When we talk about the best Filipino prospects there are few that rival the very talented, and incredibly promising Dave Apolinaro (13-0, 8). The 21 year old "Doberman" is someone we expect to see reaching the top of the sport in the coming years, but for now he is very much a prospect carving out the early stages of his very, very promising career.
Apolinario turned professional in 2017 but before than he had real buzz surrounding him following a very promising amateur career, and for being the younger brother of a solid, fringe world level fighter. In fact Apolinario has boxing flowing through his veins with several fighters in his family, though his brother clearly an influential figures.
Dave Apolinario's older brother, John Mark Apolinario, had turned professional in 2006 and fought a genuine who's who. During his 12 year career he fought the likes of Roberto Vasquez, twice earning a draw with the man from Panama, Koki Kameda, Hernan Marquez, Drian Francisco, Luis Nery and Giemel Magramo. Sadly for the "Iceman" he always always founding at the that level, but was decent enough to make a mark.
Whilst his older brother was fighting in the professional ranks Dave was making a name for himself as an amateur. He shined at the Philippines National Games in 2016, winning at 48KG's, and then winning at the Palarong Pambansa in 2016 and 2017, at 49KG's. That amateur seasoning saw Apolinario turn professional with some expectations on his shoulders when he turned professional later in 2017.
On June 10th 2017 Apolinario made his debut, taking on Prince Canonero. The prince was downed in the opening round the bout was stopped with just a single second of the opening round left. It was pretty much a perfect debut for the talented Apolinario. A month later he would take his first decision win, as he was taken 4 rounds by Rio Gulipatan. Apolinario would remain active through 2017, picking up 2 more wins to move to 4-0 (3) by the end of the year.
Apolinario was kept busy through 2018, just like he had been in 2017, a year that saw him fight 5 times. His first bout of the year was a gimme, against Frankie Batuon, but he would step up through the year, taking 8 round decision wins over the tough Jenuel Lauza and over Michael Camelion. Those 2 decisions had been partnered with 3 early wins, to advance Apolinario's record to 9-0 (6).
As we entered 2019 Apolinario was someone who we had hoped to see develop during the year, and boy did we get to see him prove himself. The talented youngster kicked off the year with a bout against Romshane Sarguilla, and Apolinario looked great whilst easily out pointing the game Sarguilla. Interestingly Arguilla went 0-4 in 2019, but this was the only clear loss he had, and he was very live with Andika Sabu and Pongsaklek Sithdabnij, and on reflection this was an excellent win for Apolinario.
Exactly 4 months after Apolinario's win over Sarguilla he took on another tough domestic foe, as he clashed with Adrian Lerasan. For the first time in his career Apolinario was forced to go 10 rounds, and he did so in a very impressive, composed and mature win over Lerasan. Although Lerasan was no world beater he had come to win, and he asked questions of Apolinario, who answered them in impressive fashion.
Sadly after back to back tests Apolinario ended the year with two stoppages against over-matched opponents who were no threat to the promising youngster.
For a 21 year old fighter we see a lot of maturity in Apolinario's boxing style and mentality in the ring. He's patient, he's smart, he uses his feet and moved well. There are question marks over his power and physicality, but even those are likely to change in the future when Apolinario physically matures.
At this point it's too early to call for Aploninario to take any sort of huge steps up in class, but over the next few years we do expect to see Apolinario mixing at Oriental level, and then moving on to world title level as he reaches his mid to late 20's.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces