By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Filipino boxers Joe Noynay and John Riel Casimero delivered big victories in overseas fights last weekend. Noynay garnered another regional title when he stopped Japanese Kosuke Saka in two rounds for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific junior lightweight title at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.
“I wasn’t expecting the fight to end early. But I caught him early, knocked him down twice in the first, the referee stopped it in the second.” Noynay told this writer.
Noynay may be elated with his win but he isn’t thinking about a world title shot just yet. “That really depends…I will just continue to train hard.”
Noynay is now 17W-2L-1D,6KO’s while Saka drops to 18W-5L,15KO’s.
The current WBO world champion in the 130lb division is a Japanese, Masayuki Ito. Prior to this win, the WBO had Noynay at number ten in their latest rankings. Noynay also exorcised the ghost of his loss in Japan when he lost a unanimous decision to Reiya Abe at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
The 23 year old southpaw from Bogo,Cebu, previously held the Youth version of the WBO Asia Pacific title. Two years ago, Noynay was an underdog in Zhongshan,China when he took the Youth regional belt from previously unbeaten Chinese Pan Jinxiang by eighth round technical decision.
Last year, he returned to his hometown of Bogo and defended his WBO regional belt against Mexican Hector Garcia and prevailed by majority decision.
On the same date in a different time zone, former two-division IBF world champion John Riel Casimero rose to the occasion in his U.S. debut and beat erstwhile WBO number one contender Ricardo Espinoza Franco by TKO in the twelfth and final round for the vacant WBO interim world bantamweight title.
Casimero was ranked number six going into this bout that was initially reported to be for the WBO International belt.
But it was reported four days before the contest that it will be for the interim world title. The current WBO champion, South African Zolani Tete, is currently tied up with the World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament.
Casimero had to leave without trainer Jhun Agrabio, who had visa issues. Former WBO light flyweight champ, Rodel Mayol stepped up to work in his corner. Casimero left the Philippines ten pounds over the limit but Mayol told this writer that three days before the weigh-in that Casimero would make weight. And he did, at 116.8lbs while the much taller Ricardo Espinoza weighed 117.8lbs.
Agrabio told this writer after the fight that Casimero stuck to their game plan. But, before the fight was stopped the scores after eleven rounds were 105 - 103 Casimero, 105 - 103 Espinoza and 104 – 104. This underscores the heart of toughness of Casimero.
Casimero is now 27-4,18KO’s. Espinoza is 23-3,20KO’s.
What made this win more amazing was that it was only two months ago that he confidently stated that he would be targeting another belt at 118 lbs.
“It was Casimero being a veteran that made the difference in this bout.” Mayol stated.
The 30 year old Casimero, from Ormoc, Leyte, previously held a WBO interim world title in the junior flyweight division.
He captured IBF world titles at junior flyweight and flyweight. He is a noted road warrior, having previously seen action in eight different countries. He is also known for surviving an infamous ring riot in Argentina in 2012.
We will wait and see what happens next and how he will fit in after the WBSS tournament is over.
Photo – Joe Noynay (left) and Johnriel Casimero
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Former IBF junior flyweight and flyweight world champion John Riel Casimero of the Philippines made it known a couple of months ago that he would be seeking a third world title belt as a bantamweight. He is penned to fight for the WBO International title in the 118lb division this April 20 and a win will move him one step closer towards his dream.
The 30 year old Casimero (26-4,17KO’s) will face Ricardo Espinoza Franco (23-2,20KO’s), a young 21 year old Mexican, in Carson,California. This will be the first U.S. appearance for Casimero, who has seen action in eight different countries.
After a brief rest following his impressive sixth round TKO win against Japanese Kenya Yamashita at the Skydome in Quezon City, Casimero continued his training in the Philippines under Jhun Agrabio. Casimero has left the Philippines for the U.S. but Agrabio had to stay behind waiting for his visa.
“Casimero is still ten pounds over the limit but I am confident he can lose it before the official weigh-in,” Agrabio told this writer, “I already saw a video of his opponent and we trained so he can knock the guy out.”
Weight issues are nothing new to Casimero. In fact, when he faced Amnat Ruenroeng in their rematch in Beijing in 2016, both reached a point where they were too weak to stand in their effort to make weight. Casimero took Ruenroeng’s IBF flyweight title by fourth round TKO. Casimero also lost his IBF junior flyweight title at the scales in 2014. In between the weight problems, Casimero has given fans memorable action packed bouts. He is currently ranked number six by the WBO.
