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List of Articles by Rene Bonsubre, Jr.



By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
14 May 2018

CEBU - Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jorge Linares did not disappoint. Fight fans got to see both boxers at their best. The 30 year old Lomachenko, gold medalist during the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, captured his third professional world title in as many weight divisions in his twelfth bout. He now owns the record for being the fastest to win a triple crown.

Linares, an accomplished champion in his own right, having won three division titles, scored a knockdown in the sixth round courtesy of a right straight, a time-tested weapon against a southpaw like Lomachenko.

Whether it was because Lomachenko got too confident or had a lapse in concentration and stayed a second too long in front of Linares, it showed his vulnerability. But it also showed that he is more dangerous when getting off the canvas. The fight once again showcased Lomachenko’s near flawless footwork and ability to find punching angles while avoiding hard counters.

Four years ago, I had the privilege of watching Loma up close in Macao, when he beat Thai Suriya Tatakhun, by unanimous decision even when the Ukrainian was fighting with an injured hand. Lomachenko’s footwork and grace made my jaw drop. Like he was floating inside the ring. A fighter with the feet of a ballerina.

Lomachenko dropped the Venezuelan Linares with a body shot in the tenth and took the WBA lightweight title at the fabled Madison Square Garden.

Lomachenko turned down a Manny Pacquiao fight early this year. But who knows, anything can happen in boxing. Lomachenko (11-1,9KO’s), whose amateur record is 396-1, is also widely considered as the best boxer pound per pound today, a title once held by Pacquiao.

'The Little Boy' Mark Anthony Barriga outclasses many of his taller opponents.

Here on local shores, Mark Anthony Barriga showed fans his version of the Matrix when he blanked Colombian veteran Gabriel Mendoza at the SM Skydome in Metro Manila. Barriga befuddled Mendoza all night, with his slick defense and sharp, accurate counters.

Last Sunday, Barriga beat Mendoza by scores of 120-108, 120-108, 119-109. The 24 year old Barriga, a 2012 Olympian, is unbeaten in nine pro bouts and earned the right to face the winner of the fight between IBF world minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi of Japan and Filipino challenger Vince Paras which will be held this May 20 in Japan.

Last year in Beijing, international matchmaker Sean Gibbons called Barriga “the Filipino Lomachenko”. Barriga beat Thai Wittawas Bassapean, also by a one-sided unanimous decision, to win the WBO International minimumweight title inside Beijing’s Heyuan Garden Hotel.

On the undercard matches, Genesis Servania, a former ALA boxer who lost by unanimous decision in his WBO world featherweight title shot to Mexican Oscar Valdez last year, used a left to the midsection ala-Lomachenko to stop Indonesian Jason Butar-Butar in round five.

Servania, who is now based in Japan, was reported to have signed a contract with Top Rank early this year.

Another former ALA fighter, AJ Banal, won a unanimous decision over another Indonesian, Master Suro. Banal is now with the same Survival camp stable as Barriga.

An overweight Marvin Sonsona winning a unanimous decision verdict over Indonesian Arief Blader but failed to answer the question of whether he can recapture the form that made him the second youngest Filipino world boxing champion in 2009.

Kudos to TV5 and their sports division ESPN5 for airing the Barriga-Mendoza fight card live. Filipino boxing fans rarely get to see a local boxing show aired on the same night. In fact, the number of boxing shows on Philippine television are dwindling.

Ironic considering that there are two all-Filipino match-ups for world titles set this year. But most Filipino boxing fans, unless they really get out of their way to travel to remote venues, never get to see what happens at the grassroots level where our fine fighters are being honed.

Manny Pacquiao cannot fight forever. Local bandwagoners should bear that in mind. For local boxing to survive in the post-Pacquiao era, local promoters must get more sponsors and local boxers, more air time.

Back to Rene Bonsubre, Jr.'s Articles Listing

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