Through out the history of this great sport various fighters have had what we can describe as strange careers, and one such, great case, is that of Malcolm Tunacao (35-3-3, 20) who did things in the reverse manner to many fighters. Unlike many fighters who spend more of their careers to get a world title fight he got an unexpected one less than 2 years into his career, when he was just 22 years old, which he made the most of. His career peaked very early and for many fighters a career like that can be over relatively early.
For Tuancao much of his career was spent chasing a second time at the top and his career would continue on for a further 14 years, though he wouldn't manage to climb the summit of the sport for a second time, despite coming close in 2012.
Despite the rather strange he had, he also had a very worthwhile one, and today we get to take a look at it as we bring you the 5 most significant wins for...Malcolm Tunacao
Medgoen Singsurat (May 19th 2000)
The talented Malcolm Tunacao debuted in August 1998, doing so in a 6 rounder, and he quickly stepped up to 10 rounds, with his third professional bout being scheduled for 10 rounds. In less than 14 months Tunacao had won the GAB Flyweight title, beating Rio Sumampong, and soon afterwards recorded his first defense. By this point he was 10-0 (6) and still a boxing baby. Despite that he was offered a WBC Flyweight title fight in May 2000 taking on WBC and Linear champion Medgoen Singsurat, a 20-0 (12) fighter who had dethroned Manny Pacquiao in 1999 and had already recorded his first defense.
Despite taking a massive step up in class Tunacao did the unthinkable and upset the Thai in Thailand, to claim the WBC Flyweight title, and the biggest win of his career. By far. The Filipino, who was a genuine unknown at this point, looked calm and relaxed through despite being away from home, he looked composed in his big step up and Singsurat had no answer for southpaw stance and movement of Tunacao who looked genuinely class. Tuancao also smartly kept this out of the hands of the judges. He came out hot in round 7 and unloaded bombs on Singsurat from the start of the round, beating the fight out of him, and bending the rules where needed. This was a veteran-like performance from a young fighter fighting on the world stage for the first time.
In many this win seemed like the type of victory that had unearthed a special talent. Sadly though Tunacao's reign was short lived, losing the title 10 months later to a then little known Pongsaklek Wonjongkam... wonder what happened to him...
Kumarnthong Chuwatana (November 19th 2005)
After winning the WBC title so early in his career Tunacao was almost frozen out of notables fights. From his March 2001 loss to Wonjongkam to 2005 there was very, very little of note on his record. Wins over limited veterans or novices were the order of the day and they did little to forward his career, though a win over Kazuyoshi Niki was decent. We had to wait more than 6 years for the next major win for Tunacao and that came against Kumarnthong Chuwatana, not a name we suspect many will know much about.
In July 2005 Kumarnthong won the OPBF Bantamweight title, defeating Japan's Jun Toriumi at Korakuen Hall. Tunacao was his first challenger, and Tunacao dominated the bout, taking a very wide unanimous decision over the Thai, who was, for all intent, a flash in the pan champion. After the bout Kumarnthong went on to do almost nothing in the sport, with a win over Hiromasa Ohashi in 2007 being the only exception. This was however a major win for Tunacao, who claimed his first OPBF title, and opened up new doors for his career. Sadly however Tunacao's reign was short and he lose the belt in his third defense, to Rolly Lunas in 2007.
Seung Suk Chae (February 6th 2010)
It's fair to say the 2009 was a big year for Tunacao who became a sparring partner for Hozumi Hasegawa and later signed with the Shinsei Gym due to that sparring. Despite only fighting once in 2009, his career changed. In a big way. The following year he travelled over to South Korea to take on Seung Suk Chae for the vacant OPBF Bantamweight title. At the time Chae was the South Korean national champion and sported an impressive 16-1 record.
Despite being on the road Tunacao out pointed the Korean over 12 rounds, taking a razor thin decision over Chae to claim the OPBF Bantamweight title for a second time, and begin his days as a Shinsei fighter with a title wrapped firmly around his waist. Unlike his first OPBF reign this one wasn't a short reign, and in fact it lead into some of his biggest wins, and some of his most meaningful performances.
Kohei Oba II (July 11th 2010)
During his second reign with the OPBF title Tunacao made sure to make the most of the belt and recorded 3 good defenses. The first of those was a rematch with Kohei Oba, a man he had fought to a draw with 4 years earlier. At this point Oba, dubbed the "Mayweather of Nagoya", was 27-0-1 (11) and was highly rankedby the WBC. Although the OPBF champion Tunacao was regarded by many as the under-dog, and at 32 years old was thought to be slowing down, an issues against a speedy, technical fighter like Oba.
As it turned out the experience of Tunacao proved vital here. Oba started quick, and looked sharp in the early going. In fact for a round or two it seemed like the speed difference was going to be too much for Tunacao to over-come. And then Tunacao began to turn things around, timing Oba, getting a read on his speed, and finally doing enough to take home the unanimous decision victory.
Impressively this defense, against an unbeaten challenger in Japan, was followed by wins over notable names in Hidenobu Honda and Daigo Nakahiro. Sadly though both of those men were coming to the end of their respective careers.
Christian Esquivel (December 22nd 2012)
More than 2 years after winning the OPBF Bantamweight title, for the second time, Tunacao got the chance to secure himself a second world title bout a chance to become a 2-weight world champion. The only thing standing in his way of the opportunity was Mexican fighter Christian Esquivel, who Tunacao had to face in a WBC world title eliminator in late 2012. Going in Tunacao was ranked #1 by the WBC, whilst Esquivel was ranked #3, though at 35 he knew this would be his last chance. As for Esquivel he wasn't there to make up the numbers, instead he was looking for his second shot, and a chance to rematch Shinsuke Yamanaka, who had beaten him for the title in 2011.
Through the first 6 rounds Tunacao regularly got the better of things, using his southpaw stance and his experience well to control the action.Esquivel was still game however and wasn't there to make up the numbers. Despite being game the Mexican was finally taken out in round 7 when Tunacao managed to hammer him in the corner, sending him to the canvas. The Mexican couldn't beat the count and Tunacao managed to secure himself a world title fight with Yamanaka, who was sat ringside scouting the action.
Sadly for Tunacao his dreams of becoming a 2-weight world champion ended in tears, with the Filipino being stopped in the 12th round by Yamanaka, in what was one of the toughest defenses for "God's Left". After that he picked up 3 low key wins before ending his career, and later being attacked in the Philippines by his then girlfriend.
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