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Night of fireworks


PhilBoxing.com




There were 10 fights in the bill and only two went the distance as over a thousand fans witnessed the action on sandy ground in “Bakbakan Sa Masbate 2,” the first-ever boxing show to be staged on the beach at Matayum Lagoon, Cataingan last Saturday. Masbate Gov. Antonio Kho made it happen. Last April, he initiated the “Bakbakan” series and the second edition exceeded expectations in an ambitious undertaking that brought a makeshift ring to the resort where visitors were treated to a night of fireworks.

Gov. Kho and cousin Rep. Zaldy Co of Legazpi teamed up to mount the event which featured five championship fights. There are plans to hold a third edition in September and a fourth in December. Gov. Kho’s vision is to provide a platform for Filipino fighters to follow in Manny Pacquiao’s footsteps and conquer the world. His chief of staff Ansbert Son, fondly called Tata Bubu, worked tirelessly to make the event a resounding success and got the job done. Matchmaker Art Monis set up the pairings for the card.

The main event pitted WBC Asia Continental superfeatherweight champion Arnon Yupang of Thailand against Masbate challenger Jeo Santisima in a scheduled 12-rounder. Santisima, 28, is itching for another crack at a world crown after losing to Mexican Emanuel Navarrete in a bid for the WBO superbantamweight title in Las Vegas in 2020 and to Californian Joet Gonzalez for the WBO International featherweight belt in Fresno in 2022. Yupang, 26, was a serious test, coming off five straight wins and looked ready to silence the hometown crowd. The fighters battled fiercely from the onset with Santisima appearing over-eager to hit a homerun, missing on wild attempts to land a haymaker. Yupang timed his right straight to connect while Santisima teetered off-balance after a miss. But in the fourth frame, it was Yupang who took a wild swing and left the side of his body open for a liver shot. Santisima found the target with a left hook and Yupang went down for the full count. Celebration erupted in the ring after the fight and MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons joined Gov. Kho in toasting Santisima. Gibbons said if Santisima continues his hot streak, he’ll be back in “Viva Las Vegas” for another crack at a world title sooner than later.

In another fight, former IBO bantamweight titlist Michael Dasmarinas notched a ninth round TKO over hardened veteran JonJon Estrada to snatch the vacant Philippine featherweight strap. Estrada, 34, never went down but absorbed too much punishment to surrender on his stool before the 10th round bell. Dasmarinas, 31, slowed down in the middle rounds but found his second wind to leave Estrada in dire straits. Dasmarinas, who was knocked out by Naoya Inoue in Las Vegas in 2021, raised his record to 35-3-2, with 23 KOs.

IBF No. 8 flyweight Esneth Domingo, a Masbate native, made short work of late replacement Enrique Magsalin as he scored a second round KO to win the WBC Asia 112-pound crown. Alvin Camigue disposed of Ben Ligas at 2:25 of the second frame to claim the vacant WBF International superflyweight title while Alex Santisima dropped Justine Darap with a left hook to the jaw and kept him on the floor for a 10-count at 2:22 of the third to win the vacant WBF Australasian superbantamweight diadem.

Photo: Jeo Santisima (L) throws a straight left against Thailand's Arnon Yupang in the main event action last Saturday in Cataingan, Masbate.



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


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