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STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART XX: ROLANDO NAVARRETE, "THE BAD BOY FROM DADIANGAS" AND WBC WORLD SUPER FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION


PhilBoxing.com




Rolando Navarrete was known as the "Bad Boy from Dadiangas" was born on February 14, 1957 in General Santos City formerly named Dadiangas in South Cotabato.

The southpaw boxer had his successful professional debut in February 17, 1973 by a four round decision win over Ed Clementes.

He suffered his first loss in his tenth fight to Roberto Cinco via majority decision in July 20, 1974 in Dadiangas.

Navarrete garnered eight more wins with five stoppages then lost to Fernando Cabanela by a twelve round unanimous decision in his attempt at the Philippine bantamweight championship on October 1, 1975 at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City.

He won over Yung Shik Kim of South Korea by knocking him out in the seventh round in Cebu City on November 13, 1976.

However during their rematch, Navarrete lost to the Korean by split decision in Seoul, South Korea in what was viewed by many Filipino fans as a hometown verdict. The fight was for the vacant Orient Pacific Boxing Federation bantamweight title.

Finally he won the Philippine featherweight title by a unanimous decision win over Fernando Cabanela in a rematch on August 19, 1978 in General Santos City.

He chalked up ten wins with six KOs and defended his title against Nene Jun in Davao City on September 30, 1978.

In April 27, 1980, he faced Nicaraguan boxing legend Alexis Arguello for the WBC world super featherweight title in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Arguello, who later became three-division world champion and one of the 20 greatest fighters by The Ring in the last 80 years, won by fourth round TKO.

Navarrete defeated countryman Johnny Sato who was based in California to win the North American Boxing Federation super featherweight championship on May 19, 1981 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Navarrete finally became world champion when he knocked out Cornelius Boza-Edwards of Uganda in the 5th round for the WBC super featherweight title on August 29, 1981 in Toscana, Italy. Boza-Edwards went down twice in the 4th round and once in the 5th round for the KO.

He defended his title against the previously undefeated South Korean knockout artist Choi Chung Il (13-0-0, 12 KOs) at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium in Manila on January 16, 1982.

It was a classic fight witnessed by some 30,000 spectators and described by some experts as similar in drama to the Thrilla in Manila. The audience saw non-stop slugfest from the opening bell up to the stoppage. Choi started aggressively with his height and size advantage. But Navarrete was unfazed, shooting punches to the belly of Choi where the range was found.

Choi almost ended the fight when he floored Navarrete in the fifth round. The champion quickly stood up and was saved by the bell when the Korean was about to finish him off.

The eighth round was a thriller action-packed stage as the two ring gladiators fought toe-to-toe, punishing each other with countless punches raining on their heads and bodies.

Navarrete had the advantage in the tenth as Choi began to tire out. The Korean was not used to long fights. He was decked by a short right from the Filipino champion. He was saved by the bell as he barely beat the count.

The end of the Korean came in the eleventh as Navarrete floored him with a right hook to the chin never to stand up again. "The Bad Boy from Dadiangas" was still world champ.

Navarrete lost his WBC title in his second defense to Mexican Rafael "Bazooka" Limon by 12th round TKO in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 29, 1982. The Filipino titlist was leading on all judges' scorecards when re ran out of gas and was knocked out.

They had a rematch on December 23, 1988, that was six years later when both were at the twilight of their careers, and after Limon was beaten by Bobby Chacon and lost his world title in a 1982 Fight of the Year. This time Navarrete exacted revenge and won by a ten round unanimous decision as Limon went down in the second and sixth round at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

In his last nine matches, Navarrete lost five, including his last three bouts, to hang up his gloves for good in 1991.

The life of “The Bad Boy from Dadiangas” was filled with unlimited disarray and has encountered drugs, domestic violence, divorce, jail, illness, and poverty. But you cannot take the honor and glory from him of being once the junior lightweight champion of the world.


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


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