Two years ago, his plans to win a third world title got derailed when he lost to countryman Jonas Sultan by unanimous decision in an IBF junior bantamweight title eliminator held in Cebu City.
Casimero spent time in the United States last year, where he trained with Morris East, a Filipino former WBA world junior welterweight champ. He had one fight in Tijuana, Mexico, an easy second round TKO win over Jose Pech.
Franco will not be a pushover. He has a high KO percentage and holds the WBO Latino bantamweight title. He has seen action in the U.S. multiple times and he has never been stopped. His last bout was a tenth round knockout win over Panamanian Ricardo Nuñez.
The World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament is still ongoing and it would be interesting to see where Casimero will fit in all of this if he gets past Franco.
Photo- John Riel Casimero after winning his fight against Kenya Yamashita
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
DUBAI,UAE- The Emirates Golf Club in Dubai hosted a well-attended international fight card Friday with eleven bouts and two major ranking belts at stake. Interest in the sport of boxing is growing in this part of the world. Dubai is inhabited by a majority of expats, many of which come from countries where boxing has enjoyed a huge popularity.
The show billed as “The Fight-DXB Uncovered” was made possible by the partnership of Dubai’s Round 10 Boxing Club and MTK Global as well as ESPN AND Top Rank.
The local attraction was Majid Al-Naqbi, who beat Vladmir Lytkin, a Russian based in Thailand, by TKO in round four. This was Al-Naqbi’s professional debut. He stated in his post-fight ring interview that he is only the second in Dubai’s history to fight as a pro. He overpowered his Russian opponent, decked him in the final round and the referee had to step in to avoid further damage.
The lightweight Al-Naqbi was the main reason why Dubai royalty were in attendance. But he attracted boxing royalty as well, with former world champ “Prince” Naseem Hamed seated at ringside for the historic outdoor event.
The headline bout saw Dubai-based Nigerian Aliu Bamidele “Lucky Boy” Lasisi get off the canvas to score a grueling twelve round unanimous decision over Ricardo Blandon of Nicaragua.
Blandon knocked down Lasisi at the end of round three and Lasisi was also deducted a point for a head butt in round four. But Lasisi stormed back and dropped a fading Blandon in round ten to pull out a 114-111 win on all three cards and the vacant WBC International belt.
Lassisi is now 13-0,8KO’s. Blandon goes down to 10-2,6KO’s.
In the battle for the vacant WBO European featherweight crown, Irishman David Oliver Joyce (10-0, 8 KOs) kept his unbeaten record when he stopped Scotsman Stephen Tiffney (10-2, 4 KOs) in the seventh round.
For the rest of the action packed undercards – Dubai based Filipino expat Larry Abarra beat Ghanaian Raymond Commey by unanimous decision, Afghan Hassibulah Ahmadi got a split decision against Thai Manut Comput.
Kazakh Sultan Zaurbek was impressive and he caught China’s Chenghong Tao with a sneaky right to the jaw and knocked him out in the fifth, Uzbekistan featherweight Shakhobidin Zoirov, who captured a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won his pro debut with a first round stoppage of Anthony Holt of Indonesia, Australian Mateo Tapia stopped Gaganpreet Sharma of India in the eighth round, Abilkahiyr Shegaliyev of Kazakhstan beat Trimuraz Abuladze of Georgia by TKO in the opening round, Saudi Arabian Zuhayr Al Qahtani won by unanimous decision over Indian Sk Saheb, and in a female boxing match, Armenian Anahit Aroyan beat Thai Nongnum Sor Praithong by unanimous verdict.
Dubai has hosted big events in the past. In 2013, at their World Trade Center, the first world male champion from China, Xiong Chaozhong, retain his WBC straweight title against Filipino Denver Cuello by majority decision.
But regular sanctioned pro cards have been few and far in between. In 2014 and 2015, ALA Promotions of the Philippines brought in their star boxers in a show packed by the Filipino workers living in Dubai. There were always rumors of Manny Pacquiao fighting in Dubai but it never happened.
Boxrec records show that there was only one Dubai fight card in 2018, none in 2017, with two small shows in 2016.
But now they have a local hero to root for in the person of Majid Al-Naqbi. And with the partnership of Dubai’s Round 10 Boxing Club and MTK Global, this could very ignite a boxing boom.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Filipino contender Joe Noynay (16W-2L-1D,5KO’s) is slated to fight Kosuke Saka (18W-4L,15KO’s) of Japan for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific junior lightweight title at the Edion Arena in Osaka,Japan.
