International Convention Centre, East London, South Africa - Dave “The Doberman” Apolinario, now W17 KO12 L0, became the Philippine's lone world champion after disposing South African legend and three division world champion Gideon Buthelezi in the opening round.
At stake was the International Boxing Organization world flyweight belt. The country's last standing champion Mark Magsayo was recently outpointed by Rey Vargas.
Both fighters entered the opening bell with a lot of respect and were sizing up each other with jabs and single shots. The Filipino fighter was more aggressive, but Buthelezi was moving around effectively enjoying the cheers of the home crowd. It was during the last minute of the round when Apolinario exploded with a wicked one-two combination that sent the South African fighter crashing to the canvas. It was the straight right that caught Buthelezi on the button. The hometown fighter failed to beat the count.
It was a meaningful win for Apolinario, because his mother passed away three months ago. The sorry of bereavement didn’t stop the Sanman protégé from putting on a show and showing the boxing world what he was made of. The win was dedicated to his late mother.
“How I wish my mother was here as I celebrate my first world title belt. This is for you mom. This is for the Philippines. This is for my team," Apolinario stated.
Sanman Promotions CEO, Jim Claude Manangquil, was celebrating.
“We were always confident that Dave would stop Buthelezi with an exclamation point. He is a showman. It was the performance of his life but this is just the beginning. Dave is here to get the other belts. Thank you Mike Pelayo," Manangquil said.