Apolinar vs. Xia for vacant WBO Oriental title

Apolinar vs. Xia for vacant WBO Oriental title
Boxing SunStar File photo

PETE Apolinar looks to become a regional champion again as he trades leathers with Chinese warrior Lingjie Xia for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental featherweight belt in Prime Stags Sports’ “Prime Fight III” on Friday, Dec. 29, 2023, at the SM Sky Hall of SM Seaside City Cebu.

“This will be a very good fight because his opponent is a former WBC (Asia Continental) champion. He should not be taken lightly,” Apolinar’s coach Fernando Ocon told SunStar Cebu. “We want to outbox him but if the opportunity comes, we’ll knock him out.”

Apolinar made weight at 125.8 pounds, while Xia weighed-in at 125.6 pounds.

Last year, Apolinar became the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion after a 10th-round knockout of veteran Jhunriel Ramonal in Parañaque City. He immediately lost his belt in his first title defense following a fifth round technical knockout to Yoshiki Takei in Japan.

After two straight losses in Japan, the 28-year-old Apolinar, a sparring partner of both Naoya Inoue and Marlon Tapales, bounced back with a unanimous decision win over Reymond Empic last April 1 in Lapu-Lapu City.

The 32-year-old Xia once held the World Boxing Council (WBC) Asian Continental lightweight title after winning it with a first-round knockout of Attanon Kunlawong in 2019 in China. He relinquished his belt after moving down in weight. Xia won two straight bouts against Pinoy pugs Landy Cris Leon and Arnel Baconaje, both by unanimous decision in 2019 before taking a long hiatus from 2020 to 2021.

Xia returned to the ring last April 1 in China and dominated Guangheng Luan by unanimous decision in a four-round fight.

Apolinar is 17-4 with 10 knockouts, while Xia is 9-0-1 with two knockouts.

In the co-main feature, former world champion Milan Melindo (39-6, 14 KOs) is up against Tanzanian Mchanja Yohana (14-5-1, 12 KOs) in a 10-round super bantamweight fight.

The stacked show also features three Philippine Boxing Federation (PBF) title fights.

Kit Ceron Garces (6-1, 5 KOs) exchanges blows with Harry Nier (4-1, 2 KOs) for the PBF flyweight strap. Michael Adolfo (4-2, 2 KOs) takes on Albert Parilla for the PBF super bantamweight diadem. Ian Donaire (5-2-1, 4 KOs) locks horns with Kier Espere (5-5-1, 1 KO) for the PBF bantamweight title.

Also in the undercard, tough journeyman Jason Canoy (28-11-2, 19 KOs) slugs it out with Renan Portes (12-16, 6 KOs), John Ver Espra (1-3, 1 KO) clashes with Celmar Abejuela, John Magos (1-0) faces Jomari Ladera (2-6, 1 KO) and Joperson Trazo turns pro against Michael Omallao (0-1) in the show’s curtain-raiser.


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