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Bare Knuckle

By Chito Yu Katangkatang

04 Aug 2010

Bacolod City- Sunday night, first of August was so far the biggest night for Negros Professional Boxing. It was a night of many firsts. The event was the first Pro-Boxing Championship event in Bacolod. And the newly crowned champions are the first National Champs trained and produced by our very own Negros based professional boxing stable, the Guanzon Stable of Mansilingan, Bacolod City. It was also the first promotional collaboration between Negros’ first and only professional boxing promoter JR Eagle Promotions and International Promoters Aljoe Jaro wih Thai realty mogul Naris Singwangcha.

The Undercards

The action packed fight cards were opened by a mini flyweight slugfest between Joebert Alvarez of the Donaire Stable of Cebu versus Iloilo’s Novette Lincioco. The power of Alvarez was just too much for Lincioco as the Ilongo fighter got floored twice in the second round until getting counted out at 2:25 of the second round.

In the next bout, Guanzon Stable’s undefeated Super Bantamweight ward Jerry Nardo butchered Iloilo’s Francisco Solis with a wicked one-two combo that got Solis sprawled on the neutral corner thus losing in a TKO fashion at 1:29 of the first round.

The third bout was also short-lived as Bacolod Flyweight Mike Españosa easily got rid of Iloilo’s Pablo Senares with a monster left hook which sent Senares crashing to the canvass for good at the 1:56 mark of the first round.

Himamaylan, Negros Occidental native Ryan Sermona retired Dave Dey Galas of General Santos in the first round. The GenSan pug quit on his stool before the start of round two of the Junior Lightweight bout.

Bacolod’s featherweight prospect Leonard Guardiano gave a relentless whacking to the body of Butuan’s Andy Adajar thus closing the fight with a TKO win at 1:59 of round one.

GenSan’s Ernie Sanchez outgunned Roy Sumugat of Bacolod in their 6 round bloody Super Bantamweight bout. Judges scored the bout 58-55, 57-56 and 58-55 for Sanchez.

Undefeated Featherweight Jan-Jan Guanzon of Bacolod finished his job early as a clean right straight and a perfect body shot floored Agusan’s Reggie Benueza twice in the first round prompting the referee to stop the fight at 1:34 of the opening round.

Cebu’s Juan Ivan Purisima used his superior ring generalship against Butuan’s Jboy Mansalayao dancing around and counterpunching his way to a UD victory. Judges scored the fight 78-74, 79-73 and 80-72 all for Purisima.

Cuello vs. Tadena

In the bonus supporting bout, WBC International Minimumweight Champion Denver “Mr. Excitement” Cuello-Singwangcha showed everyone why he is the most feared fighter at the 105 and 108 lbs division as he battered Bohol’s Arnel Tadena in a one-sided battle that lasted four rounds. Tadena appeared confident and seemed able to absorb Cuello’s explosive punches in the first two rounds. However his face started to show the effects of the cruel beating he was getting from the smiling assassin of Jaro Stable by the middle of round three. His nose was bleeding and his face was swollen. In round four, Tadena turned his back twice a la Roberto Duran signaling “No Mas” thus prompting the referee to stop the fight to avoid further damage at the 2:42 mark.

Sabillo vs. Purisima

The co-main event between Jun-Jun “Tiger” Sabillo and Jet Li Purisima was a guaranteed Philippine Fight of the Year candidate. Both fighters refused to go down and traded brutal shots from round one up to the end. Sabillo was relentless in his attacks while Purisima was just as game. Both fighters never even thought much about defense. They were just in front of each other like sadists who take pleasure in being mauled. Some of the rounds were close but most were dominated by the undefeated prospect from Bacolod’s Guanzon Stable. It was Sabillo who landed the cleaner and stronger shots thus getting the nod of all judges. The scores read 116-112, 116-112 and 117-112 all in favor of the fearless Sabillo who was crowned the new Philippine Minimumweight Champion. Sabillo’s record has improved to W13 L0 KO8 D0.

It was this fight which created the loudest noise in the venue. The non-stop action received a standing ovation from the audience at the end of each round. The energy in the in place was so high as people witnessed boxing’s sweet brutality at its best. According to international referee Ferdie Estrella who was the third man in the ring, “It was the first time in my entire life as a referee that I did not call for any break during the whole twelve rounds of the fight . They never clinched nor held at each other. They traded punches and traded some more up to the ring of the bell in each round. These guys are unbelievable.”’s Dr. Rene Bonsubre who was present to cover the fight was equally impressed by the showing of the two warriors and told this writer that it was the best local fight he has ever seen so far this year.

Villanueva vs. Ray

The main event was more of a technical battle between two ring geniuses as Davao’s Brix “Bomb” Ray is an amateur veteran who has won gold medals in past SEA Games while Arthur “El Matador” Villanueva is known for his undefeated record and ring intelligence that comes with a killer instinct.

