The Thai Scene

By Rey Danseco


The Thai Scene

GERRY Peñalosa is at the midpoint of greatness and embarrassment in his fourth try to win a world boxing title against an unbeaten Thai fighter Saturday at Casino Filipino-Amphitheater in Paranaque City, Philippines.

Peñalosa, 32, knows a victory against 20-year old Bangsaen Sithpraprom (14-0, 7 KOs) of Thailand for the vacant World Boxing Foundation (WBF) super-flyweight title means he will elevate to greatness as two-time world champ.

Peñalosa (47-5-2, 32 KOs) will also join his old brother and trainer Dodie Boy in the elite club of few Filipinos who won world titles twice that includes Ben Villaflor, Erbito Salavarria, Luisito Espinosa and Manny Pacquiao among others.

On the other hand, a defeat means another embarrassment and he might hang up his gloves for good and concentrate in his family and tuna business.

Slated in the main event of Bebot Elorde-promoted ‘War at the Zone’ card, Peñalosa will see action only for the second time after he ends the 21 months hiatus last September via a 2nd round knockout win against patsy Thai import Samingkao Chutipol in Mandaue City.

Peñalosa was force to retire and split with influential manager Rodrigo Salud early last year in disappointment of third failed try to regain the WBC super-flyweight title in December 2002 in a rematch against Japan-based North Korean Masamori Tokuyama.

The other setbacks of the 5-foot-4 southpaw were the much publicized controversial split decision loses in two WBC 115-lb title bouts against his conqueror Injoo Cho of South Korea on August 29, 1998 and January 2, 2000 both in Seoul.

Cho’s conqueror Tokuyama also never gave Peñalosa a chance to realize his aim to regain the title via split and unanimous decision victories in 2001 and 2002, respectively, in Japan.

Sithpraprom, who arrived Tuesday from Bangkok along with four other Thais that slated to fight in the undercard, has seven knockout victims in 14 fights as prizefighter. He was a former muay thai champion with close 100 bouts.

“It’s a make or break for Gerry,” said Elorde, who gets support from Family Rubbing Alcohol, Globe and Air Force 1.

Before the brawl, the official weigh-in will be held at Saisaki Restaurant in Padre Faura, Manila around 11 this morning.

WBF president Mick Croucher and WBF Philippine supervisor Alex Vidal will supervise the Family Rubbing Alcohol and Globe-supported event.

WBF International champs Rey Pelonia (welterweight) and Sukarno “Master Showman” Banjao (flyweight) and their respective Thai challengers Jakrit Thaweekongym Suwanalert and Wisanu Pornobnom and Filipino prospects Kid Orais and Eldred Romero are also set to climb the scale.

The Pasay-based Orais and Romero, who is under the guidance of Marty Elorde, meet for the vacant WBF International bantamweight throne.

The Games and Amusement Board (GAB), headed by boxing division chief Noli Flores will administer the other bouts, featuring WBC No. 3 lightflyweight Juanito Rubillar versus Yodsuk Windee Sports and WBO Asia-Pacific flyweight boss Rexon Flores versus Samart Twin Gym in a pair of 6 rounders.

Other bouts are Mike Farenas vs Ferdie Zagado (4 rnds, 122 lb); Robert Lerio vs Rene Meval (4 rnds, 111 lb); Rey Labao kontra Ringo Dayowan (4 rnds, 122 lb); at Marlo Villamor vs Pit Anacaya (4 rnds, 106 lb).