By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Vic Saludar of the Philippines is preparing for the first defense of his WBO world minimumweight title on February 26 at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. He will face the number two ranked contender Masataka Taniguchi.
The 25 year old Taniguchi (11W-2L,7KO’s) moved up the ranks when he won the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title in the 105 lb division by unanimous decision against Filipino Joel Lino in Bangkok, Thailand last November. Taniguchi has seen action twice in the Philippines. In 2016, he knocked out Joey Bactul in two rounds in a fight held in Maasim, Sarangani. Then a year later, he stopped Benjie Bartolome in one round in Makati City. Other Filipinos on his win column are Dexter Alimento, Vincent Bautista and Reymark Taday.
The 28 year old Saludar (18W-3L,10KO’s) will be making his second straight trip to Japan. He took the title in Kobe last July 13, 2018 against Ryuya Yamanaka by unanimous decision. Saludar decked Yamanaka in round seven with a hard right hand that turned the tide of what started as a close fight. Two of the three judges actually scored it even after round six.
Saludar also sensed it was close. “It was only after I knocked him down in round seven that I thought I could win.” Saludar told this writer in an interview one month after the fight, “Still it was a tough fight all the way.”
“He kept targeting my body,” Saludar added,” I knew that was their plan, but I was ready.”
In his first trip to Japan, Saludar lost in his first world title attempt on New Year’s Eve 2015, when then champion Kosei Tanaka stopped him with a body shot in round six.
Saludar is once again readying himself for another battle on the road.
“For the past weeks, Vic has been sparring with Dave Apolinario and Jaysever Abcede. Next week, Joey Canoy will be added as sparring partner.” Saludar’s Promoter Kenneth Rontal told this writer.
Apolinario is an unbeaten flyweight prospect with a 9-0,6KO’s record while Abcede (18-8,12KO’s) captured the WBA Asia flyweight title last year by knocking out in two rounds Thai Yutthana Kaensa in Bangkok.
Canoy (14-3-1,7KO’s) had to settle for a no contest in an IBO world title fight in South Africa last December when defending champion Simpiwe Konkco suffered a cut due to a clash of heads and the fight was stopped in round four.
“He is doing well in training,” Rontal added, “He will be prepared with whatever Taniguchi will bring. He will just have to stick to the game plan.”
The next Philippine Wave
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
There are no hard and fast ways to assess a boxing prospect. We usually look first for speed and power. But as the fighter’s career moves forward, we examine the quality of his opponents.Then, we look closer at his reactions during a fight. How did he respond to being cut or hurt? Has he really been tested?
Making a list of promising fighters can be both difficult and enjoyable. In a boxing country like the Philippines, you can be sure there are a lot of boxers competing for attention.
These are just a few raring to make some noise in 2019:
ROMERO DUNO (18-1, 14KO’s) – he comes from the talent rich Sanman Gym of Gen.Santos City. His advantage over the other up and comers is the television exposure he got when he was signed by Oscar dela Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. It all started with his second round knockout win over Golden Boy prospect Christian Gonzalez in Los Angeles.
Five of Duno’s last six bouts were held in the U.S. He continues to improve under the tutelage of former WBC light flyweight champ Rodel Mayol. Duno is scheduled to face India’s Kuldeep Danda in Pasay City, Philippines this February 9.
The Sanman Gym also boasts of Reymart Gaballo, who won the WBA interim bantamweight title last year. They suffered a major disappointment on home soil with the TKO loss of Randy Petalcorin against Nicaraguan Felix Alvarado in their fight for the vacant IBF light flyweight title. The Sanman group is still looking for that elusive regular world title. Duno continuing to fight under the banner of Golden Boy could make that dream a reality.
CHRISTIAN ARANETA (17-0, 14KO’s) – very few fans noticed his upset TKO win against another world ranked Filipino, Jessie Espinas in 2015. Last year, his bone-chilling twelfth round KO of former world title challenger Jerry Tomogdan was also not televised and witnessed by a handful of fight fans in Mandaue City, Cebu.
Araneta doesn’t have an extensive amateur background. His defensive deficiencies are compensated by his uncanny Arturo Gatti-like ability to recuperate. He suffers from a lack of television exposure and has not seen action abroad.
He does have raw power which is obviously a factor why his handlers in the Omega Gym of Cebu are eyeing a world title shot. His current ranking as a light flyweight – WBO number 11, WBC number 10 and WBA number 9.
JEO SANTISIMA (17-2,14KO’s) – fighting under the banner of ALA Promotions leads to more media and TV coverage in the Philippines. But it also means meticulous scrutiny from the fans and pundits.
Santisima is being tagged by the veteran boxing writers in Cebu as having the tools to be the next Donnie Nietes. That is a very high bar, considering Nietes’ body of work. But just like the four-division champ who has been on top for almost twelve years now, Santisima is a low-key but solid boxer.
Three years ago, Santisima had a notable TKO win against countryman Marco Demecillo, who at that point in time was still considered a dangerous puncher here in Cebu. He also had an eye catching TKO against Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema in 2017 and beat Mexican Victor Lopez by unanimous decision last December.
