Philippines, 23 May 2018
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Imus, Cavite. After the bell signaled the start of the first round, the crowd went silent. Everyone was at the edge of their seats. A few cheers were heard as the fighter from the red corner managed to trap and hurt his opponent from the blue corner. A break…and then – MAYHEM!

This was what happened earlier this night at the covered basketball court in the host town of Imus, Cavite as its adopted son and WBO Asia-Pacific Youth Flyweight Champion Froilan “The Sniper” Saludar destroyed Thai opponent Leimpetch Sor Veerapol in the very first round in their WBO World Youth Flyweight match - the first ever world title match held outside of Araneta Coliseum and Cebu City.

All of these are possible through the efforts of International Promoter Sammy Gello-ani of SGG Promotions & Samson Boxing LCC, WBO Asia Pacific Vice President Leon Panoncillo, Jr., and the municipal government headed by Mayor Homer Saquilayan.

It was a short night for the Thai as International referee Bruce McTavish waved signaling the end of the fight at 1minute 24seconds in the first round. Although Veerapol managed to get up within the mandatory eight-counts, he was still leaning on the ropes with legs wobbling. The veteran referee knew Veerapol could no longer continue.

Top photo: Saludar (R) and Veerapol engage in battle in the opening minutes of the first round.

Veerapol down on the canvas.

Froilan Saludar celebrates after the victory.

Photos by

The soft-spoken Saludar was like a predator in the wild hunting its prey. But before studying and observing his prey, as all predators do before they attack, Saludar went for the kill right away. Nicknamed “The Sniper” for a reason, he made sure almost all of his powerful punches connected. He didn’t mind the fact that his opponent was the veteran fighter, with 4 world-title fights under his name, and with more than double the total number of fights compared to his. He didn’t care. He just did what he always does, dispose of his opponents as early as possible.

Saludar wasted no time from the start of the round. He quickly measured his opponent’s distance with jabs before firing his killer rights. He was successful as the Thai fighter was caught off guard. Veerapol was expecting Saludar to start slow and maybe feel him off first. He got cornered and hurt with powerful left and right combinations that almost sent him down had he not managed to skip away. Saludar chased him. A few distractions with the jab, then bam! Saludar’s precise powerful right straight to Veerapol’s right chin. The punch was so quick that the next thing fight fans saw was the Thai going down slamming the back of his head on the canvass.

Everyone went crazy!

The seated area was breached, there was so much noise from the shouting and clapping of the fans as they jumped up and down, and the ring was suddenly surrounded. Everyone wanted a piece of the new champion. Everyone wanted to congratulate their adopted son who’s been bringing them so much pride and happiness.

Once again, Saludar delivered and with additional inspiration as his two older brothers, Rey and Victorio, who won the gold and bronze medals for boxing, respectively, during last year’s Asian Games. Both were cheering from their brother’s corner who is the only Saludar who ventured into professional boxing.

“I’m relaxed now,” said Friolan after the fight. “I felt his punches, he was strong too but I just did my thing”, he added. The most-of-the-time shy champion was surrounded by his brothers, stable mates, boxing coaches, and fans who were taking his pictures and asking for autographs.

International Promoter Sammy Gello-ani was all smiles. His prospect just showed his talent against a formidable opponent. “This was a mismatch, a mismatch in a sense that we had him (Saludar) pitted up against a veteran fighter who has four titled-matches under his name. Froilan, going to this fight was the underdog…but he turned the “mismatch” the other way around!” said the famed promoter. “The Youth-titled fights are usually only up to 10 rounds. I requested it to be 12 to see if Foilan is ready for the big fights abroad. I was merely wishing to myself that Froilan will win by a Unanimous Decision for a 10-round fight, if the proposed 12 would be denied, then I’d be happy. But look…he took care of business in the very first round!”, he added.

Obviously, Gello-ani has a lot to be happy for. Because of his diligence, hard work, patience, and the help with a good manager/trainer Joven Jimenez, he’s able to create opportunities for a young and very talented new world champion in Froilan Saludar. It doesn’t end there because they have a pool of young and talented future champions in their care.

“Right now I’m planning to have Froilan defend his title abroad, maybe China, before any fight in the USA. Talented as he is, he still needs to be tested with a couple more fights before fighting there. I’m so happy with tonight’s result”, Gello-ani added while he was still ecstatic from what just happened.

I, personally, would like to thank International Promoter Sammy Gello-ani and WBO Asia Pacific Vice President Leon Panoncillo, Jr. for bringing these boxing events to the historic town of Imus, Cavite, with the support of the municipal government headed by Mayor Homer Saquilayan. Together gentlemen, you made another history for this town to treasure.

Other results:

Inspite of having their match moved to the last, to give way to the championship fight between Saludar and Thai opponent Veerapol, Dennis Tubieron and opponent Ryan Oregines didn’t disappoint the fans in their 10-round fight in the Bantamweight Division. There was non-stop action from the start to the finish. Fight fans, who were leaving, returned to their seats and weren’t disappointed. It pretty much complemented the short but exciting fight before them.

Origenes got cut on his lower left eye from a punch in the 2nd round. Bleeding heavily by the 7th, the referee halted the fight to have the ring physician check up on him. The ring physician recommended the stoppage of the fight which resulted to the win for Tubieron via TKO. Tuberion remains unbeaten.

Rafols Singwangcha dismantled opponent Mike Romulo in their 8-round match in the Super Flyweight Division. Slow but strong punches took a toll on Romulo as he got hurt in every round before finally falling down on the canvass in the 5th and was ruled as unable to continue to fight by the referee because he was still wobbly from the punishment Rafols was inflicting on him. The time was 1 minute 34 seconds in the 5th.

Jerwin “Pretty Boy” Ancajas cruised to victory with the scores of 99 – 90 twice and 97 – 92 over hard hitting Pete Anacaya in their 10-round match in the Super Flyweight division. Ancajas, despite lacking of the level of ring generalship he showed in earlier fights, managed to land multiple combinations which disrupted Anacaya’s rhythm of attack earning him points for the victory.

Federico Catubay won by Unanimous Decision over Rex Olisa where both managed to amuse the fans with their exchange of antics inside the ring. The fight was scheduled for 8 rounds also in the Bantamweight limit. The scores were 76 – 75 and 77 – 74 twice.

Another prospect and Saludar stable-mate Carlo “Golden Boy” Suello, managed to wow the crowd with his accurate and strong punches over opponent Rey Leperanum. The headshots in the 1st round sent Leperanum down on the canvass. Suello finished the job at 2minutes in the 3rd round as he won by TKO in their 123lb match. Suello’s ring management was impressive along with his calculated punching and counter punching. He improves to 5 wins with 4 wins coming by way of KO with no defeats.

Marcial A. Singwangcha scored a TKO in the 4th round over Leonardo Talisic in their 6-round 106lb fight.

Comebacking Rustico Torrecampo, introduced as the first fighter to knock out Manny Pacquiao, stopped Jovanie Bualan in the 3rd round after a give-and-take skirmish which had the crowd laughing and clapping in their seats. The bout was scheduled for 4 rounds at 110lbs.

Marvin Somodio knocked out debuting Rolando Prima, Jr. in the 2nd round in their 4-round 106lb fight.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Tam Almeda.

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