Between 1973 and 1991 Filipino fighter Rolando Navarrete fought 74 times as a professional, running up an excellent 56-15-3 (33) record. Although he was a fantastic fighter and a former world champion Navarrete's career was marred by out of the ring incidents and misbehaviour, and he lived up to his nickname of the "Bad Boy from Dadiangas" a little bit too well. Had Navarrete been able to concentrate on professional he would have been a huge star, instead of being a notable footnote on boxing history.
Despite failing to achieve what he should have done in the sport he scored plenty of notable wins and take we're going to take a look at some of those as we bring you The 5 most significant wins for... Rolando Navarrete
Bernabe Villacampo (January 31st 1976)
When Navarrete turned professional in 1973 former world champion Bernabe Villacampo had retired from the sport. Villacampo had last fought in September 1971, after losing the WBA Flyweight title in 1970 to Berkrerk Chartvanchai. Surprisingly however the former world champion made a return to the ring in December 1975. His second opponent after beginning his comeback was Navarrete, who went on to stop Villacampo in 2 rounds.
This was Navarrete's 20th professional and whilst Villacampo was certainly not the fighter he once was this was still a very significant win over a former world champion and a man who still had some name value. In after this loss Villacampo would go on to have a nice run and even beat future world champion Shigeo Nakajima in 1978. This was certainly a significant win for the then 18 year old Navarrete, even if the 32 year old Villacampo was well past his best.
Frankie Duarte (June 19th 1979)
Almost 3 and a half years after beating Villacampo we saw Navarrete make his Western debut, travelling over to beat Frankie Duarte in Honolulu. Up to this point Navarrete had fought 38 professional bouts, with 37 of those coming in the Philippines and the other coming in South Korea, where he actually lost. Here he was travelling over to Hawaii where he managed to take a clear decision over the then 24 year old Duarte. At this point in time Duarte was considered a contender and was just 2 years removed from losing in a world title eliminator. Like many in this series this win later gained significance, with Duarte twice fighting for world title fights, losing to Bernardo Pinango and Daniel Zaragoza.
Cornelius Boza-Edwards (August 29th 1981)
In August 1981 Navarrete got his first shot at a world title as he travelled over to Italy to face the then WBC Super Featherweight champion Cornelius Boza-Edwards. The Ugandan champion had won the title in March, in a sensational bout with Rafael Limon, and had made his first in May, when he stopped Bobby Chacon in 13 rounds. Sadly for him an attempt to stay super busy as a champion saw him come undone when he took on Navarette and was stopped in 5 rounds. This bout saw the talented Edwards being dropped in rounds 4 and 5 in what was a fantastic bout bout.
The win saw Navarrete win the WBC title, the one world title of his career, and leave his mark on the history books. This was, by far, the most important win of his career, and was the one that many fight fans immediately think of when they talk about the Filipino. The fight not only saw Navarrete become a world champion but also saw him become the first Filipino fighter to win a world title in Europe. The win was also a notable success for Filipino boxing, who hadn't had a world champion since Erbito Salavarria lost the WBA Flyweight title in 1976.
Chung Il Choi (January 16th 1982)
Despite ending the long wait for a new Filipino world champion Navarrete's reign was sadly a short one and he only actually made a single defense of the WBC Super Featherweight title himself. That came in January 1982, in somewhat controversial version. The bout in question saw the newly crowned champion return home and take on unbeaten Korean challenger Chung Il Choi, who sported a fantastic 13-0 (12) record. Choi, a legitimate puncher, dropped Navarette in round 5 and the round ended 10 seconds early. The early ending of the round lead managed to give Navarrete time to recover his bearings, and later go on to stop the Korean in the 11th round to successfully defend the title.
Rafael Limon II (December 23rd 1988)
Sadly Navarrete's reign as the WBC Super Featherweight came to an end in May 1982 when he lost via 12th round TKO to Rafael Limon in the first bout between the two men. The loss meant Navarrete's reign lasted just 9 months. Sadly for Navarrete he would never manage to recapture a world title, though did manage to get some revenge over Limon in 1988, more than 6 years after his loss to "Bazooka", in a rematch between the two men. By this point Limon was well past his best years. Limon's hard career had caught up to him and Navarrete dropped him twice en route to a very, very wide 10 round decision win. It wasn't as sweet as a victory in their first bout would have been, but it was a chance to avenge one of his more notable losses.
Sadly after the rematch with Limon we never really saw Navarrete score too many wins of note as he picked up low level wins over no-named in the Philippines and lost every time he stepped up in class, before ending his career in 1991. Surprisingly Limon would himself fight on until 1994, and would lose 7 of the 9 bouts he had after the rematch with Navarrete.
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