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More Filipinos in world ratings

At the end of last year, there were 32 Filipino fighters in the top 10 ratings of the five top professional boxing bodies, namely the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA), IBF (International Boxing Federation), WBO (World Boxing Organization) and IBO (International Boxing Organization). Several fighters were listed in multiple ratings so that if you isolate individuals separately, 21 out of 32 names came out.

As this year comes to an end, there is a dramatic 75 percent increase in Filipino fighters rated in the top 10 of the same five bodies. The list is up to 56 with 30 isolated individuals. This excludes the three Filipino reigning world champions – IBF lightflyweight titlist Milan Melindo, IBF flyweight ruler Donnie Nietes and IBF superflyweight king Jerwin Ancajas.

Four Filipinos are rated No. 1 – superflyweight Jonas Sultan by the IBF, welterweight Manny Pacquiao and superbantamweight Marlon Tapales by the IBO and minimumweight Robert Paradero by the WBO. They’re all lined up as mandatory title challengers. Seven are No. 2 contenders and within a whisker of a mandatory championship crack – welterweight Pacquiao, featherweight Mark Magsayo, superflyweight Aston Palicte, lightflyweight Jonathan Taconing and flyweight Vic Saludar by the WBO, flyweight Brian Viloria by the WBA and Taconing again by the WBC.

At the moment, three Filipinos are booked for title fights. On Dec. 31, Melindo takes on WBA lightflyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi in a unification title fight in Tokyo. On Jan. 27, No. 14 contender Mercito Gesta of Mandaue faces WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Gesta is trained by Freddie Roach who used to work with Linares. On Feb. 3, Ancajas will stake his IBF 115-pound crown against Mexico’s Israel Gonzalez in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Another Filipino, Nonito Donaire Jr., is tentatively scheduled to battle Ireland’s Carl Frampton in Belfast on April 7 in what could be a featherweight title eliminator. Donaire, 35, has held the IBF flyweight, interim WBA superflyweight, WBC/WBO bantamweight, IBF/WBA/WBO superbantamweight and WBA featherweight crowns. Frampton, 30, was the IBF/WBA superbantamweight and WBA featherweight champion. They’re both itching to get back on the throne.

Author: Joaquin Henson, Philippine Star
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