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Three for the road


PhilBoxing.com



L-R: Astrolabio, Taduran and Apolinario.

WBC minimumweight champion Melvin Jerusalem is the only Filipino reigning world boxing titlist at the moment but three countrymen are out to join him in the firmament with Vincent Astrolabio gunning for the WBC bantamweight throne in Tokyo on July 20, Pedro Taduran seeking to regain the IBF minimumweight crown in Shiga, east of Kyoto, on July 28 and Dave Apolinario hoping to snatch the vacant IBF flyweight strap in Mexico City on Aug. 9.

So far, the report card on Filipino boxers in world title fights this year shows one win and two losses with Jerusalem the only survivor, bagging the WBC 105-pound belt via a split 12-round decision over Yudai Shigeoka in Tokyo last March. The losers were Jerwin Ancajas who bowed to Takuma Inoue on a ninth round stoppage for the WBA bantamweight throne in Tokyo last February and Jake Amparo who was halted in two rounds by IBF minimumweight ruler Ginjiro Shigeoka in Tokyo last March.

Astrolabio, 27, has a puncher’s chance against defending WBC bantamweight champion Junto Nakatani but it won’t be easy bringing down the unbeaten Japanese who totes a 27-0 record, including 20 KOs. Nakatani, 26, has knocked out every Filipino he has faced----Joenil Borres, Joel Taduran, Dexter Alimento, Philip Cuerdo, Milan Melindo and Giemel Magramo. Astrolabio, the No. 1 contender, is coming off an 11th round disposal of Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai in Bangkok last August. Astrolabio’s biggest wins were a decision over Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux in Dubai and a sixth round stoppage of Russia’s Nikolai Potapov in Las Vegas. His record is 19-4, with 14 KOs.

Taduran, 27, is up against Shigeoka in a battle of southpaws. Shigeoka, 24, has an 11-0 record, with nine KOs while Taduran checks in with a 16-4-1 slate, including 12 KOs. Taduran lost the IBF title to countryman Rene Mark Cuarto in his second defense in 2021 and has waited patiently for a chance to get back the strap. He outpointed Amparo in a 12-rounder last December to reestablish himself as the No. 1 contender.

Apolinario, 25, will go for broke against Angel Ayala, 24, in what is expected to be an all-out war. Apolinario has a 20-0 record with 14 KOs while Ayala is 17-0 with seven KOs. Zanfer Promotions of Mexico put in a bid of $250,500 to land the hosting rights and will pay Apolinario a purse of $125,250.


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


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