Sunday July 22, 2018

Tepora eager to make dream come true

IT’S a dream come true for up-and-comer Jhack Tepora to finally fight for a world title as the main supporting bout of the Philippines’ greatest boxer, Manny Pacquiao.

Since he started boxing, there was only one thing on Tepora’s mind, and that was to become a world champion.

“I’m very excited. It has always been my dream to become a world champion,” said the 23-year-old Tepora.

Tepora, one of the hottest prospects from the Philippines, gets a shot at his dream as he guns for the World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight strap against Mexican Edivaldo Ortega on July 15 in the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia headlined by Pacquiao against WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse.

Tepora, rated No. 2 in the WBA, is coming off the biggest win of his career, an impressive second-round knockout of South African prospect Lusanda Komanisi eight months ago in South Africa.

He believes that Ortega is on a different level than his previous foe and should not be taken lightly.

“This is my biggest fight,” he said. “That’s why I’m tripling my effort in training.”

Tepora, who’s coming off a long layoff, is training his heart out in the Omega Boxing Gym and is sparring with the likes of Anthony Sabalde and Jhaleel Payao.

The 27-year-old Ortega, who trains in the same gym with former world champion Luis Nery, has won his last two contests since suffering the only defeat of his career against Eduardo Ramirez. He beat both former world champions Tomas Rojas and Drian Francisco. He is ranked No. 6 in the WBA.

“He’s a southpaw and a fighter. I’m not thinking of a knockout but I want to score points,” said Tepora.

Tepora is 21-0 with 16 knockouts, while Ortega is 26-1-1 with 12 knockouts. (EKA)