List of Articles by Salven L. Lagumbay
PINAY ABANIEL FAILS IN WBO TITLE BID IN OSAKA
By Salven L. Lagumbay
21 Sep 2014
OSAKA--Despite a spirited bid, gutsy Pinay Gretchen Abaniel fell short in her bid to add the WBO minimumweight title, losing via split decision to Japan's Kumiko Ikehara at the jampacked Azalea Taisho here.
The Filipina banger could not rev up her engine early enough to keep pace with her stronger foe, who outworked her 3 to 1 from all angles.
A cut suffered in the tenth frame further doomed Abaniel's bid, as the Filipina adopted a somewhat defensive mode most of the fight in lieu of her usual offensive style.
In the co-feature, 45-year-old civil worker Nao Ikeyama continues to defy time with a hard-fought unanimous decision verdict over game compatriot Masae Akitaya.
Akitaya seemed to have an edge early, moving and piling up points but Ikeyama found her range during close-quarter exchanges and scored a flash knockdown in the second round which may have saved her in this very close contest.
The double WBO championship bouts were presented by Futur Promotions of businessman Yasushi Hirayama.
The WBO has continued to make inroads in Japan with its Asia Pacific chairman Leon Panoncillo leading the charge.
Both Ikeyama and Ikehara are expected to defend their titles early next year.
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