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List of Articles by Lito delos Reyes



WA-O KNOCKED OUT IN OSAKA

By Lito delos Reyes
PhilBoxing.com
21 Jul 2016



OSAKA, Japan --- Defending Orient Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto of Japan landed his powerful right uppercut to knockout the raging Rex Wa-o of the Philippines in the first round of their title-fight to retain his title July 20 at the Edion Arena here.

The hard-hitting Yamamoto first knocked down Wa-o early in the opening round also with his right to the midsection. But Wa-o immediately stood up to beat the count.

Wa-o lived up to his monicker as the “Igorot Warrior” as he was the first one to initiate the trading of blows. Wa-o tried to land his whooping hooks and overhands but Yamamoto eluded them and defended well.

Wa-o, who still had loose seven pounds during the official weigh-in last Tuesday, continued to put pressure on Yamamoto and even hit him on the neck with a hook.

But Wa-o was also hit again by the same right punch and target that saw down on the canvas while grimacing in pain and trying to crawl towards his corner.

His trainer Eric Santig signaled to Wa-o to wait for the referee’s mandatory count to reach by six. But Wa-o was still in pain and could no longer stand up for the fight to end at 2:28 of the first round only.

“Masakit po talaga masyado ang tiyan ko at hindi ko na makaya,” (It was really very painful in my stomach and I could not take it anymore) said the 26-year old Wa-o during a post-fight interview.

Santig said Wa-o should have followed to their game plan which was not to immediately mix-up with the champion in the early rounds.

“Pero gusto talaga ni Rex na tapusin agad ang kalaban kaya siya ang unang sumugod agad,” (But Rex really wanted to finish immeditaley his opponent that is why he was the first one to attack.) bared Santig.

It was only Wa-o’s third defeat against 11 wins with nine knockouts, while the 25-year old Yamamoto improved to 18 wins with 15 knockouts and four losses.

Yamamoto won the OPBF title in a rematch with Yu Kawaguchi via a 7th round TKO on August 2 at the Prefectural Gym in Osaka. He earlier lost by a split decision to Kawaguchi in their first championship fight.

Yamamoto retained the crown via a 2nd round TKO victory over fellow Japanese Yuki Strong Kobayashi last December 31 in Osaka.

Wa-o, a former WBC International bantamweight last won by a first round technical knockout against Mike Espanosa on March 3, 2015 at the Makati Cinema Square Boxing Arena in Makati City.

He previously fought but lost to Xian Qian Wei by a unanimous decision last November 3 at the EXPO Garden Hotel, Kunming, China for both the WBC Asian Boxing Council featherweight title and the WBC Eurasia Pacific Boxing Council featherweight title.

Wao won the vacant WBC International bantamweight crown by stopping Virden Rivera on June 25, 2014 in Mandaluyong City.


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