By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
There was no changing of the guard in the minimumweight division in the Philippines as veteran Vic Saludar turned back the young and hungry Robert Paradero by split verdict in their clash for the vacant WBA regular world title.
Paradero came out swinging in the opening round while Saludar preferred to engage in a chess game of box and counter. A clash of heads in the second round cut both boxers but did not affect their fighting ability.
Both had trouble landing more than one shot at a time early on. Paradero went for Saludar’s midsection while Saludar was more effective timing his jab and one-two combinations. Paradero’s hook shook Saludar in the fourth and his body shots made Saludar think twice in the seventh. In between, Saludar’s accuracy got him points in the scoring areas.
In the ninth and tenth, Paradero moved around more and was more effective. Saludar however, showed championship poise in the last two rounds. Perhaps thinking the fight was much closer, Saludar fired his straight punches;Paradero may have removed his foot on the gas pedal too soon.
The scores - Aquil Tamano 115-113 and Danrex Tapdasan 116-112 for Saludar, while Alfie Jocosol scored for Paradero,118-110. The referee was Nowel Haduca.
The 30 year old Saludar is now 21-4,11KO's while the 24 year old Paradero suffered his first loss, 18-1,12KO's.
Saludar’s trainer Jojo Palacios had chat with this writer after the bout. He credits the hard training and game plan for the win.
“We allowed Paradero to attack, then counter.” Palacios said. “We expected him to be aggressive, he is hungry. But we knew we had an advantage in a long fight.
Saludar’s experience as a former WBO world mini-flyweight champion and former national amateur boxing team member paid off. Paradero entered the bout unbeaten but didn’t see any action abroad and was getting his first world title shot.
In the main supporting bout Carl Jammes Martin (17-0,15KO’s) remained unbeaten and knocked out Joe Tejones (13-8,7KO’s) with a hard right to the body in the fifth.
The fight was held in a football stadium in Binan City, Laguna but was behind closed doors due to covid-19 protocols and broadcast live on facebook and youtube.
Thammanoon Niyomtrong (21-0,7KO's) of Thailand is the 105 lb. division 'super' champion of the WBA and a 'unification' with Saludar would be an intriguing match-up.
Photo- Vic Saludar victorious vs Robert Paradero
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