By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The WBO has kept its promise and rated former bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa at No.2 in its latest May rankings.
Interim titleholder Fernando Montiel (39-2-1, 29 KO’s) has been elevated to fully-fledged champion after Penalosa was stripped of the title when he entered the ring against super bantamweight champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico last April 25.
Penalosa put up a gallant fight but Lopez was too big, too strong and too young for the 36 year old Filipino southpaw who took everything that the hard-hitting Lopez threw at him but never went down and was congratulated by WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel for his gallant effort.
Valcarcel promised Penalosa to rate him high and told him he deserved another crack at the 118 pound title. WBO Asia-Pacific regional head Leon Panoncillo assured us that Penalosa would be high up in the rankings. And he is.
As things stand Montiel will defend the title against former WBA flyweight champion and IBA super flyweight champion Eric “Little Hands of Stone” Morel (41-2, 21 KO’s) of Puerto Rico in Atlantic City on June 27.
Penalosa has said he would like to meet the winner of the Montiel-Morel title fight. However, Mark Vester of Boxing Scene reported that Montiel has said he wants a unification title fight against WBA,IBF and WBC champion Vic Darchinyan of Australia.