LOOKING BACK AT SOME INTERESTING PINOY VS. PINOY PROSPECT BATTLES
By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
22 Jul 2017
Most Filipino boxing fans are resistant to the idea of having two Filipino boxers fight for a world title. Or so I’ve been told. They are also not keen with the idea of having two Pinoy prospects square off against each other. I have been told that as well.
Two Filipinos fighting for a world title has not happened since 1938. But as far as contenders and prospects are concerned, I would like to point out that many all-Filipino match-ups were great fights and even became key to a boxer’s development. There are also those whose careers went into a tailspin after a loss but that is the reality in sports.
So, here are some of my favorite examples of all-Pinoy prospect battles from the recent past:
Mark Anthony Geraldo WMD 10 Jerwin Ancajas (3-17-2012), Hoops Dome, Lapulapu City, Cebu
This fight is frequently mentioned after Ancajas won the IBF world junior bantamweight title and it remains the only loss in his career. Geraldo was on the B-side of this match-up and actually lost to another up and coming prospect, Arthur Villanueva by a close technical decision a year earlier.
My ringside report stated that Geraldo had the slight edge in punch accuracy in the early rounds. Ancajas gained momentum in the middle rounds but Geraldo’s exquisite boxing skills and controlled aggression in the homestretch pulled him through. The scores – 97-94, 98-92 and 95-95.
Geraldo got a world ranking after this fight but eventually lost to Puerto Rican McJoe Arroyo in an IBF eliminator in 2014 and to Japanese Takuma Inoue in 2015. He revived his career early this year by beating another Filipino prospect, Kenny Demecillo in Hong Kong for the WBO Oriental bantamweight title.
Ancajas climbed his way back up and dethroned McJoe Arroyo last year in Taguig City. He has two successful defenses of his IBF world crown this year, the second being on the main undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight in Brisbane.
Marlon Tapales WTKO 2 Randy Petalcorin (1-23-2010), Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City.
This fight happened early in their careers. In fact Petalcorin only had five fights going into this one while Tapales had eleven. This fight was also on the undercard of Brian Viloria’s loss to Colombian Carlos Tamara so only the main bout got most the press reports the morning after.
So the early loss did not hurt him that much. In fact both would go on to win world title belts and Petalcorin did it before Tapales.
In 2014 Petalcorin won the WBA interim light flyweight title in Shanghai by stopping Panamanian Walter Tello in seven rounds. Two years later, Tapales dethroned Thai Pungluang Sor Singyu for the WBO bantamweight title by 11th round KO in Thailand. Both Tapales and Petalcorin are now ex-champions.
Another example of future champs meeting early in their careers are Sonny Boy Jaro and Florante Condes. And they did it twice.
In his second pro fight Condes lost a split verdict to Jaro in 2002 but he stopped Jaro in two rounds five months later. Both fights were held in Metro Manila. Condes would have a short reign as IBF minimumwieght champion in 2007 after beating Indonesian Muhamad Rachman by split decision while Jaro scored an upset TKO win over long reigning WBC flyweight champ Pongsaklek Wonjongkam of Thailand in 2012. Both Jaro and Condes lost in their first title defense.
Arthur Villanueva WUD 12 Marco Demecillo (4-20-2013), USeP Gymnasium, Davao City.
This was a match between two undefeated prospects on a collision course on the undercard of a Pinoy Pride fight card in Mindanao. Villanueva, who was then an OPBF titlist, gave a masterful boxing display against the feared knockout puncher and also took Demecillo’s best body shots. Villanueva even traded at close range especially when Demecillo was fading. Villanueva won by a wide margin – 118-109, 119-108,119-108.
Demecillo’s career never recovered after this loss. He would lose to Mexican David Sanchez by 4th round KO in 2014. Aside from losing to Filipinos Monico Laurente and Jeo Santisima, Demecillo would continue to lose on the road to Australians TJ Doheny and Jason Moloney and Russian Valery Tretyakov.
Villanueva would win more regional titles but came up short in two world title attempts - by technical decision to McJoe Arroyo (IBF) in 2015 and by unanimous decision to South African Zolani Tete (WBO) this year.
Marco Demecillo TKO3 Marvin Mabait (4-22-2012),Mactan Sports Complex, Lapu-lapu City, Cebu
Before Demecillo lost to Villanueva in the above mentioned fight, he squared off against another unbeaten prospect, Mabait in a rematch of a majority draw that happened when they were still four rounders. It turned out to be a very dramatic fight.
Just like in their first meeting three years earlier, Mabait knocked him down in the first round. This time Demecillo was really hurt. Mabait pounced and pinned Demecillo on the ropes and landed more hooks to the body and head. Marco miraculously survived and in the second round, Mabait looked spent and it was time for Demecillo to turn the tide, firing vicious hooks and uppercuts to the body. The third round bell sounded and Demecillo pounded Mabait on the ropes and landed one hard punch after another. A stunning left sent Mabait crashing in the neutral corner and his trainer signaled that he did not want his boxer to continue.
While Demecillo’s career went on a downward spiral after losing to Villanueva, Mabait got a WBO regional belt a year and a half later in Mexico. But he lost in his world title shot in 2014 to then WBC superflyweight champ Carlos Cuadras of Mexico by 6th round TKO in a fight held in Washington, D.C. Mabait has not fought since the Cuadras loss.
Drian Francisco WUD 10 Michael Domingo (9-23-2011), Makati Coliseum, Makati City
Another highly anticipated all-Pinoy encounter and a fork in the road battle. At that point in time, Francisco had just lost his WBA interim world super flyweight title in Thailand while Domingo was a familiar face in the big ALA cards in Cebu. Domingo also was a fan favorite because of his journeyman to contender story but he lost one year earlier in an IBF eliminator to South African Vusi Malinga by unanimous decision
The fight turned out to be a chess match for ten rounds. Francisco’s awkwardness proved to be a bigger problem than expected for Domingo. He piled up the points early as Domingo was content to play the waiting game. Past the halfway mark, Domingo tried to be more aggressive but Francisco was an elusive target to counter. The scores - 96-93, 95-94 and 96-93.
Domingo retired after winning his next two fights and is now a trainer in the ALA Gym.
Francisco lost to American Chris Avalos in 2013 by unanimous decision in Las Vegas and was upset by Jason Canoy of the Omega Gym by first round TKO in 2015, as well as a unanimous loss to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux. His last fight was a win against Mateo Handig early this year.
There were interesting all-Filipino prospect fights that happened in the past couple of years but for the die-hard fans, they are still relatively few. Examples for 2016 are Jimmy Paypa W SD12 over the veteran Bernabe Concepcion, Roberto Gonzales WTKO7 Arjan Canillas, Joey Canoy WTKO6 Toto Landero, Ryan Sermona WTKO5 Roberto Gonzales, Al Rivera WKO2 Adonis Cabalquinto. This year we saw Jade Bornea W UD10 Raul Yu, Jonas Sultan W KO8 former world champ Sonny Boy Jaro Mark Anthony Geraldo W UD12 Kenny Demecillo and two weeks ago, between two former world title challengers - Joey Canoy beating Melvin Jerusalem by unanimous decision.
It was unfortunate that the rematch between two WBO world ranked boxers – Jessie Espinas and Christian Araneta in Bohol was cancelled due to Araneta’s training injury. But in the end, if fans make enough noise and demand for the top prospects to face each other, maybe we will get to see who is really the best in the domestic front.
Photo – top left to right – Jerwin Ancajas, Mark Anthony Geraldo, Arthur Villanueva, bottom row – left to right – Marlon Tapales, Marco Demecillo, Drian Francisco.
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