Twenty Years into the New Decade PH Continues to Enjoy Golden Era of Boxing
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Sat, 15 Feb 2020
Twelve legitimate world champions and thirty five various major world division championships.
That's the harvest of Philippine boxing over the past twenty years (2000-2019) as it continuously enjoys a previously unparalleled golden era.
Some other countries like the US, the UK, Mexico and Japan could boast of higher numbers of world champions produced during the same period but probably not the same or higher number of world division championships won by the same number of world champion boxers during the same period.
Current and former multi division champions as Manny Pacquiao with nine, Nonito Donaire with seven, Donnie Nietes with four, Bryan Viloria also with four and Johnriel Casimero with three accounted for the bulk of world championships won during the twenty year period.
The other producers included current world titlists Jerwin Ancajas (IBFsuper flyweight 2016) and Pedro Taduran (IBF minimumweight 2019) and former titleholders Vic Saludar (WBO minimumweight 2018-2019), Milan Melindo (IBF flyweight 2017), Florante Condes (WBO minimumweight 2007-2008 ), Sonny Boy Jaro (WBC flyweight 2012 ) and Gerry Penalosa (WBO bantamweight 2007-2009).
A painting of Gerry Penalosa's win against Jhonny Gonzalez.
Penalosa who won a world championship at super flyweight (WBC) ahead of Pacquiao in 1997, won the WBO bantamweight title in 2007 but lost in his bid for the WBO super bantamweight by retirement to then Puerto Rican sensation Juan Manuel Lopez in 2009. He hang up his gloves in 2011.
Pacquiao celebrates after defeating Keith Thurman in July 2019.
Pacquiao won seven of his Guinness record eight world division championships during the same period and is now on his third reign as WBA welterweight super titlist after winning the WBO title twice before. He has also previously won and reigned at super bantamweight (IBF), featherweight (Ring), super featherweight (WBC), lightweight (WBC), super lightweight (Ring/IBO) and super welterweight (WBC).
Donaire wins a WBA belt.
Donaire held multiple titles in the flyweight (IBF/IBO), bantamweight ( WBC/WBO) super bantamweight (WBO/IBF) and featherweight (WBA) classes for much of the 2010s before moving back down to the bantamweights where he reigned last as WBA super champion, losing in a magnificent duel with Naoya Inoue late last year.
Nietes celebrates after defeating Kazuto Ioka in Macau.
Nietes held two previous world championships with the WBO at minimumweight and light flyweight and one with the IBF at flyweight before winning and vacating the WBO super flyweight title early last year. He has remained undefeated as world titlist since 2007 and as a fighter since 2003. But he has yet to return to the ring since November 2018.
Brian Viloria celebrates.
Viloria won the WBC and later the IBF world titles in the light flyweight in 2005 and 2009 and became unified (WBO and WBA) world flyweight champion in 2012. He lost his flyweight titles to Mexican current pound for pound great Juan Francisco Estrada in 2013. He has been inactive since 2017 after losing to current WBA flyweight champion Artem Dalakian.
Casimero won his first world title with the WBC at light flyweight. After losing it virtually at the weight scale, he won the WBC flyweight belt in his second attempt against Thai defending champion Amnat Ruenroeng. But after one successful defense, he vacated it due again to weight issues. He won his third world title at bantamweight with WBO after a resounding knockout victory over South Africa's Zolani Tete late last year.
This golden era figures to continue as the 21st century enters its third decade this year with Pacquiao, Ancajas and Taduran as reigning world champions and Donaire and Casimero seeking greater glory in two major fights set this spring in the US.
Pacquiao, Ancajas, Taduran and Casimero.
Casimero will tangle with Naoya Inoue in an all important unification bout set April 25 in the USA with the WBA, WBO, IBF and the Ring bantamweight titles at stake.
Donaire, meanwhile is set to challenge WBC bantamweight ruler Nordine Oubaali of France also in the USA this April or May.
Taduran has recently successfully defended his world title while Pacquiao and Ancajas are set to defend theirs by the middle of the year in what are seen as high paying, big event bouts most likely also in the USA.
Also set to fight for world championships are Jeo Santisima who is challenging Mexican Emanuel Navarette for his WBO super bantamweight title next weekend in Las Vegas and Giemel Magramo who has been seeded to vie for the vacant WBO flyweight crown against a Puerto Rican or a Japanese sometime the first half of the current year.
However, Ahas Nietes, a major contributor to the country's rich title harvest of the previous decades, has yet to see action since November 2018 when he defeated Kazuto Ioka for the WBO super flyweight belt vacated by Naoya Inoue.
Let us hope that the good times for Philippine boxing continue to roll this year and in the years to come.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
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