Noynay, a 23 year old southpaw from Bogo,Cebu, previously held the Youth version of the WBO Asia Pacific title. He was an underdog in Zhongshan,China when he took the belt from previously unbeaten Chinese Pan Jinxiang by eighth round technical decision in 2017. Noynay dropped Pan twice before the fight was stopped due to Noynay’s worsening cut that was inflicted by an accidental headbutt.
The February 2019 ratings of the WBO has Noynay at number 11 in the 130 lb division.
Saka, a 27 year old Osaka native, won the Japanese featherweight title in 2017 by third round TKO against Shota Hayashi.
Hayashi is known to Filipino fight fans having fought in Bohol,Philippines in 2017 and lost by unanimous decision to Mark Magsayo.
Saka lost in his first defense by fifth round knockout to Takenori Ohashi. The fight had a rather bizarre ending when Saka, who was reeling from a series of hard punches, turned his back during the last ten seconds of the round and was caught by a hard right and went down for the count.
Saka bounced back in 2018 with two wins via the short route against Masanori Rikiishi and Indonesian Gusti Elnino.
The previous holder of the WBO Asia Pacific title, Japanese Masao Nakamura, was reported to have retired in a story posted on asianboxing last March 5.
Noynay informed this writer in a short internet chat that his training is going well. He also said he has seen fight films of Saka.
Videos of Saka’s fights show him to be an all-action volume puncher. This could pose problems for Noynay but it is a style he is all too familiar with. Last year, he defended his WBO regional belt against Mexican Hector Garcia in his hometown of Bogo and Noynay had to dig in deep against the Mexican’s pressure and came up with a majority decision win.
Noynay is a bit anxious about returning to Japan, having suffered his second career loss at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo last February 28,2017 against Reiya Abe by unanimous decision. Fight report on this website stated it was a close and competitive bout with the final scores of 77-76,77-75,78-75.
“I will just try my best, train hard and leave it up to God,” Noynay told this writer.
The fight against Saka is set on April 20.
(File photo - Joe Noynay winning in China against Pan Jinxiang in 2017)
By Rene Bonsubre
Filipino Vic Saludar came up with another victory on the road and retained his WBO world minimumweight title by unanimous decision against Japanese challenger Masataka Taniguchi at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
Saludar was tentative in the opening canto, with two of the three judges giving the round to Taniguchi. Saludar pulled away in rounds two to six, using his long jab and lateral movement, effectively sidestepping whenever the southpaw Taniguchi tried to close in and land his left. Taniguchi continued to press the action but fell prey to Saludar’s hard counters.
Sensing he was falling behind past the halfway mark, Taniguchi tried to engage at close quarters. His aggressiveness earned him the seventh round. The Japanese’s forward action continued trying to bulldoze his way and disrupt the Filipino’s game plan of fighting on the outside.
Saludar defused the situation. He showed poise and accuracy in the endgame, sweeping the last three rounds in all the three judges’ cards.
The scores - Luis Ruiz (Puerto Rico) - 118-110, Chris Tellez (USA) -117-111 and Surat Soikrachang (Thailand)- 117-111. The referee was Kenny Bayless (USA).
Saludar is now 19-3,10KO’s while Taniguchi drops to 11-3,7KO’s. Trainer Michael Palacios was in Saludar’s corner for this fight. Taniguchi came into this fight with wins against Filipinos Joel Lino, Joey Bactul, Benjie Bartolome, Dexter Alimento, Vincent Bautista and Raymark Taday
“Ring generalship, how he controlled the fight and patience were essential in this victory,” Saludar’s promoter Kenneth Rontal told this writer after the fight.
Saludar’s skill level was sharpened by his stint with the Philippine amateur boxing team. He was a bronze medalist at the 2010 Asian Games in the 52kg category.
When asked if Saludar can defend his title on home soil, Rontal said they haven’t thought about it yet. “We just would like to thank all those who supported us and rest for the meantime.”
This was Saludar’s first defense of the title he won in July of last year in Kobe, Japan against Ryuya Yamanaka.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Fight cards that are free to the public are quite common in the Philippines. They can be seen in small towns during fiestas and even in the major cities. The downside is that these promotions don’t usually get a lot of attention in the major newspapers and television. So it’s up to the truly die-hard fans to monitor where and when these cards are happening.
