By Ronnie Nathanielsz
All it took was one cracking left to the jaw for WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight champion AJ “Bazooka” Banal to dispose of Mexican challenger Raul Hidalgo in a “Pinoy Pride XII” fight card which turned into a night of knockouts at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City, Saturday.
The fights were telecast over the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN on Sunday morning [Cebu time].
Hidalgo’s legs briefly convulsed according to GAB doctor Rene Bonsubre giving referee Danreex Tapdasan no choice but to wave it off at 2:29 of the very first round.
In the supporting main event of a fight card telecast by the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN on Sunday morning, Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation flyweight champion Rocky Fuentes took longer than Banal to dispose of his Mexican opponent who had failed to make the weight and was forced to wear ten ounce gloves as stipulated by the rules.
Fuentes caught Franco with a left hook to the jaw that dropped the Mexican in round three after Franco appeared ready to test Fuentes in the first couple of rounds.
An accidental clash of heads in the fifth round opened up a cut over the left eyelid of Fuentes which cost Franco a one point deduction but Fuentes wasn’t bothered and came back to send Franco to the canvas with a vicious left to the ribs. Although the Mexican beat the count another hard right by Fuentes dropped Franco one more time when referee Tony Pesons decided to call a halt at the :52 second mark of the sixth round.
Promising “Prince Albert Pagara had no trouble in scoring a 2nd round knockout over Thailand’s Phupha Por Nobnum. Pagara, regarded as a genuine prospect dropped Pornobnum with a right straight and when the Thai got up nailed him with another devastating right straight that knocked the Thai out cold in 2:38 of the second round.
BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard in a pre-fight story had predicted that the southpaw Banal who is ranked No.1 by the WBO, No. 3 by the IBF and WBA and No. 5 by the WBC “should have no problem of disposing of Hidalgo.”
With the win Banal improved his record to 26-1-1 with 20 knockouts while Hidalgo dropped to 16-6 with 12 knockouts.
Fuentes who the Standard considered “a prohibitive favorite top win” over Franco is ranked No. 3 by the WBC and IBF, No. 4 by the WBO and No. 5 by the WBA upped his record to 33-6-2 with 20 knockouts.