Philippines, 10 Jul 2020
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Vic Saludar of the Philippines retained the WBO world minimumweight title by unanimous decision against Japanese challenger Masataka Taniguchi Tuesday night at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

Saludar was a bit hesitant in the opening round and two of the three judges gave the round to Taniguchi. Saludar took rounds two to six by using his long jab, quick right straight and lateral movement, effectively sidestepping whenever the southpaw Taniguchi tried to close in and land his left. Taniguchi continued to press the action but was tagged by Saludar?s hard counters.

Past the halfway mark, Taniguchi was more effective in engaging at close quarters. He may have sensed he was falling behind in the scores and became more aggressive. He earned the seventh round in all the judges? cards. The Japanese?s forward action continued trying to roughhouse his way and disrupt the Filipino?s game plan of fighting on the outside.

Saludar showed poise and accuracy in the endgame, sweeping the last three rounds in all the three judges? cards.

Photos by Sumio Yamada.

Vic Saludar (L) connects with a right at Masataka Taniguchi during their WBO world title fight Tuesday night at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo Japan.

The scores - Luis Ruiz (Puerto Rico) - 118-110, Chris Tellez (USA) -117-111 and Surat Soikrachang (Thailand)- 117-111. The referee was Kenny Bayless (USA).

Saludar is now 19-3,10KO?s while Taniguchi drops to 11-3,7KO?s. Trainer Michael Palacios was Saludar?s cornerman for this fight. Taniguchi came into this fight with wins against Filipinos Joel Lino, Joey Bactul, Benjie Bartolome, Dexter Alimento, Vincent Bautista and Raymark Taday

?Ring generalship, how he controlled the fight and patience were key in this victory,? Saludar?s promoter Kenneth Rontal told this writer after the fight.

Saludar?s skill level was honed by his stint with the Philippine amateur boxing team. He was a bronze medalist at the 2010 Asian Games in the 52kg category.

When asked if Saludar can defend his title on home soil, Rontal said they haven?t thought about his next fight. ?We just would like to thank all those who supported us and rest for the meantime.?

WBO Vice-President for Asia-Pacific Leo Panocillo Jr (L) and Referee Kenny Bayless of the United States raise the hands of Vic Saludar after the Filipino retained his WBO minimumweight title against Masataka Taniguchi of Japan Tuesday night at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

This was Saludar?s first defense of the title he won in July of last year in Kobe, Japan against Ryuya Yamanaka. This was also Saludar?s third trip to Japan, having lost to then champion Kosei Tanaka on New Year?s Eve 2015. Saludar?s experience in fighting world title bouts on the road made him defuse the difficult moments in his first title defense. He is one of the underappreciated boxers in the Philippines.

We hope with this win, he can defend at home.

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

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