TOP FILIPINO CONTENDERS WHO MIGHT BECOME MAJOR TITLE WORLD CHAMPIONS THIS YEAR – Part II
By Myron Sta. Ana
12 Apr 2012
Continuation from the Bantamweight division:
MICHAEL “BRUCE LEE” DOMINGO (44-16-2, 23 KOs)
World Rankings: Not ranked by all the major sanctioning bodies except by IBO at #21
A Short Back story About Him: You may be raising your eyebrows now upon seeing Michael is included on this list and you may ask ‘what is he doing here?’. But like it or not, I have all the reasons and the right to include him as on May 26th in Accra, Ghana; he is already scheduled to trade leathers with one of the best in the bantamweight division right now, former 1-defense WBF and 2-time IBF Bantamweight champion, Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko (28-4-0, 22 KOs) for the vacant IBO 118-lb title. Now, who knows if he can or cannot win? IBO or International Boxing Organization might not be as prominent as WBC, WBA, IBF, or WBO but it is now considered a major world title as well. If you do not recognize it as such, then that makes the great Manny Pacquiao a 7-division world champion only because one of his titles was the IBO Light Welterweight belt he won when he knocked out Ricky Hatton of the UK in May 2009. Anyway, Michael (who has a moniker of Bruce Lee due to his slight resemblance to his legendary namesake,) is a tough and durable veteran of 62 fights. Also, he is better than what his record shows despite being ‘hard luck’ early in his boxing career. He had had an unfortunately unimpressive showing from 1999 to early 2007 within which he was knocked out by the likes of 2-time WBO Super Bantamweight title challenger, Sod Kokietgym, former 5-defense WBF & one-time WBA Super Bantamweight champion, Somsak Sithchatchawal and French Frederic Patrac in a vacant WBF Bantamweight title bout. He had also lost by way of decisions to former 3-defense WBA Super Featherweight champion, Jorge “El Nino de Oro” Linares of Venezuela and former 2-defense WBA Super Bantamweight champion, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym of Thailand. His record went 33-14-2 with 15 KOs; definitely unattractive. However; starting on August 12, 2007 when he was already with the ALA stable of Cebu’s Aldeguer family; his career turned better. On the undercard of the Philippines vs Mexico Boxing World Cup organized by Golden Boy Promotions, he made a name for himself when he outclassed then undefeated and highly-touted Featherweight prospect, Miguel Roman of Mexico. From then on, he went 11-2-0 with 8 KOs. His only two losses since then came from South African Vusi Malinga in a close IBF Bantamweight title eliminator fight on October 30th two years ago and just this September last year when he was outpointed by fellow Filipino bantamweight contender, former Interim WBA Super Flyweight ruler; Drian “Gintong Kamao” Francisco.
Ring Smarts/Winning Tools: He is another solid pugilist from the ALA stable who knows what a jab is for. He throws them frequently as necessary not just to get the right distance but to hurt his opponent as well while looking for openings to land his hard right straight to. Also, he is another excellent body puncher whose signature shot would be his left to the body; a left that has helped him knock out some of his past opponents. Let us not forget his tight defense as well, which makes it hard to hit him. Finally, although he is normally a slow starter, he is equally known for his calculated aggressiveness in the ring that he resorts to when he knows he already hurt his opponent.
Noteworthy Opponents Beaten: Former 1-defense WBO Bantamweight champion, Ratanachai Singwancha of Thailand (TKO9); Former 2-time world title challenger and ex-prospect, Miguel “Mickey” Roman of Mexico (UD6); Former amateur standout and IBA Super Flyweight champion, Jose Navarro of the US; former WBO Super Flyweight title challenger, Luis “Surtigas” Melendez of Colombia; and current OPBF Bantamweight champion, Rolly “Rolly Matsushita” Lunas (UD10)
Next Scheduled Fight: As mentioned, he is going to fight former 2-time IBF Bantamweight champion, Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko on May 26th in Accra, Ghana for the vacant IBO Bantamweight belt.
REY “BOOM BOOM” BAUTISTA (33-2-0, 25 KOs) – Current IBF International Featherweight champion
World Rankings: Unranked by WBC, Unranked by WBA, #4 by IBF, unranked by WBO
Ring Smarts/Winning Tools: Putting aside his still-to-be-improved defense, inconsistent head movement (which he has somehow worked on) and remaining flat-footedness in the ring, he has all the other weapons he needs to beat a world champion starting with his offense. Although he may look tight at times, he could be a punching machine once he lets go of his power punches two of which are his bread and butter, his left hook and right straight. And these punches are so hard and powerful that 24 opponents in his 33 wins have tasted the canvas, some even got knocked out hard. In addition, he also has the courage and the heart in the ring and never backs off from going toe to toe with his opponent. He just has to be very careful with punches that he does not see and those unexpected ones that he does not know where they are coming from if he is going to mix it up as his opponent may return the favor and hits him with a barrage of punches. These assets coupled with him improving his penetrable defense, moving side to side in the ring, bouncing some more so as not to plant his feet on the canvas, and moving his head some more to evade power punches; he can surely be a force to reckon with and a challenger to worry about in the Featherweight division.
