That mixture of good champions and good contenders was seen again earlier today as WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (17-0, 7) retained his title with an expectedly tough bout against Filipino challenger Toto Landero (10-2-2, 2), with Landero proving he was world class through out the bout. That's despite the fact the challenger entered as a bit of an unknown, with his most notable results being a stoppage loss at domestic level to Joey Canoy and his most notable wins coming against Vic Saludar and Rolly Sumalpong.
The challenger started fantastically, moving well,picking his spots and landing some eye catching combinations which took advantage of Knockout's less that great defense. The champion came foreward a lot, but looked and sluggish in the early moments as Landero rose to the occassion and put on a show case of his ability. The good start from the Filipino came to an end in round 3, as Knockout upped the pressure and showed why he's a world champion. It was however a bit of a blip as Landero got back to work and reeled off not only a comeback round, but several of them as he kept his nose in front, and put Knockout in a hole that he was going to have to fight his way out of.
Knowing he was behind as we entered the second half of the fight Knockout upped his pace, really hammering some heavy shots at Landero in the clinche and slowing his man with solid body blows. It began a surge from the champion, which was particularly impressive in round 9 as it looked like he was beginning to dismantle the challenger, who had to show incredible heart to see off the charge.
As it looked like Knockout was heading towards a late stoppage the challenger not only gritted his teeth and saw out the storm, but had his second wind, landing some smart counters, and made Knockout look very crude at times, as the champion's relative lack of pace showed. The desire from the champion to make a statement wasn't there and instead Landero finished the bout looking the stronger man, and making a solid claim to have won the fight. Sadly however it wasn't to be, as the judges gave the decision to the Thai, with 1 judge only giving Landero a single round.
The story out of Thailand is that Knockout will now face Xiong Zhao Zhong in his next defense, which was reportedly signed before this bout took place, and it may well have been on the Thai's mind through out this bout. For Landero there will be not only disappointment at not winning, but also some anger at the score cards, which we understand were much wider than the action in the ring suggested. Thankfully for the Filipino he is still very young, and given this performance cements himself as a top contender who will remain in the mix for another title fight down the line.