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STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART X: FLASH ELORDE, THE FIRST ASIAN INTERNATIONAL BOXING HALL OF FAMER


PhilBoxing.com




There were no world title bouts for Elorde after the loss to Sandy Saddler. But he was able to maintain his ranking as a world contender and won the Philippine and Orient Pacific Boxing Federation lightweight titles.

He won the world super featherweight championship on March 16, 1960, by knocking out the defending world champion American Harold Gomes in seven rounds. That night, Elorde ended the country's 20-year world championship drought.

It was the first title defense of Gomes from the belt he took from fellow American Paul Jorgensen. The fight took place at the newly built Araneta Coliseum, the biggest dome in Asia that time.

The crowd estimated to be around 30,000 cheered the Filipino ring hero and several fans climbed into the ring after Gomes went down to his knees and was knocked out at one minute 50 seconds of the seventh round. The victory occurred two decades after another Filipino Ceferino Garcia lost the word middleweight title he held until 1940.

Elorde floored Gomes in the second round with a solid right hook to the head. The Filipino challenger floored the 25-year-old American again in the third round and in the fifth round, dropping him to the lower rope at the end of the round.

In the sixth round, Gomes was able to recover and was trying to fight back. But as the seventh round began, Elorde pummelled him again with a barrage of blows with rights to the head followed by a left to the jaw that decked him once more.

Gomes was able to stand up but was floored again after Elorde hit him with a flurry of lefts and rights. The Flash did not stop hitting the champion with an aggregate of punches that prompted the referee Barney Ross to count him out. When Gomes recovered his senses, he approached Elorde in his corner and told him "It was a good fight".

Elorde again defeated Gomes on August 17, 1960 this time knocking him out in the first round at the Cow Palace, Daly City, California.

Elorde also challenged Puerto Rican Carlos Ortiz for the world lightweight title on two occasions. He was stopped both times by Ortiz in the 14th round.

Elorde defended the crown 10 times. Elorde's career began to wane in June 9, 1966, when he lost his Oriental lightweight title to Yoshiaki Numata in 12-round decision.

The following year, on June 15, 1967 Numata also wrested Elorde's world super feather crown with a 15-round decision. This made him the longest-reigning world junior lightweight champion in boxing history for seven years and three months.

He went into semi-retirement and when he returned to the ring in 1969, he won seven of last 11 matches.

Elorde retired with a record of 88 wins with 33 KO victories, 27 losses with 4 KO defeats and 2 draws. He never left boxing though and pursued a career as promoter. He is considered as the greatest super featherweight champion of all time in WBC history.

Elorde died of lung cancer on January 2, 1985, one day after New Year's Day, at the age of 49.

According to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, Elorde is not only the best fighter to ever come out of the Philippines but also from the Asia-Pacific region. Elorde was the first Asian to be inducted into the New York-based International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.

Elorde is one of two Filipino fighers, the other is Pancho Villa, who have been elevated in the IBHOF. He was then classified as a junior lightweight, the equivalent of the super featherweight division.

Photo shows Flash Elorde knocking out Harold Gomes.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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