Dapudong loses boxing title to Sityatha by split decision

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Saturday, July 19, 2014


EAST London, South Africa - Filipino Edrin "The Sting" Dapudong, the IBO Super Flyweight Champion, fought like a challenger and chased South African Lwandile Sityatha from pillar to post in all of 12 rounds but ended up losing his boxing title by split decision Friday night (early Saturday morning in Manila) at the International Convention Center here.

With the thought that he would lose his title by decision if the fight went the full 12 rounds, Dapudong started hot in the first round and initiated the action catching the challenger with wicked hooks and powerful body punches.

Sityatha, who apparently was aware of the power of Dapudong, backpedalled throughout the fight but was also able to catch the champion with jabs and punches to the midsection.

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In the 12th and final round, Sityatha literally circled the ring to avoid Dapudong perhaps aware that just by finishing the round, he was assured of victory.

In the end, when the judges' scorecards were turned in, Dapudong lost the fight by split decision, a verdict which was expected by the Filipino camp.

Surprisingly though, it was the South African judge, Andile Matika, initially thought to be sympathetic to his countryman, who scored the fight in favor of the Filipino champion with a score of 115-113.

The two neutral judges, on the other hand, Waleska Roldan of the Puerto Rico and last minute pick Eddie Pappoe of Ghana scored the fight in favor of the challenger with identical lopsided scores of 116 for Sityatha and 112 for the champion.

It was a result which the Filipino camp had feared but nevertheless expected.

"You know how it is in South Africa, you must knockout the local boy to win," said a South African promoter prior to the fight.

Perhaps, it was this thought which I injected into the mind of Dapudong which proved to be the Filipino camp's undoing.

Determined to knockout the challenger, Dapudong pressed and attacked allowing the challenger to connect several times resulting in jubilation of Sityatha's supporters at ringside.

"We have nothing to be ashamed of even if we lost by split decision," said trainer Nonoy Neri who was in the corner with Rex Penalosa and South African cutman Gert Strydom.

"Dapudong displayed the courage which Filipino boxers are known for. Had that fight been held in a neutral country, we could have won," said Neri.

That was a view shared by many boxing men at ringside.

Unfortunately for Dapudong, two of the judges did not see it that way. (MP)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 20, 2014.

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