This week I had planned, and written, a "One to Watch" regarding the new cancelled Masayuki Ito bout with Yongqiang Yang. That bout is now off, due to Ito suffering a nasty injury, as as a result we have looked elsewhere and managed to come up with an excellent replacement bout for this week's hidden fight, as we head from China to the Philippines.
The One to Watch?
Alphoe Dagayloan (14-3-5-1, 5) vs Carlo Caesar Penalosa (14-2, 7)
February 1st (Saturday)
The Filipino domestic scene rarely gives us a bout that genuinely excites us, and it's a shame that the scene in Manila has been flooded by mismatches, often involving over-matched foreign talent. Here however we have a brilliant Filipino Flyweight title bout between two men who will both be in the ring looking to win, looking to claim the Filipino title and take a huge step towards securing another bout on the international stage, where they both suffered a loss in 2019. This is a bout with actual meaning and purpose on a Filipino domestic card!
In one corner is the criminally under-rated Alphoe Dagayloan, a 28 year old southpaw who began his career with an ugly looking 4-2-4-1 (1) record before reeling off a run that saw him go 11-1-1 (4). That 13 fight run saw him scoring notable wins over Mateo Handig, Madiyar Zhanuzak, Ronggup Wu, Danrick Sumabong and Esneth Domingo. The only loss in those 13 bouts was an ultra close one to Japanese fighter Ryota Yamauchi last year. We rate Yamauchi very, very highly and the fact that Dagayloan gave him genuine fits was impressive, showing how good the Filipino is. He's not the biggest puncher, or the fastest, but like countryman Richard Pumicpic he's nightmare to fight, with under-rated skills, a gritty toughness and an impressive work rate. A real horror to fight and physically strong to boot.
The 26 year old Carlo Caesar Penalosa is also a southpaw and is part of the huge Penalosa fighting family. He's the grandson of Carl Penalosa and the nephew of Dodie Boy Penalosa, the inaugural IBF Light Flyweight champion. From such a deep fighting family the expectation was on Carlo to achieve things in the ring, but sadly he's not yet managed to make a major mark on the global boxing scene. He would win his first 7 bouts before suffering a slip up to Reymark Taday and another 7 fight winning run ended last year when he came up short to Maximo Flores. Despite those losses Penalosa is a talent, he hits harder than his record suggest and he can box. He's just coming into his physical prime. In fact right now he's probably the most determined he has ever been following last year's loss Flores.
What to expect?
We don't expect this to be pretty, rarely are all southpaw bouts pretty. Instead what we expect to see is a messy yet exciting battle between two well matched fighters who will stand their ground and fight. Penalosa is the better boxer, and the better puncher, but that's not always the decider and with Dagayloan being a rugged fighter who will press up close and look to turn it into a fight. We don't think Penalosa wants a fight with Dagayloan.
If the bout is fought at mid range, and Penalosa is allowed to box and dictate the tempo he should be able to win. We however to see Dagayloan work on the gameplan that Maximo Flores used against Penalosa. Roughing up the third generation fighter and forcing him to fight fire with fire.
The bad news?
Obviously we have mentioned this could be ugly and it really could. It'll be potentially very exciting as a bout, and again we love seeing Filipino bouts with meaning, but it could be a real eye sore at times.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.