The Greenery, an establishment in Cebu City that houses restaurants and spas, hosted a seven bout fight card within its grounds. The main event was a slam-bang eight rounder between Clyde Azarcon (14-2-1,5KO’s) and Gary Rojo (9-12-1,5KO’s). Azarcon had previously lost to Rene Mark Cuarto in a WBO Oriental miniflyweight title bout. Rojo, on paper, was not expected to put up much of a resistance. But it turned out to be a nip and tuck affair.
Both boxers were willing to trade at close quarters, much to the delight of the small crowd that gathered on a Saturday night. In the fourth, a sharp one-two combo sent Rojo down. He got up and managed to survive Azarcon’s efforts to finish him. Rojo looked to be in more trouble in the fifth when he dazed and knocked down by an accidental head butt. After being given five minutes to recover, he finished the round by bloodying Azarcon’s nose.
Heavy trading in center ring continued in the subsequent rounds. Just when it seemed Azarcon was headed for a points win, Rojo knocked him down in the final round and managed to save the fight. The three judges came up with a majority draw – 75-75 twice and 76-75.
They were fighting for the vacant VISPROBA light flyweight title, which is a stepping stone to a higher ranking in the Philippines.
In the undercards – Carlo Demecillo decked Jeffrey Stella for the ten count in round four, Mark Rotilles decided not to go on fighting for round three against Rhonvex Capuloy, Brian James Wild stopped Mikey Durano in two rounds.
Taiwanese Ming Hung Lee suffered his first career loss against Matthew Fondales by unanimous decision. Fondales landed the harder punches all night long winning 39-37 twice and 40-36.
April Jay Abne knocked down Marvin Laping three times in the opening round prompting the referee’s stoppage and Arian Melgo dropped Patrick Dakay twice in round one and won by TKO.
The fight card was promoted by Big Yellow Promotions.
During the lean pre-Manny Pacquiao years, it was the free boxing shows that managed to keep the fans interested. In small towns, it is usually the local government that foots the bill. On the negative side, Filipino fight fans expect to watch boxing for free. In fact, in 2016, the IBF world junior bantamweight title fight between Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo and Jerwin Ancajas was held for free in Metro Manila inside a military base. It is only in Cebu City where promoters have a paying audience. But even in the city known as the Philippines’ boxing hotbed, two promoters have decided to close shop. Still, these free to the public boxing shows will continue because they have become part of the country’s boxing tradition.
By Rene Bonsubre,jr
It was a night filled with brutal knockouts but John Riel Casimero’s beatdown of Japanese Kenya Yamashita had the more veteran observers buzzing. Boxing writers who attended the official weigh-in wondered if he could carry his punching power a couple of divisions higher. One of the reasons for this uncertainty was his lethargic showing against Jonas Sultan in an IBF junior bantamweight eliminator a couple of years ago.
Yamashita did manage to take Casimero’s punches early in the fight. But Casimero added body shots to his offense as the rounds progressed and Yamashita was bruised, bloodied and dazed at the end of the fifth. There was concern already about Yamashita’s well-being with the ring doctor checking in on him before the start of the sixth.
The fight was allowed to continue and a sharp right uppercut sent Yamashita crashing into his corner. Medical personnel attended to him before he was able to leave the ring on his own two legs.
That win last Saturday was Casimero’s warning shot to the bantamweight division. He told this writer during the weigh that he intended to win another world title as a bantamweight. The fight against Yamashita dismissed any doubts as to whether he was still a viable force.
“I heard Jerwin Ancajas is planning a move to 118,” Casimero told this writer, “Well, I am going to beat him to it. I will be going for the big fights before he does.”
There is still an ongoing World Boxing Super Series bantamweight tournament but Casimero did mention recently crowned WBC champ Nordine Oubaali of France as one of those that he would like to fight.
Casimero’s upset loss to Sultan prevented him from being part of the first all-Filipino world title fight in almost a hundred years. Ancajas outclassed Sultan and successfully defended his IBF junior bantamweight title by unanimous verdict.
The chatter after the Yamashita fight was how did an accomplished two-division champion like Casimero lose to an upstart like Sultan. Casimero won IBF world titles at 108 and 112 lbs. He has been a pro for a dozen years now and beat the likes of Luis Alberto Lazarte, Pedro Guevara, Amnat Ruenroeng and Charlie Edwards. Casimero is also a noted road warrior, having fought in eight different countries. He is also known for surviving an infamous ring riot in Argentina after he beat Lazarte. Boxing insiders who gathered at ringside talked about his inconsistencies in training. He does have a history of gaining a lot of weight in between fights. In fact, he lost his IBF junior flyweight title at the scales in 2014.
