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Jeo Santisima Finally Wins One for PH, Apolinar Defends OPBF Title in Japan


PhilBoxing.com




Former world challenger Jeo Santisima finally won one for the Philippines in Japan when he stopped his Japanese foe Hiroshige Osawa in the fifth round of their 10-round junior featherweight bout in Osaka, Japan Sunday night.

On a day when Filipino fighters were on the brink of being swept again by their Japanese opponents having lost five earlier fights, four in Kobe, Santisima rose up to the occasion and succeeded in flooring Osawa for the second and final time to prompt the referee to stop the contest and award the bout to the Filipino.

Earlier, fellow Pinoy Tomjune Mangubat failed in his bid to wrest the OPBF super featherweight title, losing by 4th round technical knockout to Masanori Rikkishi in their bout held also in the Edion Arena in Osaka.

In Kobe. four other Pinoy fighters fell to their Japanese foe. Jonathan Almacen impaired to 7-6-3, 2 record in losing by 6th round TKO to the debuting Shunpei Odagiri 1-0,1. Almacen did well in surviving the former amateur standout but a nasty cut over Almacen's left eye forced the referee to stop the contest.

Meanwhile, Ranelio Quizo suffered his third loss in 16 pro bouts losing by wide unanimous decision to another Japanese upstart Kazuki Anaguchi now 3-0, 2 KOs.

Seasoned Jun Blazo (16-7-3, 12) also proved no match to Takahiro Tai, now 4-1, 4 KOs, succumbing in only three rounds To his credit, Blazo started fast and strong, looking like the fighter coming off 8 straight wins. But he was struggling to connect on Tai who showed under-rated defense and composure in the first two rounds to blunt the Filipino's attacks. Tai turned things around with a left to the body that sent Blazo down in agony for the full count.

Completing the Japanese sweep over Filipino foes in Kobe, former WBO minimumweight world champion Ryuya Yamanaka 17-3,5 took a wide decision over the dangerous but now somewhat faded two time world title challenger Jonathan Taconing, now 29-5, 22 KOs. Yamanaka used his speed to defend as well as score well against the more powerful Taconing. Yamanaka swept the scorecards with 80-72 to record the win that could potentially bring him back to title contention.

As the lone Filipino winner, Santisima was hailed in both the Philippine sports and social media but his latest Ring victory though posted in Japan where Filipino fighters have not won in major fights since 2019 should be put in proper perspective

For one, his opponent Osawa is not even top 20 in his division in Japan. Though he has been unbeaten in his last four bouts, losing by split decision to then world rated Shun Kubo in 2019, Osawa, already 37, is regarded as near the end of his career. To his credit, in his prime, Osawa had made the world ranking and even challenged, though vainly for the world title versus then WBO champion Oscar Valdez.

It could be argued that Mangubat and Frisco Carcosia much earlier had tougher opponent in Rikkishi and Musashi Mori, respectively.

At best, his win may keep Santisima in the world ratings at junior featherweight where he is presently ranked by both the WBO and IBF.

Former WBO bantamweight world titlist Marlon Tapales though remains the best Filipino hope for a world title at junior featherweight following his own earlier win over Japanese Hiroaki Teshigawara that made him mandatory challenger to current IBF champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev of Uzbekistan

But the Filipino ring campaign in Japan campaign continues as on August 28, Pete Apolinar defends his OPBF junior featherweight crown against undefeated challenger Yoshiki Takei (4-0) at the famed Korakuen Boxing Hall in Tokyo.

Apolinar is hard pressed to retain the OPBF crown he won by TKO over Jhunriel Ramonal as Takei; a former K-1 world kickboxing champion has won all his previous pro bouts via knockout.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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