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Boxing View

By Carlos Costa

Sat, 03 Nov 2012

Former 2-division world champion Roberto "La Ara?a" V?squez of Panama (on the left) weighed-in 117.6 lbs (53.35 kgs) while his seven years younger opponent Filipino John Mark "The Iceman" Apolinario of Sarangani Province scaled at 116.8 lbs (53 kgs) ahead of their WBA Interim Bantamweight Title clash tomorrow (Nov 3) at Club La Uni?n in the riverside touristic city of Col?n in Entre Rios Province, Argentina, a combat co-promoted by the Middleweight World Champion Sergio "Maravilla" Mart?nez.

Neutral officials for the title fight are: referee Roberto Ram?rez Jr. of Puerto Rico; Judges Uriel Aguilera of Colombia, Jes?s Cova of Venezuela and Gustavo Estrella of Argentina. Fight supervisor is veteran WBA official don Jos? Emilio Graglia of C?rdoba Argentina.

The experienced counter puncher "La Ara?a" Vasquez (32-5, 22 KO's), a former Jr. Flyweight and Flyweight world champ is the current WBA's #2 bantamweight as the 22 year-old Filipino "The Iceman" Apolinario (17-2-1, 4 KOs), who finally sees action after a 11-month lay off, is highly rated as the WBA #3 in the bantamweight world rankings, a division where the "regular champion" is Koki Kameda of Japan and the "super champion" is Anselmo "Chemito" Moreno of Panama.

Anselmo Moreno is challenging undefeated 2-division champ Abner Mares for the WBC Super Bantamweight Title November 10 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Roberto V?squez-John Mark Apolinario title match is being held as the WBA interim champ heavy-hitter Hugo "Cuatito" Ruiz (31-1, 28KO's) of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico faces regular champ Koki Kameda (28-1, 17KO's) of Osaka, Japan on December 4 in Osaka, leaving the interim title vacant.

The title match will be broadcast live in Latin America by sports channel TyC Sports, also by RPC Canal 4 in Panama and VTV in Uruguay and TV5 in the Philippines.

Promoters of the event are Sampson Boxing LLC of Sampson Lewkowicz in association with Cebuano promoter Sammy Gello-Ani of SSG Sports Promotions of the Philippines and MARAVILLA BOX of Middleweight World Champion Sergio "Maravilla" Mart?nez.


First are foremost, Apolinario is in good hands as the young Pinoy is accompanied in the most important fight of his life by his savvy promoter Sammy Gello-Ani, president of SSG Sports Promotions. Joining them is Apolinario's long time trainer 37 year-old Reyzy "Jhun" Agrabio and trio is focused on bringing another world title in boxing to their native Philippines.

"We hope that our boxer Apolinario will win to bring the glory of another championship to our country (Philippines). God willing, we'll succeed. We'd be so blessed if our promotion company could have another world champion, two world champs at the same time," shared Gello-Ani, one of Philippines top promoters, who is also the handler of reigning IBF Jr. Flyweight World Champion Johnriel Casimero.

After losing to fellow Filipino Marvin Tampus three years ago, the 22 year-old Apolinario (17-2-1, 4KO's) has won five of his last six fights, all against third and forth class fighters, including a November 2011 draw against unheralded Armando Casas (then with record of 10-7-2, 3KO's).

Further to that November outing, Apolinario had his last fight in early December of 2011. It was a bizarre win in which his opponent Menard Zaragosa (5-9, 3KO's) shockingly sprinted faster than Usain Bolt from the ring towards the public restrooms, being disqualified by the referee. Since that odd victory 11 months ago, Apolinario has not seen ring action.

Therefore, what impressive victories has Apolinario scored during the last year for the WBA to elevate him to world's #3 bantamweight? It's a question fans wonder.

In addition, Apolinario's long inactivity of almost a year might be one of the reasons why fans with goggles on the Philippines boxing scene are not that much familiar with 'The Iceman' Apolinario.

But they will surely be should The Iceman captures the world title in Argentina.

It would be a feat similar to what his stablemate Johnriel Casimero did by defeating Argentina's Luis "Mosquito" Lazarte last February, an a troubled fight in which a pro Lazarte crowd went ballistic throwing chairs and debris into the ring attacking Casimero and his team, including the brave promoter Sammy Gello-Ani who regardless of the terrifying experience is not worried about bringing another of his Filipino boxers to Argentina:

"I have no reservation nor fear of my boxer figthing in Argentina knowing that co-promoters Sampson Lewkowicz and World Champion Sergio Mart?nez are so highly respected in Argentina, so I am sure this time foreign fighters scheduled in this event will be getting a good security back up. What happened last February in Mar del Plata was an entirely different situation and surely will not happen again," said Gello-Ani to this author.

Meanwhile, the more accomplished 29-year-old 2-time world champion Roberto "La Ara?a" V?squez (32-5, 22KO's), gets into this title match after two successful outings this year. The first one, a unanimous decision victory last March over tough lanky Mexican Mario "Maca" Briones (22-3-1, 16KO's).

The second, a knock out win over Dominican bantamweight Geyci Lorenzo in August at the Coliseo Carlos 'Teo' Cruz in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Apolinario might not have the experience and ring savvy of "La Ara?a" V?squez, but his youth (the Filipino is 7 years younger than the Panamanian), stamina and a fast boxing could pay of big in Argentina. Apolinario weight below 117 lbs seem to suggest that his team is betting on speed.

In addition to the V?squez-Apolinario title fight, the card in Argentina will have a glamorous co-main event as Uruguay's gorgeous female boxing star Cecilia "La Reina" (The Queen) Comunales defends her WBA Lightweight World crown against Brazil fight girl Simone Da Silva Duarte (11-3, 4KO's) of the great city of S?o Paulo and both fight girls made weight.

The gorgeous Cecilia Comunales scaled-in 61 kg (134.5 lbs) while Brazilian Da Silva made the limit of the lightweight division 61.2 (135 lbs).

Fights will be televised LIVE in Argentina and throughout Latin America by channel TyC Sports. Fight Time is 22:00 hours (Saturday evening Argentina Time). In Panama by RPC Televisi?n Canal 4. In the Philippines TV5. In Uruguay by Canal 10 and VTV (check your local TV schedule).

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