The Philippines has a new boxing champion in the super-bantamweight division. Veteran Alex Escaner dethroned teenage champ Reynald Tribo in a hard-earned, but close unanimous decision over 12 rounds at the San Juan Gym Friday night.
Escaner, 28, was not as relentless as he was in April 2002 when he knocked out Pampanga’s Maruel Zayas, sending Zayas to the hospital where he died after five days in a coma. Instead, Escaner opted to counterpunch and fought with extra caution, a tactic that almost cost him his first championship belt.
After a slow but tactical exchange through the first six rounds, the soft-spoken Escaner, who fought fair and square, needed to rally and he did, pressing the action in the second half of the fight to erase Tribo’s slim lead after seven rounds.
Escaner, who fights out of Marty Elorde’s stable of Paranaque City, dominated rounds 8, 9, 11 and 12 to eek out a 115-113, 116-113 and 115-113 decision from judges Epi Almeda, Alex Villacampa and Narciso Martinez, respectively. Had Tribo won at least one more round, he would have retained the title in his first defense via majority draw.
Tribo’s Mandaue City-based manager Sammy Gello-ani agreed with the decision and shook hands with Elorde right after the bout.
“Kinapos kami,” said Sammy Gello-ani, referring to Tribo’s performance, and told his fighter, “bata ka pa, ok lang ‘yon, marami pang chance.”
The 19-year old former champ took home a P45,000 purse. His record dropped to 6 wins, 2 losses, with four knockouts, while Escaner improved to 19-9-3, 8 KO’s.
In the undercard, RP rated bantamweight Eldred Romero (14-4-2, 4 KOs) and RP No. 4 super-fly Sherwin Paro (15-3-8 KOs), who are also under Elorde’s guidance, scored technical knockout wins in separate fights.
Romero was behind on points when he floored Robert Moreno (11-10-4, 2 KOs) twice with hard body shots, forcing the hapless loser’s cornerman Ronald Jerez to throw in the towel at 1:50 of the 4th of the scheduled 10 rounder.
The 22-year old native of Baybay, Leyte was deducted a point early in the first round after an accidental headbutt caused a nasty cut on Moreno’s head where blood flowed profusely.
Paro scored two knockdowns in the 7th and finished veteran Jaime Acerda with body blows at 2:39 of the 8th round.
A hard punch combination to the body put Acerda down for the first time. Paro jumped up and raised his two hands in celebration. But the Bukidnoon-native Acerda wouldn’t give up and tried to land his hardest punch only to get downed once again, that time by two jabs and a hard right hand shot to the jaw. Paro celebrated once again as he climbed up the neutral corner and kissed his gloves to the crowd.
Other results: Mandaluyong’s 19-year old Richard Agagad (3-0-1), 114, defeated Elorde’s Jason Guiriba, 114, via split decision, 39-36 (twice) and 38-39.
Masbate-native Noel Guliman (4-4-2, 2 KOs), 112, knocked down Manny Mansad (1-2, 1 KO), 112, with a right hook in the second round en route to a unanimous decision win over four rounds. Scores: 38-37, 39-37, 38-36.
Mini-flyweight Rodel Tejares (1-0-2), 103, of Elorde and Samar’s Jerry Duazo (1-1-1, 1 KO), 105, fought to a split draw.
Three of Elorde’s new four fighters had won in their respective pro-debuts. Five-foot-eleven and 20-year old Lino Pongan from Virac, Catanduanes, 135, scored a unanimous decision win over fellow newcomer, 19-year old Sim Bicaldo, 135.
Cagayand de Oro-raised and 16-year old Gerard Carreon, 117, also registered a victory in a one-sided fight against 20-year old Larry Garcia, 1116, of Batangas. While 17-year old Janry Niño Cañete, 105, stopped 20-year old Crisanto Yordan, 105, who also made his debut, in the first round.
Finally, Rommel Bongon (2-1-1, 1 KO), 109, dominated Elorde’s 21-year old Vernie Tañola, 110, from Ormoc.
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