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Paradero scares off foe


PhilBoxing.com



Robert Paradero (C).

Bukidnon contender Robert (Inggo) Paradero was supposed to face Thembelani Okolo for the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) strawweight (or minimumweight) title in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on June 27 but it was announced the other day that another Filipino Clyde Azarcon has been picked to fight the hometowner instead. Filipino matchmaker Jerald Tepora, who is based in Malaysia, said South African promoter Mbulelo Mfama asked to replace Paradero “kasi takot sila kay Inggo.”

Paradero is coming off a loss by split decision to Vic Saludar for the vacant WBA minimumweight crown and had vowed to make mincemeat of Okolo. “Babawi ako mula sa pagkatalo kay Saludar at pakikita ko sa mga Pilipino ang pagbabalik ko,” said Paradero. “Magaling si Okolo pero kaya ko. Sayang di matuloy, makabawi sana ako. Mismatch daw, takot sila at kumuha ng ibang kalaban.” Tepora suggested Azarcon as replacement. Azarcon is the reigning World Boxing Foundation (also known as WBF) Intercontinental minimumweight champion and has lost only once in his last six bouts. His record is 17-3-1, with 6 KOs compared to Paradero’s 18-1, with 12 KOs. Okolo’s record is 9-5-1, with 5 KOs.

Paradero would’ve received $4,000 for the Okolo fight but the contract did not specify an amount to be paid if it’s cancelled. The contract stipulated the purse to be deposited with Boxing South Africa in escrow 30 days before the match. Another Filipino Jonas Sultan flew to South Africa for a fight last year and was promised $1,000 when it was scratched but to this day, has not been paid. Azarcon will likely be bound by the same contract as Paradero.

What appears anomalous is the sanctioning body’s identity as there are two distinct organizations claiming to be WBF. The World Boxing Federation was established by Larry Carrier in Tennessee in 1988 and was active until 2004 with Filipinos Ronnie Magramo, William Magahin, Rico Siodora, Rolando Toyogon, Orlando Villaflor and Joselito Rivera among its champions. The World Boxing Federation became the World Boxing Foundation in 2004 with Australian Mick Croucher taking over as president. In 2006, Filipino Dondon Sultan captured the World Boxing Foundation welterweight crown and last year, another Filipino ArAr Andales claimed the lightflyweight title. Curiously, the Foundation recognizes only 16 weight classes, disregarding the miniumweight division, and 15 thrones are vacant with Andales the only champion.

In 2009, the World Boxing Federation was revived and reestablished in Luxembourg with South African Howard Goldberg as president. It reclaimed the use of WBF despite the World Boxing Foundation’s assertion. The “new” Federation recognizes only seven champions with 10 titles vacant. The only Filipinos in the Federation rankings are No. 3 JohnRiel Casimero and No. 5 Nonito Donaire in bantamweight, No. 5 Jerwin Ancajas in superflyweight, No. 8 Edward Heno and No. 10 Milan Melindo in lightflyweight and No. 7 Saludar in minimumweight. Okolo, Paradero and Azarcon are not in the top 10, making it unjustifiable for the Federation to choose any one of them to vie for the vacant 105-pound throne.

Filipinos fighting in South Africa are almost like sacrificial lambs. Last weekend, Jerald Paclar lost a decision to Yanga Sigqibo in South Africa and wasn’t paid his $5,000 purse until GAB chairman Baham Mitra appealed to WBO Asia Pacific chairman Leon Panoncillo, who’s in Thailand, for assistance. It wasn’t just the loss and unpaid purse that caused Paclar a major headache. Leaving South Africa for home was another problem. Paclar and manager Raffy Jimenez were booked to fly out of Johannesburg to Manila via Dubai then to Cebu but because of COVID protocols, had to wait in the airport for a new flight from Johannesburg to Manila via Addis Ababa then to Cebu. The purse was paid by Panoncillo in South African promoter Nomfesane Nyatela’s behalf yesterday but it took Mitra’s intervention to make it happen. Will the same fate await Azarcon?


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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