The WBO ranks Santisima at number 10 and he holds the WBO Oriental junior featherweight title.
The other ALA contenders to watch are Albert Pagara – who is still rebuilding after his TKO loss to Cesar Juarez – and KJ Cataraja, who just captured his first major ranking belt last November.
CARL JAMMES MARTIN (11-0,10KO’s) – the Ifugao rising star is set for his Metro Manila debut on February 16 against Thai Petchorchae Kokietgym. Martin has fought foreign foes in his home province winning regional belts with the WBC, WBA and WBO. His fights have been shown live on social media but has yet to be tested against higher level opponents.
He has a fan-friendly all-action style and could wind up becoming a big name if he gets more fights on television.
Martin is the number 10 bantamweight contender of the WBO and ranked number 14 by the WBA.
JOE NOYNAY (16-2-1,5KO’s) – he was an underdog when he won against the previously unbeaten Chinese rising star Pan Jinxiang in Zhongshan,China by technical decision in the eighth round last December 2017. He scored two knockdowns against Pan and took the WBO Asia Pacific Youth junior lightweight title after the fight was stopped due to a worsening head-butt inflicted cut on Noynay.
Noynay’s resolve was tested last year in his hometown of Bogo,Cebu.Promoter Bebot Elorde brought in Mexican Hector Garcia who pushed Noynay to his physical limits and treated the sell-out crowd to a memorable ring war. Noynay got a majority decision win and defended against another Chinese boxer Zhang Qixiu five months later in Pasay City. Zhang was stopped in eight rounds.
The fight in Bogo is the yardstick of Noynay’s present level. He showed heart and toughness. His handler’s will have to match him this year with boxers who will be useful in his continuing development. Noynay is currently ranked number 11 junior lightweight contender by the WBO.
GIEMEL MAGRAMO (23-1,19KO’s) – his victory against one of China’s highly regarded prospects, Ge Wenfeng propelled Magramo to be ranked as one of the top ten flyweights in Ring magazine. Both were ranked in the top ten by the WBO with Ge holding the International title and Magramo the Oriental belt.
Magramo relied on pressure and volume punching and the fight was halted at the end of the tenth, with Ge’s right eye closed shut.
Prior to his win in Suzhou,China, the boxer handled by Johnny Elorde was seen in a local televised fight, stopping Thai Petchorchae Kokietgym in three rounds on the undercard of the IBF world light flyweight title bout between Nicaraguan Felix Alvarado and Filipino Randy Petalcorin .
He is ranked number five by the WBO but he is still a few fights away from being ready to challenge the world champion Kosei Tanaka of Japan. Magramo, who comes from a boxing family, is also ranked by the WBC #5, IBF#9 and WBA#8.
There are Filipinos involved in upcoming crucial eliminators:
Countrymen MICHAEL DASMARIÑAS (28-2-1,19KO’s) and KENNY DEMECILLO (14-4-2,8KO’s) will engage in an IBF bantamweight eliminator in Singapore this March 29.
Dasmariñas already has an IBO world title. He got a lot of attention when he knocked out Karim Guerfi of France last year in the fourth round. He will be going for one of the four major titles for the first time. Demecillo’s career hit a road bump when he was outpointed by another Filipino, Mark Anthony Geraldo two years ago in Hong Kong. But he got a big win in Russia last year, knocking out Vyacheslav Mirzaev in five rounds.
ASTON PALICTE (24-2-1,20KO’s) will face unbeaten Puerto Rican Jose Martinez (20-0-2,13KO’s) in California on January 31 for the right to face WBO junior bantamweight champion Donnie Nietes.
Palicte already fought Nietes and the fight ended in a debatable draw. This was the second all-Filipino world title bout held last year.
ROBERT PARADERO (17-0,11KO’s) was supposed to be involved in an eliminator last December for the WBO minimumweight title held by fellow Filipino Vic Saludar. The fight didn’t push through but Paradero remains the number one ranked WBO contender at 105 lbs.
It will also be interesting to see if Filipinos who came up short in their world title bids can bounce back. Joey Canoy had to settle for a no contest while the likes of Mercito Gesta, Vince Paras, Froilan Saludar, Randy Petalcorin and Mark Anthony Barriga lost.
GENESIS SERVANIA (32-1,15KO’s) remains a potent force. He lost by unanimous decision to WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez in 2017. But Servania was signed by Top Rank and bounced back with three straight wins.
He is scheduled to fight unbeaten Carlos Castro (21-0,9KO’s) of the U.S. in California on February 10.
Photo – top row left to right – Romero Duno, Christian Araneta, Jeo Santisima, bottom row left to right – Carl Jammes Martin, Joe Noynay, Giemel Magramo
Filipinos losing on the scales
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Jhack Tepora joins a short but undesirable list of Filipino world titleholders who got stripped of their belts for stepping on the scales overweight. The WBA interim world featherweight titlist was supposed to make his first defense of the crown he won last July in Malaysia against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega.
