Thailand in one round in Suzhou. But in her second bout in China last year, she lost to another Thai, Jutamas Jitpong, by unanimous decision. Morton moved up from 112 to 115 lbs for that fight. Donaire,Sr was also visibly absent in her corner.
“He got the opportunity to assist in Manny Pacquiao’s fight.” Morton said, “He was also opening a restaurant in Gen.Santos City, but Coach Donaire remained in close contact and I continued to train myself.”
“I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to fight in China for another WBO Asia Pacific title. If you turn these fights down, you may never get these opportunities again.” Morton continued to expound on her only loss. If she had won that bout, that would have given her the WBO Asia Pacific belt at 115lbs.
She went down in weight again and at 112lbs, won the regional title against Higano. Morton, a.k.a. the Lady Hawaiian Punch, once again had Donaire,Sr in her corner last March.
Morton believes going up and down in weight will not be problem, “I feel comfortable at both weights. Coach Donaire has a very special way of training.No one else can do what he does.”
This will be her first time to fight in Japan but she has visited the country to watch a pro fight event. “I don’t study a lot of fight film, that’s my coach’s job. As a fighter I may study the wrong habits.”
She doesn’t have any predictions for the fight. “I will always give my opponents gratitude for the opportunity and respect. Coach and I are just excited to give our best performance yet.”
Donaire,Sr has an impressive body of work. Other than his son who won multiple world titles, in 2009, the elder Donaire was tapped to bring experience to the corner of Marvin Sonsona, who would dethrone Puerto Rican Jose Lopez for the WBO world junior bantamweight title. One of his boxers, Joebert Alvarez, won the light flyweight division of the Philippine boxing reality tournament “Buhay Boksingero” in 2011 and would go the distance against Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada in a losing effort in 2014. Morton is the second female boxer Donaire,Sr has trained, the first being Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton, who would go on to win world titles with the WBO and IBA.
Yoshida will not be a pushover. She has captured the Japanese and OPBF titles at bantamweight. Her only loss was in 2016 by unanimous verdict against Yuki Koseki. She has beaten Filipino boxers Kim Actub and Gretel dela Paz. Phannaluk Kongsang of Thailand is their common opponent, having lost to both by unanimous decision.
Morton vs Yoshida will be on the undercard of the WBO world junior bantamweight title bout between Kazuto Ioka (Japan) and Aston Palicte (Philippines) and the WBA super world junior flyweight title fight between champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (Japan) and Tanawat Nakoon (Thailand).
File photo – Casey Morton with trainer Nonito Donaire,Sr in Suzhou,China November 2017.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES – The vacant WBO Asia Pacific Youth bantamweight title will be on the line Wednesday June 5 when Carlo Demecillo and Junrel Jimenez battle in a scheduled ten rounder at the Robinson’s Galleria Mall in Cebu City.
Demecillo (12-5-1,6KO’s) stepped on the scales at 117 lbs while Jimenez was at the division limit of 118. Demecillo’s best performance was a much talked about draw against former world title challenger Arthur Villanueva here in Cebu. He came up short in overseas contests losing to Indonesian Ruben Manakane by split decision in their fight for the WBA Asia super bantamweight title. He lost in Japan twice to Hisashi Amagasa and Satoshi Shimizu.
Jimenez (8-1-1,5KO’s) was a mainstay of the Cebu amateur boxing team and won multiple golds in national tournaments. His only career loss was to Salatiel Amit also here in Cebu City.
More than the WBO belt, a world ranking will be at stake for the winner. The weigh-in held at the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Cebu office was supervised by WBO Vice President for Asia Pacific Leon Panoncillo.
The officials will also be all-Filipino, the referee will be Atty. Danrex Tapdsan with judges Edward Ligas, Edgar Olalo and Tony Pesons.
There are four bouts set for the undercard – Clyde Azarcon (14-2-1,5KO’s) – 104.75 lbs vs Ernesto Alera (5-6-1, 0KO) 108lbs , Virgel Vitor (13-2,7KO’s) – 125.5 lbs vs Jeffrey Stella (4-7-3,4KO’s) – 130 lbs , Rhonvex Capuloy (5-1,3KO’s) – 125 lbs vs Japanese Toushin Battulga (2-0,1KO)- 126 lbs and Elmer Naason (1-0,1KO) – 137.5 lbs vs Matthew Fondales (1-1,0KO) – 140 lbs.
This card is free to the public and will start at 6PM.
PHOTO – Junrel Jimenez and Carlo Demecillo (right) during the official weigh-in
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.