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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Elorde boys carry D’Flash’s torch

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
27 Mar 2019


Juan Martin (left) and Juan Miguel Elorde.

Elorde brothers Juan Miguel and Juan Martin scored contrasting wins to highlight a mini-card of four fights that were an added attraction to the 19th Elorde Awards Night at the Okada Hotel and Casino, Paranaque, last Monday.

Juan Miguel, known as Mig, was pushed to the limit by Japan’s Shohei Kawashima in retaining his WBO Asia Pacific superbantamweight crown via a unanimous 12-round decision while Juan Martin, known as Bai, blasted Indonesia’s Rengga Rengga into a surprise submission at the end of two rounds of a superlightweight sixer.

It was a tactical victory for Mig who backtracked and sidestepped to throw the onrushing Kawashima off-balance most of the way. The Japanese challenger, coming off a fifth round knockout win over Filipino Ronnie Ocampo, couldn’t get untracked with his combinations and later resorted to throwing right haymakers in trying to pin Mig down. Mig, 32, was content to counter and fought in spurts. Kawashima, 27, was never in dire straits but neither was Mig.

Mig’s father Johnny, one of D’Flash’s three sons, worked his corner with trainer Toto Laurente and kept reminding his son to go for points. Kawashima showed up with a full tank and didn’t run out of gas. From start to finish, he chased Mig around the ring and couldn’t find a standing target. Mig kept luring Kawashima to a corner and along the ropes so he could counter at his pace. The trap worked like a charm as Kawashima couldn’t bring Mig to the center of the ring.

While Mig’s performance was convincing, the jury’s still out on whether he deserves a world title shot soon. He didn’t let his hands go consistently and engaged Kawashima toe-to-toe only sporadically. For a WBO No. 2 contender looking to challenge WBO titlist Emanuel Navarrete of Mexico, Mig has to be more aggressive, active and accurate. The win raised his record to 28-1, with 15 KOs. It was the fourth defense of the WBO Asia Pacific belt he won in 2015. Kawashima’s mark dropped to 17-3-2, with 4 KOs.

Judge Gil Co had it 115-113 while judges Bruce McTavish and Martino Redona of Hawaii scored it 117-111, all for Mig. The three judges concurred in scoring rounds 1, 2, 4, 6, 11 and 12 for Mig, meaning he had a strong start and finish.

Bai, 34, put the pressure on Rengga, 37, from the opening bell and didn’t give the Indonesian a chance to retaliate. Late in the second round, Bai landed vicious left hooks to the jaw that stunned but not staggered Rengga. To everyone’s surprise, Rengga refused to come out for the third round and surrendered on his stool. GAB chairman Abraham Mitra, watching at ringside, said he would summon Rengga’s handlers for an explanation. Rengga didn’t seem badly hurt but probably quit to avoid taking a beating. He just showed up for a paycheck. In other countries, the paycheck of a fighter who quits without being seriously hurt is withheld, pending an investigation. Bai made a successful comeback from over a year’s layoff and improved his record to 24-2-1, with 11 KOs. Rengga’s mark fell to 8-3, with 2 KOs.

In other bouts, Albert Francisco stopped Dave Pacunla with a second left in the first round of a flyweight curtain raiser and WBO Asia Pacific flyweight champion Casey (Lady Hawaiian Punch) Morton pounded out a disputed split 10-round decision over Japanese challenger Chie Higano. Morton had difficulty fending off Higano who was on attack mode from the onset. Higano totally outworked Morton and kept her on the defensive throughout the contest. Morton had a few bright moments when she stepped back and unleashed but Higano never relinquished control. Judge Elmo Colona had it 97-93 and judge Atty. Danrex Tapdasan scored it 96-94, both for Morton while judge Virgilio Garcia saw it 96-94 for Higano.

D’Flash’s widow Laura attended the affair which brought in former world champions Rolando Navarrete, Erbito Salavarria, Rene Barrientos, Rolando Pascua, Tacy Macalos and Ronnie Magramo, Las Vegas international matchmaker Sean Gibbons, WBO vice president and WBO regional chairman Leon Panoncillo, ESPN5 head Lloyd Manaloto and International Boxing Hall of Famer and former Ring Magazine editor Nigel Collins.


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