By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Promising super featherweight Joel De La Cruz scored a split decision win over former WBA super bantamweight champion Somsak Sithchatchawal in the main supporting bout of an exciting big fight card at the Cebu Coliseum last Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Staged by well-known promoter Sammy Gello-ani in cooperation with Viva Sports, Tanduay Rhum and the Cebu Grand Hotel, the fights regrettably drew a small crowd which showed that “Daytime Boxing” won’t work in Cebu at least for the present.
Fight fans missed a good show especially in the main event where WBO Oriental bantamweight champion Michael Domingo scored a ninth round TKO over former world champion Ratanachai Sor Vorapin and earned a ticket for fights in the US and a possible world title shot later on.
De La Cruz caught Somsak with some solid blows to the body and head but appeared to tire out in the later rounds due to lack of conditioning. There were instances in the middle rounds where he staggered the former world champion but didn’t have enough in him to finish him off.
Somsak didn’t look like the world champion who scored a spectacular 10th round TKO over France’s Mahyar Monshipour in the 2006 “Fight of the Year” and was outgunned by the lanky De La Cruz, a fighter from the stable of Rex “Wakee” Salud.
While the Thai judge scored the fight for Somsak 77-75, Filipino judges Ed Ligas 77-74 and Salven Lagumbay 76-75 had De La Cruz the winner.
With the win De La Cruz improved his record to 16-4 with 3 knockouts. The 31 year old Somsak who had an impressive ring record of 57-3-1 with 44 knockouts going into the fight had occasional flurries but failed to sustain his aggression and lost some close rounds.