Noteworthy Opponents Beaten: The truth be told, it was only Daniel Ponce de Leon and Heriberto Ruiz who are the named boxers on his resume and he lost to both of them, one via an embarrassing knockout and the other one being a stinging 8-round decision loss. Good for him though that he was able to avenge the second loss by beating the latter, Ruiz, in a rematch on June 11, 2011 by way of a 7th-round technical decision.
Next Scheduled Fight: In my opinion, his handlers should take advantage of his #4 rating in the IBF if they desire their ward to ever be a world champion in the 126-lb division. As they know, he is not being recognized by the other governing bodies so IBF is their only hope for now. The reigning champion in the organization is Billy “The Kid” Dib of Australia and he is arguably the least dangerous belt holder whom he may have more chances against. However, news on the web are all pointing to ALA Promotions negotiating a fight with the real Genaro Garcia of Puebla, Mexico whose AKA is Poblanito as his next opponent instead of a world title shot. I believe they are doing this needless fight due to the embarrassment the last fight’s fiasco has caused to their reputation and not really to prepare their boxer for a well-deserved title shot. We are all aware that they fell victim to being shortchanged by their contact matchmaker in Mexico, a certain Hugo Correa. Instead of being sent the real Genaro “Poblanito” Garcia, they were sent a bum with a ring name of “Panterita” and who has a sorry record of 10-11-0, 6 KOs at the time of the fight.
LORENZO “THUNDERBOLT” VILLANUEVA (22-0-0, 21 KOs) – Current WBO Oriental Featherweight Champion
World Rankings: Unranked by WBC, Unranked by WBA, #14 by IBF, #6 by WBO
Ring Smarts/Winning Tools: This boxer from Midsayap, North Cotabato may be limited technically but he is one exciting fighter to watch in the ring. What he lacks in skills that still need to be fine-tuned, he definitely makes up for his power, resiliency and aggression. He just needs to get through with one big left straight, and that is it. Fight is over. One more special and interesting thing about him is his granite chin. He stays up and fighting back even if you hit him multiple times on his face and head. Hence, nobody can doubt his proven bravery and tenacity. As long as his handlers do something about polishing his skills and teaching him to vary his punches and not just stick to 1-2 combinations, he will definitely go a long way; someone who is even in the mold of the late Edwin Valero whom he is getting comparisons with.
Noteworthy Opponents Beaten: Former amateur standout and 1-defense WBO Oriental Featherweight champion, Eric “Mr. Golpe Golpe” Canoy (TKO10) and former 1-time WBC Super Bantamweight title challenger, Balweg “The Davao Hitman” Bangoyan (Retired)
Next Scheduled Fight: Just like Michael Domingo, he is scheduled to appear in an IBO-sanctioned world title. He will face Indonesia’s pride, Daud Cino “The Stone” Yordan (28-2-0, 22 KOs) for the Featherweight belt at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on May 5th.
AL “CAPTAIN A” SABAUPAN (18-0-1, 13 KOs) – Current IBF Pan Pacific Lightweight champion
World Rankings: Unranked by WBC, Unranked by WBA, #4 by IBF, Unranked by WBO
Ring Smarts/Winning Tools: If there is one weapon that he is best known for, that is his aggression and activity in the ring. He wastes no time and does not settle for just waiting to throw his counters. He presses the action and always tries to come out with a knockout win, which explains his 72% KO rate. He also makes good use of his right jab and throws his telling left straights with frequency trying to catch his opponents going in. Albeit very active and athletic in the ring, on the other hand, he has some areas for improvement to work on. He leaves himself open for accurate counter punches and is inconsistent with his footwork. There are times that he has the tendency to plant his feet on the canvas to prepare to go toe to toe with his opponent. Also, he shoots from afar therefore decreasing the impact of his power punches on his opponent. Unless these kinks in his arsenal are straightened, he will surely have a hard time dealing with the reigning champion in the IBF, Miguel Vasquez of Mexico who is known to be a boxer who loves punching from long range and has a wide advantage in height and reach. Nevertheless, he is one of the country’s hopes in the deep 135-lb weight category.
Noteworthy Opponents Beaten: He certainly needs to step up his level of competition. Although he was able to beat fellow Filipino prospect, Jonel Gadapan of Iligan City impressively on the undercard of the Brian Viloria-Giovani Segura showdown last December at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City, he is still a diamond in the rough and hasn’t really beaten any challenging foreign opponent nor a lot of local contenders who would give him a run for his money.
Next Scheduled Bout: Speaking of stepping up, that he’ll certainly do as he is already confirmed to test skills and mettle with IBF #5, Marvin “Cachorro” Quintero (24-3-0, 20 KOs) of Mexico on April 22nd (Sunday morning in Manila) reportedly at the Unidad Deportiva Centenario (Centennial Sports Unit) in Morelia, Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico.
Click here for Part I.
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