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Servania leads victorious Pinoy pugs in Dubai card

Servania leads victorious Pinoy pugs in Dubai card

By: Emmanuel B. Villaruel

The Freeman Daily Cebu

DUBAI — Undefeated world title hopefuls Genesis ‘Azukal’ Servania and ‘King’ Arthur Villanueva and the resurgent Rey ‘Boom Boom’ Bautista made ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN’s maiden venture overseas a memorable one after they pulled off contrasting wins over their respective foes to the delight of the predominantly Filipino crowd that witnessed the historic “Pinoy Pride XXVII:Duel in Dubai” fightcard late Friday night (early Saturday morning Phl time) at the Dubai World Trade Center here.

Servania endured a tough and wild battle against a sturdy Mexican ‘Matador’ Jose Cabrera on the way to retain his WBO Intercontinental super bantamweight crown with a resounding TKO victory before the start of the 10th round.

“Masayang masaya ako na naipanalo ko ang laban na ito at nakapagbigay ako ng magandang laban sa ating mga kababayan lalong lalo na sa lahat ng mga Pinoy OFWs na nandito. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Ang inyong suporta ay napakalaking inspirasyon sa amin,” said Servania, moments after extending his hot streak to 25-0 now spiked with 11KOs. Cabrera fell to 22-5 (10KOs).

The ALA Boxing Gym stalwart from Bacolod City put on a show early on before a large throng of chanting and flag-waiving Filipino fans, sneaking in a powerful right overhand to the head that sent Cabrera down at the seat of his pants late in the second round.

The Mexican, however, quickly got up to give Servania one hell of a fight in the remainder of their abbreviated match.

Starting in round three, Servania consistently  landed brutal combinations and power shots but Cabrera seemed to be unhurt, even taunting his foe after each round. At times, the Mexican left his guard open, as if challenging Servania further to come in and show his stuff.

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The exciting battle, however, came to an abrupt end after an accidental clash of heads opened a nasty cut below the left eye of Cabrera in round nine. Just as the 10th round was about to start, Cabrera’s cornerman signalled they would no longer continue the fight, illiciting a warm applause from the very appreciative Pinoy well-wishers who swiftly burst into frenzied celebration.

“He was allowed by the ring physician to continue the fight because the cut was below his left eye and did not hinder his vision, but he (Cabrera) just simply quit,” said referee Danrex Joseph Tapdasan.

Servania was way ahead of the judges scorecards at the time of the stoppage, 89-69 and 88-81 twice.

“Simula ng 6th round ay talagang nahirapan na ako dahil hindi ako makasuntok ng mabuti. Bilib din ako sa lakas nya,” said Servania.

ALA Promotions International President and CEO Michael P. Aldeguer was impressed with Servania’s showing that he already considers a world title bout for the Bacoleno fighter.

“Obviously we’re looking into that because I feel that Servania is ready for the bigger stage. A fight with (Guillermo) Rigondeaux is something that’s in our mind right now but we’re also looking at other things, like a possible title shot in the IBF but we’ll just wait what happens next,” said Aldeguer.

Villanueva, on the other hand, overcame a second round knockdown to eke out a 12-round split decision triumph over a very game Nicaraguan Henry “El Crespo’ Maldonado that did not only keep his record clean but also earned him the IBF International super flyweight belt.

The flashy Villanueva was in superb form at the onset, delivering a crackling combo punch to the head that rocked Maldonado in the second round. Smelling blood, Villanueva quickly went for the kill, but to the surprise of many, he’s the one who got knocked down after being hit by Maldonado’s left counterpunch.

“Masyado akong nagmamadali kasi akala ko mapabagsak ko na siya (Maldonado) pero malakas din pala siya,” said Villanueva, who is now 26-0 with 14KOs. Maldonado dropped to 19-4 (14KOs).

Villanueva immediately recovered though to set up the stage of a protracted, yet highly entertaining battle. Starting in round, blood was already dripping on Maldonado’s forehead and with his relentless bombardments of well-timed jabs and straights, the ‘King’ from Bago City turned the Nicaraguan’s face into a bloody mess a few rounds before the final bell rang.

When the smoke was cleared, Villanueva came out the victory. Judges Danrex Joseph Tapdasan of the Philippines had it 117-110 and Yongsak Na Songkha of Thailand had it 116-113 for Villanueva, while the other Thai judge Cherdchaichannon Sricharat saw it 114-113 for Maldonado, thus, the split verdict.

“Maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga Pinoy OFWs na nandito para suportahan ang aming laban. Talagang nakapagpalakas po nga loob ang inyong cheer sa amin,” said Villanueva.

In the other feature of the blockbuster show held in partnership with ABS-CBN’s TFC (The Filipino Channel), Bautista scored a beautiful fifth round knockdown only to come up with a seventh round majority technical decision win over Juan Jose ‘Piquet’ Martinez of Mexico.

The bout was waved off by referee Bruce MacTavish upon the advise of ringside physician Rene Bonsubre as Bautista could no longer continue with deep cuts on his right eyebrow and his left eyelid in round seven. The official scores were 68-65, 67-65, and 66-66.

The win was Bautista’s second straight in his comeback as a super featherweight. Overall, he now holds a 36-3 win-loss record packed with 25KOs. Martinez suffered his only second loss in 21 fights.

In the undercards, Larry Abarra, a Filipino fighting under the Round 10 Boxing Club of Dubai, scored the shortest match of the evening when he sent Chatpayak Nuengkawkawhok flat on the mat at the 1:03 mark of the second round, while Mohammad Akram of Syria and Deo Kizito of Uganda both prevailed by unanimous decision over Kong Windy Sports of Thailand and Anusher Abdullaev of Uzbekistan, respectively. (FREEMAN)

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