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Tough test for Penalosa


PhilBoxing.com




Gerry and Carlo Penalosa (right).

Carlo Penalosa is next in line to uphold the family tradition of boxing champions and he’s determined to follow in the footsteps of uncles Gerry and Dodie Boy. This afternoon, Penalosa will attempt to capture the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight title when he battles Mexico’s Maximino Flores in a 12-rounder at the TV5 Studios, Novaliches.

Penalosa’s mother Marissa is the sister of Gerry and Dodie Boy, both former two-time world titleholders. Gerry, 47, held the WBC superflyweight and WBO bantamweight crowns while Dodie Boy, 56, was the IBF lightflyweight and flyweight ruler. Now, Penalosa, 26, hopes to join his uncles in the ranks of Filipino world champions.

It won’t be an easy ascent. Flores, 28, is a rugged veteran with a 24-4-1 record, including 17 KOs. He’s coming off a first round disposal of Jorge Hernandez in Tijuana. In 2016, Flores was in Bacolod to face Milan Melindo and lost on a seventh round technical decision as the fight went to the scorecards when the Filipino was cut over the left eye by an accidental headbutt. He vowed to win his second assignment in the country. Flores turned pro in 2010 and started his career on an 8-0 run. His biggest triumphs were over previously unbeaten Angel Ramos and David Martinez, both of whom he stopped. In 2017, he dropped a 12-round decision to Andrew Selby in England.

Penalosa, a southpaw, has never fought overseas but his last three victims were foreigners, all of whom were knocked out. They were Indonesia’s Iwan Key, Tanzania’s Jemsi Kibazange and Thailand’s Watana Phenbaan. Since losing a split six-round decision to Reymark Taday in 2017, Penalosa has won seven in a row, the last four inside the distance to raise his record to 14-1, with 7 KOs.

With his uncle Gerry promoting, Penalosa said he won’t let the family down. “Pinaghandaan ko ito,” he said. “Ito na ang aking pagkakataon maging world champion. Gagawin ko ang lahat upang manalo. Malakas at matibay si Flores. Pero wala akong kinakatakutan.” Gerry’s brother Jonathan, who fought for the WBA flyweight crown and lost in 1992, will be in Penalosa’s corner as chief second.


Maximino Flores and trainer Rafael Guzman.

Flores and trainer Rafael Guzman arrived from Mexico last Sunday. Flores’ manager Sergio Sotelo flew in the next day. “In all my fights, I leave everything in the ring and that’s what I’m known for,” said Flores in Spanish. “This won’t be an exception. I guarantee it will be an exciting fight for the fans.”

One of five children, Flores said Penalosa is no exceptional fighter. “I don’t see anything different in his style compared to others,” said the welder’s son. “He knows how to box. But he leaves himself wide open.”

Referee for the fight is Australia’s Garry Dean, 68. The judges are Adam Height of Australia, Kevin Pyne of New Zealand and Jerrold Tomeldan of the Philippines. IBO Asia-Pacific vice president Steve Scott of New Zealand is the supervisor.

The Florida-based IBO was established in 1988 and Ed Levine has been its president since 1999. Although it isn’t recognized as one of the world’s four major boxing bodies, the IBO has a reputation of transparency and objectivity as its ratings are generated by a computer system. Sen. Manny Pacquiao was once the IBO lightwelterweight champion and Nonito Donaire, the IBO flyweight titlist. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. was an IBO welterweight king.

The title fight will be the main event of a card featuring the Ultimate Boxing Series (UBS) flyweight and bantamweight finals in a pair of eight-round supporting bouts. In the flyweight final, unbeaten April Jay Abne takes on Ronel Sumalpong while in the bantamweight final between undefeated fighters, Aljum Pelesio meets Lienard Sarcon.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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