Earlier today RealFight PH broke the news that WBO Oriental Bantamweight champion Vincent Astrolabio (15-3, 11) would be defending his title against world ranked Flyweight contender Genisis Libranza (19-1, 11) on February 27th.
For Astrolabia this will be his third defense since winning the title in April 2019, when he stopped previously unbeaten Indonesian Patrick Liukhoto in 9 rounds in Jakarta. Since then he notched defenses against Kevin Aseniero and Wilbert Berondo, stopping both men.
The 23 year old champion has turned his career around well after suffering 3 defeats in 5 fights, including a decision loss to John Mark Apolinario, a TKO loss to Yuki Strong Kobayashi and a narrow decision loss to ZongLi He in China and will be coming into this bout with some genuine momentum.
Libranza on the other hand is a 27 year old challenger who turned professional in 2014 and was unbeaten until he challenged the then IBO Flyweight champion Mortui Mthalane in 2017., with Mthalane stopping him in 4 rounds. Since that loss he has has reeled off 8 straight wins, including victories over Michael Enriquez, Ryan Rey Ponteras and Renz Rosia. Those wins have seen him climb into the
The current winning run of Libranza has seen him break into the WBO, WBC and IBF world rankings, and he currently has a very high IBF ranking. Despite that he will be moving up in weight for this bout, and we do wonder if he can really compete up at Bantamweight.
This bout has been added to the February 27th card headlined by IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2-1, 11), who will be defending his title against fellow Filipino Rene Mark Cuarto (18-2-2, 11) in General Santos City.
A huge thanks, as always, to Ian Melodillar for bringing this story to our attention.
It's frustrating to see one, very good, looking bout cancelled on a show, but to have 2 bouts is a really bad sign of the lack of professionalism of those involved. Tepora has, reportedly, been having issues with his promoter, but he has still thrown away a fantastic opportunity here. As for Buitrago this is a real mystery given he has typically fought at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight. His ambition, which was being questioned before this fight, appears to have totally vanished.
At the moment it's unclear when Tepora will return to the ring, though given what seems like a genuine frustration with his promoter, it may well be some time before he fights again, and given how he has messed up such a big opportunity, he may struggle to find fighters willing to fight him, just in case he shows this lack of unprofessionalism again. Missing by 1lb, or less, is bad but coming in above the limit for the next division, in a title fight, is disrespectful to the sport, his opponent, the promoter of the event and the title body involved.
On Saturday night in the US Genisis Libranza (17-1, 10) will be taking a huge step up in class as he takes on multi-time world title challenger Carlos Buitrago (30-4-1-1, 17), as part of the under-card for Manny Pacquiao's bout with Adrien Broner.
The little known Filipino prospect, is fighting outside of the Philippines for just the third time in his career, and is facing his second more notable opponent to date, following a 2017 bout with Moruti Mthalane. Despite being relatively unknown, even by those who follow the Asian scene, Libranza is the clear betting favourite, with UK bookies pricing him at 1/16 to win the bout.
Nicaraguan fighter Buitrago, who's losses have all come to world class fighters in the form of Knockout CP Freshmart, Hiroto Kyoguchi and Angel Acosta, is a huge 8/1 to win. That's a huge price given that level he has fought at, even if he has suffered some serious damage in the losses to Kyoguchi and Acosta.
The draw is a huge 33/1.
On the same card we'll also see another once beaten Filipino hopeful, with Jayar Inson (18-1, 12) taking on American foe Jonathan Steele (8-2-1, 6). Inson, like countryman Libranza, is the clear betting favourite here, and is priced at 1/8 to win, whilst Steele is a 7/1 under-dog. As with the other bout, the draw is available at 33/1
We've known for a while that Filipino hopeful Genisis Libranza (17-1, 10) would be featuring on the under-card of Manny Pacquiao's bout with Adrien Broner however his opponent was unknown, until yesterday.
Yesterday it was revealed that the 25 year old Filipino fight would be up against multi-time world title challenger Carlos Buitrago (30-4-1-1, 17), dubbed "Chocorroncito".
The Filipino fighter is a relative unknown on the world scene though has been making a good name for himself on the Filipino domestic scene with wins against a combination of established veterans, like Jetly Purisima, and younger hopefuls, like Renerio Arizala and Renz Rosia. He suffered his only loss when he took a major step up in class, being stopped in 4 rounds by South African Moruti Mthalane back in April 2017, but has bounced back with 7 straight wins. On paper this will be his second toughest bout, only behind the Mthalane one.
Buitrago on the other hand is well known internationally by fans who follow the lower weight classes. He was once seen as being the Nicaraguan star of the future, following in the footsteps of Roman Gonzalez. He was unbeaten when he fought Knockout CP Freshmart for the WBA "interim" Minimumweight title in 2014, losing a controversial decision to the Thai and has gone 3-3 since, losing in a rematch with Knockout and suffering stoppage losses to Hiroto Kyoguchi and Angel Acosta. Sadly he has began to look a little bit washed up and like he has lost his desire.
For Libranza this is a great chance to pick up a big win against a recognisable name and for Buitrago it's a chance to score a win on a big card and begin to turn around his faltering career. Given that both men have something to gain from a win the bout is really interesting, and it's a genuinely hard one to call, either way. Buitrago is the more proven fighter, but we question his desire, Libranza is in good form, but is taking a big step up, for just the second time.
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