STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART XXXV: MALCOLM TUÑACAO, THE FASTEST FILIPINO BOXER TO BECOME WORLD CHAMPION IN JUST ELEVEN FIGHTS
By Maloney L. Samaco
Thu, 14 May 2020
Malcolm "Eagle Eye" Tuñacao, born on December 8, 1977 in Mandaue City, was an amateur boxing standout and became national champion several times. Like most boxers, he turned professional to earn a living for his family.
On August 1, 1998, the Filipino southpaw had his pro debut by defeating Manuel Ferego by 2nd round TKO. He went on to grab victories over Marlon Gayundato by 4th round TKO, Alpong Navaja by UD, Zosimo Delgado by UD, Nelson Mantos by 3rd round TKO, Emer Barrientos by 1st round TKO, Junric Velono by 2nd round TKO, and Mateo Baring by 3rd round KO.
Tuñacao won the Philippines Games and Amusement Board flyweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Rio Sumampong of Davao City on September 25, 1998 in Talisay City, Cebu.
He defended his title against Buddy Ledama winning by a third round disqualification on January 29, 2000. Ledama was disqualified because Tuñacao was hurt and was not able to continue fighting due to a blow on his throat that hit him when the referee made a break.
On May 19, 2000, he became the WBC and lineal world flyweight champion with a 7th round TKO win over previously unbeaten Thai Boonsai Sangsurat in his opponent's home turf in Udon Thani, Thailand. He became the fastest Filipino boxer to become world champion in only his eleventh pro fight.
The dethroned champion was known as Medgoen Singsurat 3-K Battery, the same fighter who stopped and wrested the title belt from Manny Pacquiao who was overweight that time. He knocked out Pacquiao in the 3rd round due to exhaustion in reducing his weight.
The underdog Tuñacao dominated the fight from the start, landing well-timed combinations in the decisive 7th round which prompted Australian referee Brian McMahon to stop the carnage when the favorite Medgoen stumbled on the ropes, bloodied with legs wobbly. Tuñacao thus avenged the loss of Pacquiao in 1999.
On August 20, 2000, he defended his title against future world champion Celes Kobayashi in his territory in Tokyo, Japan. The bout was decided as a split draw.
The following year, on March 2, 2001, Tuñacao lost his title to Thai Pongsaklek Wonjongkam via a TKO in the 1st round in Phichit, Thailand.
He faced countryman Randy Mangubat to a technical draw for the WBC international flyweight championship on July 28, 2001.
The referee stopped the fight because of a cut on Tunacao's forehead due to an accidental head-butt in the 4th round.
He went on to win three matches by stoppages against foreign opponents: Somchai Thonnongvang of Thailand by 6th round TKO, Kakhar Sabitov of Russia by 4th round TKO, and Kazuyoshi Niki of Japan by 3rd TKO.
Tuñacao knocked out Indonesian Ringgo Jaguar in the 5th round to win the WBC international super flyweight title in Antipolo City on September 26, 2003.
He snatched three wins against countryman Bernardo Oclos by UD, Takafumi Himeno of Japan by 9th round TKO, and another Japanese Ryoichi Hidaka by 7th round TKO.
He moved up in weight and won the Orient Pacific Boxing Federation bantamweight title by outclassing Kumarnthong Por Pluemkamol of Thailand by unanimous decision on November 19, 2005 in Tokyo, Japan.
After defending the title successfully twice against Kohei Oba and Yasuo Kijima both of Japan, he lost the crown to fellow Filipino Rolly Lunas by 10th round technical decision.
Tuñacao won the Philippine bantamweight championship via a split decision over Monico Laurente in Mandaue City on September 20, 2008.
The OPBF bantamweight title was his next collection when he edged Seung Suk Chae in his territory in Mungyeong, South Korea by split decision on February 6, 2010.
Two Japanese fighters Hidenobu Honda and Daigo Nakahiro tried to grab the OPBF title, but Tuñacao defeated both by TKO.
He won over Mexican Christian Esquivel by 7th round TKO in Hyogo, Japan on December 22, 2012 in a WBC bantamweight title eliminator. Thus he became eligible to vie for the world title.
But Tuñacao lost to Japan’s Shinsuke Yamanaka via technical knockout in the 12th round for the WBC world bantamweight title on April 8, 2013 in hostile Tokyo, Japan.
Tuñacao prevailed over Thailand's Likit Chane by 5th round technical decision and Korean Joo Hyun Jung by UD.
In his farewell fight, he won by a 5th round technical decision over Ryuta Otsuka at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. An accidental clash of heads opened up a big cut on the left eye of Tuñacao forcing the referee to stop the fight at the 5th round with the Filipino, who dropped Otsuka in the opening round, ahead on points.
He finished his pro career with 41 bouts, 35 wins with 20 KOs, 3 losses with 2 KOs and 3 draws per boxrec.com.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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