MEPRANUM OUTCLASSES TANZANIAN
By Edwin G. Espejo
15 Jun 2008
MAASIM, Sarangani – Richie Mepranum peppered his Tanzanian foe with lead lefts to the head and powerful hooks to the body over twelve rounds to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization oriental championship crown before his hometown folks here Saturday evening.
There were no knockdowns during the fight but Mepranum repeatedly staggered the game but outclassed Jumas Seleman Fundi to win via a unanimous decision.
It was Richie's 17th win in 19 fights.
WBO vice president for Asia Leon Penoncillo, who oversaw the fight, said Mepranum will definitely go up in the ratings and could soon take a crack at the WBO flyweight crown now being held by Omar Narvaez of Argentina.
"Richie will probably climb up the top 15 in the flyweight class," he told Salven Lagumbay, one of the judges who scored the fight.
Lagumbay said Richie was bothered by the awkwardness of Fundi and could not connect his haymakers.
Mepranum started strong and quickly established his rhythm in the first round and had Fundi backpedaling after being tagged by a flurry of combination.
Mixing speed and accuracy, the local boxing idol here landed strong hooks to body of Fundi.
Fundi was wild with his right crosses as Mepranum quickly stepped out of harm's way after connecting his left leads.
The southpaw native of this fishing town was obviously trying to end the fight in the early rounds as Fundi earlier predicted he would knock out Mepranum.
In the fourth round, Fundi caught Richie with a left jab and a right straight that momentarily stopped the Filipino champion on his track.
But Richie continued his body attack and had the Tanzanian again backpedaling. The two exchange flurries towards the end of the canto.
It was the only round where Richie appeared to be on the receiving end of Fundi's wild-swinging attack.
The rest of the rounds clearly went Mepranum's way.
Mepranum is the reigning Philippine Boxing Fedration flyweight champion. He is managed by Maasim mayor Aniceto Lopez Jr.
In the main supporting event, Donie Mabao of Cagayan de oro City lost his Philippine junior flyweight crown via a ten-round controversial split decision to Ronald Castrodes of Lanao del Norte.
Mabao knocked down Castrodes in the third round with a thundering right straight.
Although Castrodes was up at the count of four, he was wobbly and Mabao pressed on his attack.
Castrodes would return the favor by sending Mabao in all fours seconds before the bell ended in round three.
In round six, Mabao appeared to have slipped after a furious exchange but the referee ruled it was a punch.
In the tenth and last round, a clash of head opened a deep cut on Castrodes' right eye. A point was deducted from Mabao due to accidental head butt.
The quickest fight of the evening was the PBF Mindanao super bantamweight bout between Pol Apolinario of Maasim and Ervin Jamlan of Cagayan de oro City.
Apolinario, another protégé of Mayor Lopez, dropped Jamlan with a right straight with just 47 seconds into the second round.
Jamlan failed to beat the count to give Apolinario this fifth KO victory in winning 11 of his 12 professional fights.
Two other events ended in abbreviated results.
Elmer Legaria of Maasim scored two knockdowns against Jojo Arnado of Bukidnon before the referee stopped the fight in the ninth stanza.
Rey Labao of Cebu's SSG Stable also kayoed Anthony Rosal of General Santos City with 29 seconds left in the sixth round.
Other results include a unanimous win by Ramie Laput of Digos City over Daniel Diolan of Manila and a technical draw between Kid Fernandez of Lanao del Norte and Wine Bartiquil of Pagadian City.
Top photo: Mepranum (R) in a file photo seeing action here against Ranada.
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