Earlier today in Dubai we saw a rather obscure card from People Fighters, who put on a show that was easy to over-look, at least were it not for the main event, which featured former Super Bantamweight world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-3-0-1, 13) taking on relatively limited Filipino fighter Vincent Astrolabio (17-3, 12).
On paper this was expected to be little more than an easy comeback win for Rigondeaux, who was last seen narrowly losing to WBO world champion John Riel Casimero last August. However Astrolabio didn't seem to get the script, and Rigondeaux tried to Rigondeaux through the fight. Sadly for the Cuban the Filipino did what he had to do to try and make every round close and competitive, showing little respect to the 41 year old Cuban fighter.
Rather than backing off, Astrolabio came forward, and pressed the action, making the most of his younger, fresher feet. Rigondeaux, as has become customary over the years, was happy to box off the back foot, trying to steal rounds and dictate the tempo, though he only had mixed success with it against a 24 year old who wanted to make a name for himself.
As the rounds went on neither man really did enough to distance themselves, but it did seem like Astrolabio was forcing the fight, and having far, far, more success than anyone would have expected. That success was then boosted massively when he hurt, and the dropped Rigondeaux in round 8, with Rigondeaux recovering from the knockdown but still looking hurt at the bell.
To his credit Rigondeaux recovered well through round 9, and had a good 10th round as Astrolabio became too patient, looking for a bomb, with his inexperience being shown. In the end however those two rounds didn't actually matter, with all 3 judges scoring the bout to the Filipino, who notched one of the biggest upsets of the year so far.
For Astrolabio the win nets him the WBC International Bantamweight title, and moves him close to a WBC world title fight. Sadly though he, and everyone in his team, will known he beat a faded Rigondeaux, and it's more likely that title will lead him to a decent money fight, than a world title opportunity. As for Rigondeaux, who seemed intent on continuing his career, this really should be a sign for him to hang them up, and think of the career he should have had, rather than the one he did have. The issues that have plagued him through his career were apparent again here, he was happy to not do enough, and likely lucky that he never managed to land the once mooted bout with Naoya Inoue, who on this performance would likely have left Rigondeaux out cold.
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.
Just moments ago we saw the under-card for John Riel Casimero's bout with Cesar Ramirez come to an end, with 4 bouts having been televised as part of the build up to the main event.
Unbeaten former amateur stand out Criztian Pitt Laurente (3-0, 3) scored a blink and you miss it win over the win-less Christian Gabayeron (0-3), who was taken out with a body shot. Laurente, who is a talent, landed a thunderous left hand and Gabayeron was left in agony for the 10 count.
It didn't take Charly Suarez (3-0, 3) much longer to pick up his third professional win, as he dispatched Virgil Puton (17-13-2, 8) in alarmingly quick fashion. The former Olympian would have been expecting something of a test here but just blitzed Puton with body shots.
In a much more compelling bout Orlie Silvestre (14-5-2, 8) and Ronald Alapormina (4-3-3, 1) fought to a 6 round split decision draw. This bout looked a mismatch on paper but Alapormina fought like a man confident of picking up the win, and really set a high work rate. In the end the judges struggled to split the men, scoring the bout 58-56 one way, 58-56 the other way and then 57-57 to leave us with the draw.
The chief supporting bout on the card saw Vincent Astrolabio (14-3, 10) take on Kevin Aseniero (9-3-1, 5). Entering the bout Astrolabio was the WBO Oriental Bantamweight champion and was looking to make his first defense of the title. The bout really failed to catch fire until the end of round 4, when both men finally began to let their hands go. Sadly the bout didn't last much longer, as Aseniero suffered a cut in round 5 and the referee was forced to step in and stop the contest. Due to the cut, which came from a punch, Astrolabio scored a 5th round TKO win
The globalisation of boxing can be rather weird when we think about it, and a great example of that can be seen this weekend with UK bookmakers offering odds on a Filipino domestic fight between two men without much in terms of name value, reputation of wider appeal. It's the sort of bout we really wouldn't have expected British bookies to have picked, but we are glad they have.
The bout in question is a 12 round bout between Vincent Astrolabio (13-3, 9) and Kevin Aseniero (9-2-1, 5), who battle for the WBO Oriental Bantamweight title. The bout looks likely to be shown on UK TV, via Boxnation, but it's still an oddity for it to be available for British gamblers.
On paper this looks pretty competitive, but the bookmakers have it as a bout with a very clear favourite and under-dog. The favourite is the 22 year old Astrolabio, who is best priced at 1/4 whilst Aseniero is 13/4 to pick up the win. The draw is available at 25/1.
Even more surprising than the fact that British fans can bet on the winner is that they can also bet on the Method of Victory.
The "favoured result" is Astrolabio by decision, or technical decision, at 8/11 whilst a stoppage by "Asero" is 11/4.
A KO win for Aseniero 11/2 whilst Aseniero getting the unexpected decision is 17/2.
In Butuan today Filipino fight fans had the chance to see a few notable domestic prospects in action.
One of those was Vincent Astrolabio (12-2, 8), who fought in little more than an explosive cameo as destroyed Thai visitor Yotchanchai Yakaeo (26-14, 21) in the opening round. The Thai was dropped early on and allowed to continue, but a second knockdown, a much harder one, finished off his hopes of a win as the referee quickly stopped the bout. It was be several minutes before Yotchanchai would move though he was talking and smiling after recovering from what was a truly brutal knockout loss. This was the 8th time time the Thai had been stopped and we do wonder why the 39 year old keeps getting licensed to fight.
Another cameo came from Orlie Silvestre (12-4-1, 8), who returning to the ring after his 12th round stoppage loss in Japan to Reiya Konishi. The talented Silvestre dropped Indonesian visitor Hengky Baransano (13-13, 5) in the first round and had Baransano on the back foot. The Indonesian's negative tactics didn't help as Silvestre got to him again before the first round was over, dropping his man for a second time mid way through the round. The Indonesian should his heart but was dropped by a huge over-hard just after the 10 second clacker, suffering the third knockdown of the round. Despite beating the count the referee waved the bout off with a time of 2:59 of round 1. It's worth noting this was the 11th time Baransano has been stopped.
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