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STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART XXXI: MORRIS EAST, THE YOUNGEST FILIPINO WORLD BOXING CHAMPION EVER


PhilBoxing.com




Morris East was born August 8, 1973 in Olongapo City to a Filipina mother and a black American U.S. Navyman. He turned professional in 1989 and won his first three fights, against Jessie Miranda by 6th round TKO, Fer Guevarra by UD and Geronimo Magallanes by UD all in Metro Manila.

He suffered his first loss to Boy Masuay by majority decision but avenged it in a rematch three months later by 6th round TKO.

East also triumphed twice over Armando Andales by UD, almost a year apart.

He also defeated Alberto Saxon by 5th round TKO, Pablo Pucay by 6th round TKO, Ric de la Paz by 4th round TKO, Joey Corpas by decision, Tata Escorro by 7th round TKO, Florencio Pastor Jr. by 9th round TKO, and Flash Ursus by UD.

East travelled to Bucheon, South Korea and stopped local favorite Pyung-Sub Kim by 10th round KO to grab the Orient Pacific Boxing Federation super lightweight title. East went down in the 2nd round. But he floored Kim in the 3rd, 5th, and 10th round for the KO on February 29, 1992.

He stopped world title challenger Dindo Canoy in the 9th round after Canoy was declared unfit to continue due to a cut caused by East's punches in a non-title fight.

East became a world champion by winning the WBA world light welterweight championship by defeating Japan’s Akinobu Hiranaka with an 11th round TKO victory in his home turf in Tokyo on September 9, 1992.

Hiranaka was leading in all three scorecards when a lightning punch to the head caused the champion to collapse on the canvas. The referee halted the bout when the Japanese was too groggy to continue.

The KO win over Hiranaka was named Ring Magazine Knockout of the Year for 1992. The Japanese retired from boxing after the loss.

With the victory, East became the youngest Filipino in boxing history to earn a world championship at the age of 19 years and 31 days old.

He became the second youngest boxer to win a world title at the light welterweight division next to Puerto Rico's Wilfred Benitez, who won the WBA world junior welterweight title at the age 17 years old.

Morris lost the WBA title in his first defense against Argentina's Juan Martin Coggi in Abruzzo, Italy on April 29, 1989 by unanimous decision.

Then he won the against South Korean Yung-Yong Lee by 6th round KO, Australian Jeff Malcolm by UD, but lost to Japanese Jintoku Sato by UD.

East won the Games & Amusement Board Philippine light middleweight championship in March 25, 1995 by 1st round TKO of Jun Castillo.

He defended the title only once by unanimous decision over Ghanaian-Indonesian Robert Azumah on May 27, 1995. He retired from professional boxing after the fight at a very young 21 years of age.

East lived in San Diego, California in 1996 and later transferred to Las Vegas, where he was employed as a boxing trainer in the Johnny Tocco gym.

In 2011, he trained with IBF light welterweight champion Zab Judah and WBC/WBO bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. He also worked with WBA light heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad.

He had an inspirational story in his life because East didn't see his father until he became world champion. He traveled to the United States a month after winning his WBA title to find his father John East, Sr.

With the assistance of the CNN news crew, his father was traced in Oakland, California and their dramatic first meeting was aired by CNN. East Sr. died of a heart attack a few months after he met his son.


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


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