STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART XV: BERNABE VILLACAMPO, WORLD FLYWEIGHT CHAMPION 1969-70
By Maloney L. Samaco
Fri, 17 Apr 2020
Bernabe Villacampo won the WBA world flyweight championship in in 1969. His business manager was the popular Lope Sarreal Jr., brother-in-law of the great Flash Elorde.
Villacampo, born on June 11, 1943 in Toledo City, Cebu, worked as a vendor selling ice drops, rice puffs, and newspapers due to poverty, like what most boxers did during that time.
At age 19, he started the sport of boxing as an amateur and took part in tournaments representing his school University of Visayas.
When he reached 20 in 1963, he began fighting as a professional. From his pro debut in August 25, 1962 to September 30, 1967, fighting mostly in his native land Cebu, he won sixteen of his first twenty-five fights losing seven and drawing twice.
He travelled to Okayama, Japan and scored an upset sixth round knockout against hometown favorite Japanese boxer Katsuyoshi Takayama on November 6, 1967.
On May 15, 1968, he engaged in a twelve round draw against Tsuyoshi Nakamura for the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) flyweight title in Tokyo, Japan.
On November 10, 1968, he failed in an attempt at the WBC flyweight title against Thai world champion Chartchai Chionoi, losing a fifteen round unanimous decision in Bangkok, Thailand.
He finally won the WBA world flyweight title via a fifteen round unanimous decision on October 19, 1969 against Japanese boxer Hiroyuki Ebihara at the Prefectural Gymnasium, in Osaka, Japan. The cheering Japanese crowd were shocked with the defeat of the hometown favorite.
In December 14, 1969, he was defeated by Japanese Masao Oba via a ten round unanimous decision in a non-title fight in Tokyo, Japan.
In February 7, 1970, he won a ten round unanimous decision over Raton Mojica of Nicaragua in a non-title fight in Manila.
In his first title defense, he lost his WBA world flyweight title by a close fifteen round split decision in April 5, 1970 against Thai challenger Berkrerk Chartvanchai in Bangkok, Thailand. The loss dropped Villacampo to third ranked contender in the world ratings.
It was reported that Chartvanchai attacked using heavy body punches and fortified with a solid defense to grab the title. Villacampo missed badly and the Thai connected mostly with blows to the body. In the eighth round a cut above Villacampo's eye was opened which bothered the champion until the end of the fight.
In December 21, 1970, he joined a WBA flyweight title elimination tournament. But he lost a split decision to the future three-time world champion Betulio Gonzalez of Venezuela in Caracas. Gonzalez was the Venezuelan flyweight champion at the time.
In May 13, 1971, he outpointed Beaver Kajimoto in a ten round bout in Tokyo, Japan.
In January 31, 1976, he lost to Rolando Navarette, in a second round TKO in Cebu.
In June 24, 1977, Villacampo won the Philippines Games and Amusement Board's (GAB) flyweight championship by defeating Arnel Arrozal by a fourth round technical knockout in Manila.
In March 7, 1978 he won a fourth round knockout in a significant fight against future world light flyweight champion Shigeo Nakajima in Tokyo, Japan.
In July 1, 1978 he defended his GAB flyweight title to a twelve round draw against Julius Gonzaga in Davao City.
In August 28, 1978, he yielded his GAB flyweight title to Gonzaga in Davao City, in a seventh round knockout loss.
After a fifth round knockout loss in November 24, 1979 to Danilo Inocian in General Santos City, Villacampo retired from boxing.
In 65 professional bouts, he had 39 wins with 26 victories by KO, 21 losses with 7 defeats by KO, and 5 draws per Boxrec.com.
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