The 30 year old Casimero is now 26-4, 17KO’s. The veteran boxing writers who followed his career all agree that with dedication and discipline, he can be a world champion again. In his fight against Yamashita, he was reunited with cornerman Jhun Agrabio, who guided him in his revenge fourth round TKO win against the Thai Ruenroeng in Beijing, China in 2016.
Last year, Casimero trained with Morris East, a Filipino former WBA world junior welterweight champ, in Las Vegas. Casimero had one fight in Tijuana, Mexico,an easy second round TKO win over Jose Pech.
By Rene Bonsubre,jr
The Peñalosa surname holds a special place in Philippine boxing history. Most fight fans remember the two brothers Dodie Boy and Gerry, who had four world title belts between them. But it was the family patriarch, Carl Peñalosa, who started it all in the 1960’s. He won the Philippine championship at lightweight and junior welterweight.
His son, Diosdado, aka Dodie Boy, is known for being the first Filipino to win world titles in two different weight divisions. A slight handicap of having one shorter leg due to childhood polio did not stop him from pursuing boxing as a profession. In 1983, he was the first light flyweight world champion of the IBF. Dodie Boy beat Japan’s Satoshi Shingaki by 12th round TKO in Osaka. In his first attempt to win a world flyweight title, he lost to Panama’s Hilario Zapata, who held the WBA belt, by unanimous decision in 1986 in a fight held in the Philippines.
In 1987, he took the IBF flyweight crown from Hi-Sup Shin of South Korea by 5th round TKO in Incheon. Dodie Boy lost his title on home soil by 11th round knockout to another Korean Chang-Ho Choi.In 1989, he would lose a split decision to Dave McAuley by split decision in his final attempt to win the IBF flyweight title.
Dodie Boy finished his career in 1995 at 31-7-3,13KO’s.
Two years after Dodie’s retirement, his younger brother Geronimo aka Gerry, dethroned WBC super flyweight champion Hiroshi Kawashima of Japan by split decision in Tokyo. Gerry is known for being the best counterpuncher and ring technician produced by the Philippines. His career hit a snag when he lost his title by split decision to Korean In-Joo Cho in Seoul.He lose again in a rematch and losses to Japanese Masamori Tokuyama twice made him go into a brief retirement in 2003.
Gerry would make a comeback and in 2007 he fought as a junior featherweight and lose a unanimous decision to WBO titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon. But against all odds, Gerry won his second world title at bantamweight, knocking out WBO champ Jhonny Gonzalez with a body punch in 2007 in Sacramento.
He would be stopped by Juan Manuel Lopez in 2009 in another attempt to win a third world title. Gerry retired in 2010 with a record of 55-8-2,37KO’s.
Gerry is now a promoter. He promotes his nephews who have decided to continue the family legacy. Dodie’s son- Dodie Boy,Jr - was a rising star but has been inactive since 2016. He is unbeaten at 19-0,15KO’s.
Dodie Junior’s brother Dave is now the star in the family. Against the wishes of his uncle, he pleaded to continue his boxing career. Gerry obliged to promote him in televised fights last year. Dave Peñalosa (14-0,10KO’s) will be pitted against Marcos Cardenas (19-6-1,15KO’s) on February 16 for the WBO Oriental featherweight title at the SM Skydome in Quezon City in the Philippines.
Another Peñalosa clan member, Carlo Caesar, will fight Thai Watana Phenbaan on the undercard.
Gerry will be looking closely at his nephews in this fight card and assess if they have the right stuff to go all the way. He told this writer after the weigh-in. “They kept calling me a couple of years ago, asking for a fight. They want to continue boxing. They insisted on it. I told them to be very serious in their training. If they give an impressive performance, I will continue to promote them, and let them fight for a world title.”
It will be interesting to see if the next generation of Peñalosas can equal or even surpass the clan’s accomplishments. There will be a lot of pressure on them in the Philippines. The fight card this Saturday is one of the few cards in the country that will be aired live on free television. ESPN5/TV5 has been supporting local boxing in this regard and during the press conference after the weigh-in, they announced that ratings have been very good.
Photo – Carlo Caesar and Dave Penalosa during Friday’s weigh-in in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Winning a world title is supposed to bring huge benefits to a boxer’s career. But for Marlon Tapales, it meant periods of inactivity.
Three years ago, he waged the fight of his life against Pungluang Sor Singyu (Panya Uthok) in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Tapales had to rise from the canvas twice in the fifth, endure the pain inflicted by brutal body shots, to stop the Thai in round eleven.
