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Wakee Salud reprises role as boxing kingmaker


PhilBoxing.com




The resounding triumph of Filipino boxer Marlon 'The Nightmare' Tapales just two days ago in Thailand did not only add spark to the already glittering Philippine boxing scene, it also reprise the role of Cebuano topnotch promoter Rex "Wakee" Salud as a kingmaker.

Salud, Cebu's foremost pro boxing impresario who is a close associate and confidant of eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, was responsible for charting the career paths of the legendary Pe?alosa brothers Dodie Boy and Gerry, who went on to become two-division world champions during their heydays.

Under Salud's wings, Dodie Boy won the IBF light flyweight title via a 13th round stoppage of Japanese Satoshi Shingaki on December 10, 1983 at th Osaka-Jo Hall, Osaka, Osaka, Japan. After keeping his belt three times, he snared the IBF flyweight crown with a TKO victory of Korean Hi-Sup Shin on February 22, 1987 at the Indoor Gymnasium of Incheon in South Korea. The retired in 1995 with a 31-7-3 (13KOs) record.

Following in the footsteps of his older brother, Gerry also claimed two world titles in different weight division. He snatched the WBC super flyweight strap after eking out a split decision win over Japanese Hiroshi Kawashima on February 20, 1997 in Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan.

A decade later, Gerry basked in another world title glory when he scored a smashing seventh round KO of Mexican star Jhonny Gonzales to bag the WBO bantamweight championship on August 11, 2007 at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. After five more fights, he decided to hang up his gloves foor good with a 55-8-2 record spiked with 37KOs.

Aside from the Pe?alosas, Salud had another prized find n Malcom 'Eagle Eye' Tu?acao (35-3-3, 20KOs), who found a home in his stable after a glorious amateur career with the fabled ALA Gym, and gently guided him to become a world champ.

And Tu?acao did it in style, clinching the WBC flyweight belt with a seventh round KO of Thai Medgeon Singsurat in just his 11th pro fight on May 19, 2000 at the Srimnang Outdoor Arena in Udon Thani, Thailand.

After Tunacao and his equally revered contemporaries in Randy "Kumong Bato" Suico, Rev "The Gentle Giant" Santillan and Elmer "Ioka" Gejon, it took Salud nearly two decades to dig another fistic gem in Tapales and catapult him to world crowning glory.

"From the very first time I saw him fight in a boxing card in Sarangani province a few years back, I knew right away that this boy is full of talent and skills and will become a world champion someday. I just hope this will now be his moment," said Salud in an earlier interview.

Indeed, it was Tapales' moment to shine.

In an admirable display of true grit and iron will, Tapales rose up from the canvas twice to stop two-time world champion Pungluang Sor Singyu of Thailand in the eleventh round to capture the WBO bantamweight title last Wednesday afternoon in the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya.

Tapales, now 29-2 packed with 12KOs, is now the fourth reigning Filipino world champion after Donnie "Ahas" Nietes (WBO light flyweight), Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire, Jr. (WBO bantamweight) and Johnreil "Quadro Alas" Casimero (IBF flyweight).

More importantly for Salud, he could now lay claim as the country's winningest promoter having produced four world champions out of his stable nestled just beside his humble abode in Barangay Punta Princesa, Cebu City.

Boxing impresario Rex 'Wakee' Salud (in red stripe shirt) produced another world champion in Marlon Tapales (C).


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel B. Villaruel.


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