Handig pulls off stunning upset over Takayama-A A +A
Monday, October 15, 2012
MATEO Handig “Singwangcha” turned from an unknown boxer into a world title contender overnight following an upset victory over former world champion Katsunari Takayama.
The 23-year-old Handig walked away with the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Pan Pacific mini-flyweight and the mandatory challenger status to IBF mini-flyweight champion Mario Rodriguez with a razor-thin split decision win over Takayama last Saturday night at the La Trinidad Gym in Benguet.
The fight was neck-and-neck with Filipino judges Danrex Tapdasan and Rey Danseco seeing Handig winning by a point with identical scores of 114-113, while Somsak Sirianant scored it 115-112 for the 29-year-old Japanese, who once held the World Boxing Council (WBC) and interim World Boxing Organization (WBO) mini-flyweight crowns.
A point deduction in the seventh round by referee Bruce McTavish on Takayama proved to be crucial. He was deducted a point after constantly pushing Handig.
Handig won the biggest fight of his career that sets him up for a world title match after winning the fight, which served as a title eliminator. He improved to 13-5 with seven knockouts.
Takayama, on the other hand, suffered his second straight loss and fell to 24-6 with 10 knockouts.
World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental Drayer Gabutan “Singwangcha” (19-1-2, 9 KOs) had his sixth successful title defense after a quick stoppage win over Indonesian Lande Olin (11-4, 7 KOs).
Gabutan stopped the overweight Olin in the 1:53 mark of the second round in the main supporting bout.
In the undercard, JR Estremos (7-5, 2 KOs) knocked out Michael Borja (5-9-1) in the fifth round; Alvin Tam (12-3, 2 KOs) won by unanimous decision over Prell Tupas (7-18-4, 1 KO); Nathan Bolcio (11-4-1, 4 KOs) scored a unanimous decision win over journeyman Gerald Ubatay (15-28-9, 2 KOs); Stephen Gelawa (3-0, 1 KO) remained unbeaten following a second round demolition over Arnel Taganas (2-6, 1 KO); and Rex Wao (4-0, 3 KOs) stopped Jonel Borbon (1-4-1, 1 KO) in the second round.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 15, 2012.