Report and photos by Chito Yu Katangkatang
Mateo Handig Singwangcha was crowned new IBF Pan Pacific Minimumweight Champion after escaping a very close split decision against tough Japanese Katsunari Takayama. Judges Danrex Tapdasan and Rey Danseco both scored the fight 114-113 in favor of Sinwangcha while Judge Somsak Sirianant had it 115-112 in favor of Takayama. Takayama’s right eyebrow was cut by a punch in the second round and he was deducted a point in the fourth round by Referee Bruce Mc Tavish for repeated pushing. Takayama appeared to be the faster, busier and more aggressive fighter throughout the fight but Handig countered with the more telling blows and dominated the earlier rounds. With the win, Handig Singwangcha’s record improves to 13-5 with 7 KOs while Takayama drops to 24-6 with 10 KOs.
In the co-featured bout, Gabutan Sinwangcha retained his WBO Oriental Bantamweight Belt by stopping Indonesian Champ Lande Olin. Olin came out strong in after the opening bell but hesitated when Gabutan started landing his powershots. In the second round, Olin had enough and did a “No Mas” a la Roberto Duran by turning his back from his opponent thereby prompting referee Danrex Tapdasan to wave off his hands and award the TKO win to Gabutan.
With the back to back victories, Handing and Gabutan are few inches away from world title breaks. Handig gains the chance to possibly challenge newly crowned IBF Minimumweight Champ Mario Rodriguez while Gabutan may challenge the winner of the Banal-Sor Singyu fight.
Manager and Promoter Brico Santig and Thai Promoter Naris Singwangcha were equally happy about their wards’ back to back victory. La Trinidad Benguet Mayor Greg Abalos was also in attendance and added a special price for the fighter of the night which was won by local fighter Alvin Tam.