News from Las Vegas stated that Tepora weighed 131.5lbs, 5 and a half pounds over the division limit. The fight was reported to be cancelled and on boxrec, Hugo Ruiz , his challenger from Mexico, was now matched with another Mexican, Alberto Guevarra.
The future of the undefeated Tepora (22-0,17Ko’s) is now in limbo considering his reported conflict with Omega Promotions, the company that promotes him in his home island of Cebu.
In 2009, Marvin Sonsona lost his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior bantamweight crown when he checked in over the limit in his first defense against Mexican Alejandro Hernandez. The fight held in Canada pushed through and ended in a draw.
Sonsona’s reign lasted only for two months and 17 days, a record for being the shortest stint as a world champ in the Philippines. He would never get a world title shot again. Numerous stories came out regarding his lack of discipline which eventually led to long periods of inactivity.
In 2014, Johnriel Casimero came in over for the light flyweight limit for his fourth defense of his IBF title. Casimero entered the ring an ex-champ but easily knocked out Colombian Mauricio Fuentes in Cebu City. Casimero also had a falling out with Omega Promotions and would go on to win another IBF world title at flyweight. Two years ago, fighting at 115lbs, he lost in an IBF eliminator to countryman Jonas Sultan by unanimous verdict in Cebu City.
Casimero is scheduled for a fight this February 16 in Metro Manila against Japanese Kenya Yamashita
In 2017, Marlon Tapales couldn’t make weight in Japan in is first defense of the WBO bantamweight title against Japanese Shohei Omori. Tapales was still allowed to fight after being stripped and stopped Omori in 11 rounds.
The almost nine month interval since beating Pungluang Sor Singyu for the title was cited as the reason why Tapales was overweight. Another hiatus followed and Tapales saw action again last September in Manila knocking out Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema in a non-title contest.
Even Manny Pacquiao was not spared of this fate. In 2009, when he was still a flyweight, Pacquiao lost his WBC crown at the scales in Thailand. He was too drained in trying to make weight he lost by third round TKO to Thai Medgoen Singsurat.
At that point in time, no one would have predicted that Pacquiao would go on and win seven more division titles and become an all-time great. Pacquiao will face off against Adrien Broner to defend his WBA welterweight title. Tepora will miss his big chance to fight on the undercard.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Filipino featherweight Jhack Tepora (22-0,17KO’s) spent most of his boxing career in relative obscurity. He was a five time national amateur champion and was recruited to fight for the Philippine national team. But after a couple of overseas tournaments, he turned pro without any fanfare on a small fight card held at the Cebu Coliseum in 2012.
Prior to winning the WBA interim featherweight world title, he was rarely seen on television. Things started to change for him three years ago when Omega Promotions decided to be more aggressive in marketing their fighters with their “WHO’S NEXT?” boxing series. Still, his name escapes the casual fight fans even in his native island of Cebu.
It was his highlight reel knockout of South African Lusanda Komanisi last September 22,2017 in East London, South Africa that made fans sit up and pay attention. This was followed by another big break, a spot on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia last July. His impressive ninth round TKO win against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega earned him not just the WBA belt but also showed that he can deliver under the media scrutiny in a nationally televised fight.
Tepora’s back to back stoppage wins earned him a contract to fight under Pacquiao’s MP Promotions. But it has been six months since the Ortega fight. Tepora has not seen action since then and there has been turmoil behind the scenes. Last October 11, 2018, an article published in the Cebu Daily News quoted Tepora as saying he was disappointed with the ouster of his brother Jerald “Jingjing” Tepora, as one of the trainers of the Omega Gym. Tepora’s other brother Christopher “Pingping” Tepora, also left the Omega Gym a few years ago.
This was the back story when it was announced that Tepora would face Hugo Ruiz (38-4,33KO’s) of Mexico on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs Adrien Broner mega-fight in Las Vegas.
Tepora reunited with his two brothers while training for his January 19 fight. But the question remains how the behind the scenes discord with the Omega management will affect his preparation for his biggest bout.
Brother and co-trainer Jingjing assured this writer that everything is fine and Jhack is well prepared.
“We have trained for two months. Now all he needs is to lose the excess weight.” Jingjing said, “He has sparred with James Bacon, Allan Villanueva and RJ Anoos.”
Jingjing missed the trip to Las Vegas due to visa issues. Pingping was with Jhack on the plane ride to the U.S. last January 11.
Whether these Filipino sparmates will be enough for his preparation remains to be seen. The 25 year old southpaw has had weight issues in the past; sportswriters here in Cebu noticed he tends to bloat in between fights. But he had no trouble making the 126 lb. limit in his bout against Ortega.
Ruiz is no pushover, having previously held the WBA interim bantamweight and WBC super bantamweight titles. He lost to quality Japanese boxers Koki Kameda and Hozumi Hasegawa.
Many have wilted under the hot lights. Tepora will have to show once again he can handle the pressure. This time it will be on one of the biggest venues in professional boxing.
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.