Yesterday in Leyte notable Filipino fighters had the chance to shine, in really awful mismatches as ALA Promotions tried to keep some of their best fighters ticking over.
One of the notable fighters on this card was former world title challenger Jonas Sultan (16-5, 10), who bounced back from a loss in South Africa to Athenkosi Dumezweni. The skilled, yet often frustrating, Sultan scored a 7th round TKO win over fellow Filipino Salatiel Amit (11-7-2, 8). Sultan was one of two former world title challengers on this card, joined by Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9), who also scored a 7th round TKO win as he took out Reymark Taday (9-10-1, 4).
Higher up the card was two promising prospects with their eyes on getting to world level.
One of those hopefuls was Albert Pagara (32-1, 23), who blew away Lucky Tor Buamas (12-4, 12), aka Ratchanon Sawangsoda inside a round. The talented Pagara, who really deserves so much better than to share the ring with Lucky, was fighting for the first time since last November though hardly broke a sweat in getting rid of the over-matched Thai.
The other youngster with eyes on world title glory was Jeo Santisima (18-2, 15), who easily dismissed Alvius Maufani (6-4-2, 3), also in the first round. As with Pagara this wasn't really a bout worth having for Santisima, whilst Maufani has now gone 0-3-1 in his last 4.
Earlier this year we saw Jonas Sultan (15-4, 9) stink out the joint in a loss to IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, in the first All-Filipino world title fight since the 1920's. Today he bounced back from that loss by out pointing on domestic veteran Ardin Diale (34-13-4, 16).
The fight, like the Ancajas one, failed to really ignite though this time it was Sultan in control with his speed and skills regularly neutralising the more experienced but less talented Diale. Diale, to his credit regularly came forward but often ate clean shots from the more rounded Sultan, who was so much crisper with his punching.
Not only was Sultan landing the better shots but Diale was also spending much of the fight battling with a nasty cut over hit right eye, caused by a clash of heads in round 2. That gave Sultan a place to target and he continued to land the cleaner, sharper blows through the first 5 rounds, as he ran up a clear lead on the score-cards.
In round 6 we finally saw Diale finding his groove and landing a clean combination on Sultan, which he took well. It seemed clear that the blow shots were a wake up call for him, showing that Diale was still there with him. The wake up for Sultan show him get back to his best in round 7, as he landed a number of clean blows, and ended almost every exchange with the better shots.
As the fight wore on into the later rounds the pattern very rarely changed, despite Diale getting more aggressive and having more success in the later rounds, he never looked like he was landing often enough or hard enough to turn the bout around.
At the end of 10 rounds it seemed like a very clean win for Sultan, who failed to set the world on fire despite being in control. The judges agreed, scoring the bout 98-92, twice, and 97-93-, all for Sultan.
Despite being a talent Sultan will struggle to create a fan base and he may well find big opportunities hard to come by due to his style. For Diale, he was almost always second best here.
The next major card from ALA Promotions was announced earlier today, and is set to be a triple header, with the top 3 bouts all being affiliated with the WBO, albeit for a trio of their minor titles.
One of the title bouts will see the once touted Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) defending his WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title against Ghana's George Krampah (14-3, 12). This really should be a straight forward win for Pagara, given the that visitor has been relative inactive in recent years and was stopped in 2 of his last 3, including stoppage losses to Thabo Sonjica and current world champion Isaac Dogboe. Sadly though it doesn't seem like the step forward that the Filipino deserves given his talent and the promise he has.
A much better looking match up will see KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) take on Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) in a mouth watering match up for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. The unbeaten Cataraja is very highly regarded in Asian boxing circles and he has been tipped for major success since turning professional. Despite being highly regarded he hasn't been matched particularly hard, with this being a notable step up in class. Reyes has been matched relatively easily but has been impressive on the Mexican domestic scene, with a good win last time out against Julio Castillo. This really could be the stand out show on the card.
The third title bout will see the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) take on Mexican Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The 22 year old Santisima has been one of the most explosive Filipino prospects in recent years and will be favoured here, especially given he is riding a 14 fight winning run. The visitor however is no push over and in 2016 he scored a major upset over Ryo Matsumoto.
Others on the card include Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) and Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16), who will be facing against each other, and Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
Later today we'll see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20) defending his title against Jonas Sultan (14-3, 9) in the first all-Filipino world title fight in 93 years. The bout is a highly anticipated one, and despite being a mandatory title defense is actually one of the better bouts made by IBF for their champions, unlike other mandatory mismatches like Ancajas's 2017 bout against Teiru Kinoshita, which always seemed liek a mismatch.
Despite beign an interesting contest it is worth noting that the bookies see it as being pretty one sided. The champion is priced at 1/5 to retain his title with a victory over his countryman, whilst Sultan 51/10 with one UK bookmaker, whilst the draw is available as high as 25/1.
The "To Win" market isn't the only one available for this particular bout isn't the only one available on this bout. There is also a method of victory market. The most likely outcome, according to the bookies, is a decision win for Ancajas, with that result priced at 19/29. A stoppage for the champion is 11/4, which is saying a lot about Sultan's toughness given that Ancajas has stopped 15 of his last 16 foes. Sultan to win by stoppage is a huge 14/1 whilst you can get a massive 20/1 on Sultan to win by decision.
Given the odds on a stoppage a stoppage by either man are quite low it shoudl come as no surprise to learn the bout is expected to go the distance, with odds of 4/7 on the bout going the 12 scheduled rounds, compared to 15/8 on the bout to be stopped inside the distance.
Related - Ancajas to face Sultan in all-Filipino IBF title fight!
Later today we'll see IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1, 20) make his 4th defense, and battle in the first all-Filipino world title fight in over 90 years, as he faces Jonas Sultan (14-3, 9) in the US.
Yesterday the two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the Super Flyweight limit with some room to spare.
On the sclaes the champion was 114.8lbs and looked great on the scales of confidence. Suyltan on the other hand was a little bit lighter at 114.4lbs, though looked in equally impressive shape.
The bout will be the first all-Filipino world title fight since 1925, when Pancho Villa defended the world Flyweight title against Clever Sencio.
At the weigh in Ancajas stated the bout would be a fierce one whilst Sultan stated he had studied Ancajas and that he had dreamed of being a world champion since he was a child. It seems both men are confident here, and both are likely to fight with passion than we typically see from them, given the historic nature of the bout.
Related- Ancajas to face Sultan in all-Filipino IBF title fight!
(Image courtesy of Mikey Williams / Top Rank)
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