Rocky loses to Thai

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


ROCKY Fuentes waited for years before his crack at a world title but it just took 48 minutes from 12 rounds of boxing for his lifetime dream to slip past his hands.

The soft-spoken 27-year-old Cebuano bowed to former Olympian Amnat Ruenroeng via a lopsided unanimous decision and failed to capture the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight belt at the Liptapanlop Hall in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand.

“I feel bad for Rocky. He wanted this fight so bad. I’m sure he gave his all and he has nothing to be ashamed of,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

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All three judges gave the fight to the 34-year-old Ruenroeng with scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112.

Fuentes, who is rated highly in all the major boxing sanctioning bodies, is expected to slide down in the world rankings. Before the loss, he was rated No. 2 in the World Boxing Council (WBC), No. 3 in the World Boxing Association (WBA), No. 5 in the IBF and No. 8 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO). He is also ranked 10th in The Ring ratings.

Ruenroeng improved to 12-0 with five knockouts, while Fuentes dropped to 35-7-2 with 20 knockouts and is 0-4-1 in Thailand.

Fuentes was training for a different fight, an IBF title eliminator with another Olympian, McWilliams Arroyo, in Puerto Rico. The fight was cancelled but fortunately then IBF champion Moruti Mthalane backed out from his title defense against Ruenroeng and was stripped of his title. Fuentes stepped in to fight Ruenroeng on short notice.

Despite failing his first world title bid, whether or not there was a hometown decision, Aldeguer believes that Fuentes will bounce back stronger.

“I’m not sure if there was a hometown decision. I believe Rocky will bounce back.”

Meanwhile, Marlon Tapales is gearing up to defend his crown next month in Davao City.

Tapales will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia-Pacific bantamweight crown against 20-year-old Mexican Noe Martinez Raygoza on Feb. 8.

“It will be great fight because Tapales is in great condition. He continued his training right after the New Year. He looked good in his sparring yesterday,” Tapales’ coach Juanito Ablaca told Sun.Star Cebu.

Tapales started sparring last Tuesday and got a wide array of sparring partners in two boxing gyms here in Cebu.

“We are training here in my house in Liloan. I have a small gym here and we do our sparring at Brix (Flores’ gym) and at the ALA Gym,” said Ablaca.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 23, 2014.

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