Pasay City—The ghost of the past came back to haunt AJ “Bazooka” Banal as once again he faltered in his second stab at a world title.
Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu (43W-1L-28KOs) floored Banal in the ninth round to wrest the WBO world bantamweight before a stunned sizable crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena last night.
Sor Singyu tagged Banal (28W-2L-20KOs) with telling blows to the head, sending Banal sprawling to the canvas.
A glassy-eyed Banal summoned all his strength to get up but he struggled. Referee Tony Weeks counted a wobbling Banal in the 2:45 mark of the ninth.
Meanwhile, Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista avoided what could have been a disastrous defeat, pulling out a hard-earned split decision win against Mexico’s Daniel Ruiz in the main undercard.
Bautista (34W-2L, 25 KOs) walked the tight rope in snatching the WBO international featherweight title as he barely survived a tense third round that saw him stagger following a series of solid hits from Ruiz (27W-5L-2D, 19 KOs) .
Egged on by the crowd, the Candijay, Bohol-native Bautista survived the round and figured in a torrid exchange the rest of the rounds.
Judge Epi Almeda scored the fight 115-113 for Ruiz while Salven Lagumbay saw it at 116-112 for Bautista and Samson Libres 115-113, also for Bautista.
Ruiz went into the match three pounds heavier of the contracted 129-lb limit which affected the fight.
“His punches had more power because he was heavier. He was tough and I was really hurt in the third round,” said Bautista.
PAGARA, DOMINGO STOP FOES
Jason Pagara (30W-2L-19KOS) sealed his third straight win since losing to Mexico’s Rosbel Montoya last year with a sensational first round knockout over erstwhile unbeaten Miguel “Hands of Stone” Antoine of Barbados.
Retaining his WBO international lightwelterweight crown, Pagara delivered a crackling right overhand that sent Antoine (17W-1L-1D-9KOs) on his pants. Referee Bruce McTavish counted Antoine out, ending the fight at the 2:48 mark of the opening period.
Michael Domingo (45W-16L-2D-24KOs) showed he still has what it takes to contend for a title as he downed Mudde Ntambe Rabison (19W-3L-1D) with energy-zapping body shots to dispatch the African in the 2:04 mark of the second round.
Marlon Tapales of Rex Wakee Salud stable dominated Indonesia’s Rasmudin en route to an easy second round KO win. The stoppage came at the 2:56 mark of the second round.
Other undercard fights showed Juan Martin Elorde scoring a fourth round knockout win over Ricy Sismund; Val Falcunaya of Lipa, Batangas pulling off a third round TKO win over Boholano boxer Robert Agcopra and Randy Bullong stopping Cebu City-based Japanese Kazuma Ejiri via a TKO in the fourth round.