Philippines, 29 Feb 2024
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CEBU ? A wonderful New Year was looming for Vic Saludar inside the ring of the Aichi Prefectural Gym. He challenged Kosei Tanaka for the WBO world minimumweight title on New Year?s Eve 2015 and was leading on the scorecards and even knocked down the Japanese in round five.

But Tanaka came back in round six and knocked out Saludar with a hard body shot. One punch shattered the dreams of the South Cotabato native while Tanaka one year later would go on and win a second WBO world title in the light flyweight division by stopping Mexican Moises Fuentes in five rounds.

The 26 year old Saludar (14W-2L,9KO?s) went on a rebuilding process, winning three straight fights since the Tanaka defeat. One of those wins involved a revenge unanimous verdict against Powell Balaba, who gave him his first career loss in his third pro fight. Saludar suffered a hand fracture in 2013 after dropping Balaba and had to retire on his stool. Saludar has also garnered the WBO Asia-Pacific and WBO Oriental belts last year.

Filipino boxing fans are familiar with the Saludar surname. One of his brothers, Rey won a flyweight gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games. Another brother Froilan (24W-2L-1D,15KO?s) is a former WBO Intercontinental and Asia-Pacific flyweight titlist.

Vic had a successful amateur career and had stints with the Philippine national team, winning medals at the national and international level. He is a six time national champion. He won a bronze medal at the same 2010 Asiad. Vic, who was then known by his full name, Victorio Saludar, was in a talented light flyweight division that had future professional world champs Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand and Zou Shiming of China.

Vic lost to Kazakhstan?s Birzhan Zhakypov in the semis. Shiming would eventually bag the gold by beating Zhakypov while Vic and Ruenroeng were awarded bronzes.

Both Vic and Rey captured gold medals in the 2010 Tammer Cup in Finland. Vic?s opponent in the finals was England?s Charlie Edwards. This could very well be the same Edwards who lost to then IBF flyweight champ Johnriel Casimero last year.

Vic turned pro in 2013 with a first round TKO of Juanito Hundante at the Solaire Resort and Casino. ) He is ranked number two in the world in the minimumwieght division in the April 2017 rankings of the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Tatsuya Fukuhara of Japan has the WBO 105lb division title.

Vic Saludar remains in the title hunt and it will be very interesting to see if he can finally bag a world title if given another chance.

On June 10 at the Mandaue City Sports Complex here in Cebu, Saludar will fight Toto Landero (8-1-2,2KO?s), who captured the WBC Eurasia Pacific minimumweight title in 2016.

Also set to see action in Mandaue is Froilan Saludar who will face Salatiel Amit (10W-2L-2D,7KO?s) of the Omega Gym.

The June 10 card billed as "ENGKWENTRO DINHI SA MANDAUE " VISAYAS VS. MINDANAO is promoted by Kenneth Rontal of the Championship Boxing Development of the Philippines. It will also feature the WBO Asia Pacific Youth light flyweight title fight between Vince Paras (10W-0L,9KO?s) and the Omega gym?s Jimboy Haya (10W-3L-2D,6KO?s), Robert Paradero (13W-0L,8KO?s) against veteran Fabio Marfa (25W-33L-4D,12KO?s) and as a special attraction on the card, a female bout featuring undefeated Casey Morton from Hawaii, USA against Phannaluk Kongsang of Thailand.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rene Bonsubre, Jr..

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