The veteran Bomb Ray came in aggressive and busier at the early rounds bullying the retreating El Matador. But Villanueva is not called matador for nothing. Standing up for his ring monicker, the Bago City native counterpunched effectively and utilized his reach advantage in taming the Davao City Bull throwing left jab-right straight combinations. A perfect timed jab-straight combo caught Ray knocking him down in the fifth round but the veteran survived. Villanueva followed the game plan and continued negating the aggression of his opponent with his counterpunches and effective ring generalship. Ray’s attention was called by International Referee Ver Abainza several times because of low blows he inflicted on the Villanueva.

In the seventh round, another strong low blow hurt Villanueva thus slowing down the tempo of the fight as El Matador took his time to recover from the illegal blow. After recuperating, Villanueva felt the urge to end the game and avoid further possible dirty tactics. El Matador trapped Ray in the blue corner and unleashed a rapid flurry of punches to the head which went unanswered thus prompting the referee to stop the fight at 2:18 of the fateful round. With the victory, Villanueva captured the vacant Philippine Flyweight Championship Belt and his record has improved to W13 L0 KO9 D0.

The Man Behind Negros Pro-Boxing

Several people should be given credit for the success of the event. But there is one great man who has dedicated his life trying to uplift amateur and professional boxing in the province of Negros Occidental. He has done countless projects and events just to discover, train, and mold world class boxers from the grassroots level in Negros, even spending his own money to sustain his advocacy. The man is named Juan Ramon Guanzon or simply known as Monju to his friends. Monju is the son of the great former mayor and congressman of Bacolod City, Atty. Romeo “Roming” Guanzon. Monju has also served his City as its Vice-Mayor and Councilor. Currently, he is seated as a commissioner of the Games and Amusement Board. It is the support of this man that has brought Negros Boxing to where it is now.

The Stable

The Guanzon Stable is managed by a Christian Pastor in the person of Reverend Henry Guanzon. Rev. Henry is a lover of the sweet science and has taken his passion to a higher level by establishing a boxing stable which will help young people with great potentials to excel in the sport of boxing. Currently, there are 13 promising young men who are being trained in the stable. Two of them have just been crowned Philippine Champions after two years of training in the stable.

“I am proud to say that our stable has produced two Philippine Champions in the mere span of two years. In as much as the belts are not alphabet world titles, this is considered as a big step towards better belts in the near future. I can see the passion, dedication and hunger for boxing glory in my boxers. Couple with deep faith in Christ, I am confident that we can produce world champions soon with God’s grace”, Guanzon told this writer.

When asked about his plans for Sabillo and Villanueva, Guanzon replied, “I want better fights for my boys most probably outside the province, probably in Manila or Cebu. With the help of some friends, I intend to get them fights with better media exposure. We will take things step by step. Few more defense bouts, until I see that they are ready for regional titles. World titles will just come in eventually. No need to rush. We know what happens when fighters are fed to the lions too early. These boys are like my sons. Hence, their safety is the first priority.”

End Notes

I have asked myself often, “What would boxing be like in the Philippines after Manny Pacquiao retires?” Will people around the world continue to read what Pinoy boxing scribes write? Will they continue to visit Pacland or Philboxing? Is there any Filipino Boxer who can be the next Manny Pacquiao?

I have a few answers to those questions. First, boxing has existed even before the Pacquiao era. But Pacquiao brought boxing glory in its highest form to our Nation. Second, there is no such thing as “The Next Manny Pacquiao”. There is only one Manny Pacquiao and I would bet my virginity on the fact that no other Filipino can surpass what Pacquiao has achieved in boxing. If ever someone does, I’d be smiling six feet under by that time.

Lastly, Pacquiao is one great boxer, but there is more to Philippine Boxing than Manny Pacquiao. The Legend is not the only boxer we have. We have a lot of great boxers with the potentials of future boxing champs. And I saw some of them last Sunday at the Casino Filipino Bacolod. After the reigns of Negrense boxing legends like Pancho Villa, Benjamin Gan, Ben Villaflor, Rolando Bohol, Gerry and Dodie Penalosa, and Current Champ Donnie Nietes, a bright horizon lies ahead for Negros Professional Boxing.

Author’s Notes: This writer would like to acknowledge some people who have been instrumental in the success of last Sunday’s event. Hon. Monju Guanzon, Rev. Henry Guanzon, Naris Singwangcha, Aljoe Ortiz Jaro, Dodong Bascon, Paul Moles of Killer Bee, GAB Manila through Dr. Nasser Cruz, Dr. Rene Bonsubre and Dong Secuya of, Ferdie Estrella, Ver Abainza, Samson Libres, 101 Business Solutions, Boy Parroco and to all sponsors.

Photos by: Charles Dumancas

(Header photo- Villanueva with Naris Singwancha and Aljoe Jaro, lowermost photo – Villanueva with Hon. Monju Guanzon)

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