Tapales was praised by sportswriters not only for winning the WBO world bantamweight title but for beating someone who had a long list of Filipino victims on his resume. But still, he remained overlooked by the casual fans in the talent rich Philippine boxing scene.
Being dormant for nine months led to losing his title on the scales in Japan. Tapales was a huge favorite against Shohei Omori, a man he already stopped in two rounds in 2015. But despite his efforts to make weight, he was still more than a pound above the division limit of 118.
The title was declared vacant but the fight pushed through with Tapales winning by 11th round TKO. He returned home an ex-champion and his team made known their plan to move him up to junior featherweight. But, he had to wait seventeen months for another fight.
In those months of inactivity, there were reports of Tapales being matched against Mexican Cesar Juarez for the interim WBO junior featherweight crown. The rumor that circulated here in Cebu was that the offer was eventually turned down because Tapales’ management and trainer felt he did not have enough time to prepare. This decision left a lot of boxing pundits scratching their heads; Juarez lost to Isaac Dogboe by TKO in round five in January of 2018.
Tapales’ only fight last year was an easy opening round knockout of Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema in Metro Manila.
The good news is he is slated for a fight in Los Angeles this February 16 against Fernando Vargas Parra (34-14-3,23KO’s) of Mexico. This card features WBA super world featherweight champ Leo Santa Cruz defending against Rafael Rivera.
A few days ago, a video uploaded on social media showed Tapales hitting the mitts with former WBC light flyweight champ Rodel Mayol, who now works as a trainer in California.
“Marlon is already an excellent fighter,” Mayol told this writer in an internet chat, “He won a world title before,he will be a champion again.”
The 26 year old Tapales (31-2,14KO’s) hails from Lanao del Norte in the Philippines. He has been a pro for more than ten years now. For the better part of his career, he fought under Rex “Wakee” Salud Promotions. Many feel he has not lived up to his full potential and that with his skill level he could have reached the same heights as Nonito Donaire and Donnie Nietes. The latest super bantamweight/ junior featherweight rankings has him at number 6 in the WBO and number 7 in the IBF.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Filipino contender Genesis Servania (32-1,15KO’s) will risk his lofty world ranking when he takes on unbeaten Carlos Castro (21-0,9KO’s) of Phoenix, Arizona in Fresno, California on February 10.
The 27 year old Servania collected three straight wins since suffering his only career loss in a world title bout against WBO featherweight champ Oscar Valdez in Tucson, Arizona two years ago. Servania was in China last December sparring with Chinese boxer Xu Can, who would go on and dethrone Jesus Rojas of Puerto Rico for the WBA featherweight world title.
Servania’s lone loss was actually an impressive performance and earned him a contract last year to fight under Top Rank Promotions. He is currently ranked the number one featherweight contender by the WBA and WBO and number five by the IBF. If Servania gets past Castro, it would be interesting to see if he will go for a rematch against Valdez or target the newly crowned Xu.
Servania’s last fight was at the Oracle Arena in Oakland last September and he showcased the power in his right hand by decking Carlos Carlson of Mexico in three rounds. Servania has arrived in the United States accompanied by his Japanese manager Naoyuki Kashimi and trainer Mark Gil Melligen.
“My training went very well,” Servania told this writer, “I only looked at Castro’s fight video only once, but we prepared for his fighting style.”
The 24 year old Castro beat Alexis Santiago by TKO in the tenth round to capture the vacant WBC USNBC super bantamweight title last year. All of his fights were held in his native Arizona.
Servania vs Castro will be on the undercard of the WBC world super lightweight title bout between Jose Carlos Ramirez and challenger Jose Zepeda set at the Save Mart Arena.
Servania was one of the headliners of ALA Promotions in the Philippines before he transferred to the Kashimi Boxing Gym in Japan three years ago.
He joined a long list of Filipino boxers and trainers who decided to seek greener pastures in Japan. This trend that has been going on for decades. Now, Filipino boxers and trainers are also going to China to earn more money. Boxing in the Philippines may have been boosted by the worldwide popularity of Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire but most Filipino boxers and trainers still do not earn enough to support their families. Very few promoters are making a profit. Even in the island of Cebu, long considered the boxing capital of the Philippines, two prominent promoters are no longer active.
The Philippines will continue to produce talented boxers like Servania, but it is tragic that local boxing continues to suffer from lack of sponsors.
Photo – Genesis Servania with trainer Mark Gil Melligen celebrating their win last September
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.