By Rene Bonsubre,Jr.
Filipino Edward Heno (14W-0L-5D,5KO’s) will get his shot at a world title on October 24 against WBO junior flyweight champion Elwin Soto (15W-1L, 11KO’s) of Mexico. Golden Boy Promotions made the official announcement that the fight will be held at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
The 26 years old Heno, a southpaw, is the number one ranked challenger. He was reported to be in line for a shot at the title as early as July but he told this writer that he has been training longer than that.
“I have been training for three months. But for the past week, I have shifted to heavy training.” Heno stated, “I have sparred with Giovani Escaner, Claudevan Sese, Giemel Magramo, Ben Ligas, and others.”
When asked about his chances, Heno was optimistic,“I know I can take him. I will do what it takes, I will do everything. He is just a man, he can be hurt. He is just like me, who dreams of becoming a champion.”
“I have not been relaxing during training. All of my fights have been tough but I always study my opponents, whether they were good or not.” Heno added.
Heno, who grew up in San Pedro, Laguna, had an unusual start to his career with three straight draws. His is inspired by his kids, “I get my strength from them. I think of them, I fight for their future.”
Heno is on hot streak starting from his first big win in 2017 against the Cris Ganoza, who was then undefeated, for the Philippine Boxing Federation light flyweight belt. He knocked out Ganoza in nine rounds in Makati City. He would then have a draw and a 7th round TKO win in Okinawa against Seita Ogido which earned him the vacant OPBF light flyweight title.
Then in 2018, he had two big wins against fellow Filipinos, beating former world champ Merlito Sabillo by split decision and erstwhile world ranked Jessie Espinas by unanimous decision.
Heno returned to Japan this year to defend his OPBF crown and beat Koji Itagaki by unanimous verdict.
The champion Elwin Soto (15W-1L, 11KO’s) is a 22 year old right hander from Baja California, Mexico. He was a virtual unknown who had 13 of his 14 pro bouts in Mexico before winning the title in Indio, California last June against Puerto Rican Angel Acosta by KO in the 12th and final round. This was in the same venue where he will face Heno for his first defense.
Photo - Edward Heno
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
A year ago, Froilan Saludar looked like a world champion in the first two rounds against Sho Kimura. It seemed the WBO world flyweight title would change hands in Qingdao, China. But the Japanese unleashed a hellish body attack and Saludar eventually crumbled in the sixth.
His cornermen talked about his difficulty making weight and it was eventually decided he would move up. Saludar fought away from the eyes of the media and had wins against Filipino journeymen Donny Mabao and Jonathan Francisco.
The 30 year old from Polomolok, South Cotabato was once one of the promising prospects in the Philippines. But losses to Puerto Rican McWilliams Arroyo in 2014, Japanese Takuma Inoue in 2016 and in his world title fight to the then champion Kimura made fans wonder if he could perform to expectations in big fights.
Questions swirled going into his fight against Tsubasa Murachi in Tokyo. Was Murachi, who had only four pro fights, going to use him as a stepping stone?
Saludar was now fighting at 115 lbs; was this the right weight division for him?
The 22 year old Japanese prospect started strong, dropping Saludar in the opening round with a sharp counter. But in the second and third, Saludar started to control the fight with his sharp jab and quick combos.
In the fourth, a left hook out of nowhere sent Murachi down. Saludar’s right hand began to find the target. In the fifth and sixth rounds, Murachi pressed the action but Saludar slowly but surely began to pick him apart. Saludar visibly grew in confidence.
A flurry of punches sent Murachi down again near the end of the seventh round. In the eighth, Murachi was sent down again and the referee correctly signaled the end. He was attended to by medical personnel inside the ring and carried out on stretcher.
Saludar thanked his supporters in a video message posted on social media. His trainer Jojo Palacios, had a short chat with this writer after the win.
“Experience and hard work were the keys to victory.” Palacios stated, “His opponent is good. If Froilan was not in good condition, he would have lost. But he trained well for this fight and recovered from the early knockdown.”
Saludar is now 31-3-1,22KO’s. Murachi drops to 4-1,3KO’s.
This win for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific junior bantamweight title will secure a higher world ranking for Saludar, who was ranked number 12 by the WBO prior to this win.
Photo - Froilan Saludar thanking supporters on a video posted on social media after the fight against Tsubasa Murachi.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
It was sweeter the second time around for Pedro Taduran. In his second shot at a world title, he would not be denied and came off the canvas to stop Samuel Salva in the first all-Filipino world title fight held in the Philippines since the 1925 world flyweight title bout between the legendary Pancho Villa and Clever Sencio.
The vacant IBF minimumweight crown was at stake inside the Jurado Hall of the Philippine Marines Base in Taguig City. The fight had a fiery start with Taduran charging forward and Salva electing to box and counter.
A sharp counter right from Salva dropped Taduran in the opening round. But this did not slow Taduran one bit as he continued to bring the fight to Salva. The 22 year old Taduran found his opportunity in the third when he hurt Salva, who sought refuge on the ropes and got bombarded shot after the shot. Salva finished the round but faced the same onslaught in the fourth.
Salva countered with a head butt as a survival and defensive move. This made Filipino Referee Danrex Tapdasan take a point away from Salva. The endless stream of punches continued until the bell mercifully ended the fourth round.
Salva’s corner signaled their capitulation before the start of the fifth and Taduran’s corner celebrated.
Taduran previously lost to WBC minimumweight champion Chayaphom Moonsri (Wanheng Menayothin) of Thailand by unanimous decision one year ago. This was the first world title fight for the 22 year old Salva, who suffers his first loss at 17-1,10KO’s. Taduran is now 14-2,11KO’s
This was the third all-Filipino world title bout for the past two years. Jerwin Ancajas vs Jonas Sultan and Donnie Nietes vs Aston Palicte, both held in the U.S., left fans unsatisfied. Judging from the screams of the crowd inside the Jurado Hall, this fight had the fans totally entertained.
There were two televised undercard bouts – The close quarter combat between Joel Lino and Toto Landero was made for television. Both threw hooks that would have felled lesser boxers and engaged at a blistering pace from beginning to end in their eight rounder. Scores – 77-75,78-74 nd 77-75 for Landero.
John Michael Zulueta beat Mark Anthony Florida by TKO end of round four.
Giemel Magramo had the misfortune of missing out on an IBF flyweight eliminator due to the withdrawal of Thai Komgrich Nantapetch due to food poisoning. Magramo easily beat late substitute Richard Claveras who did not continue after round three.
Photo – Pedro Taduran’s arm raised victorious vs Samuel Salva
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.