BACK WITH VENGEANCE.  Albert Pagara (center) poses for a photo after beating Chinese foe Aketelieti Yelejian by majority decision for a successful ring return after two-year hiatus. / Albert Pagara Facebook Page
BACK WITH VENGEANCE. Albert Pagara (center) poses for a photo after beating Chinese foe Aketelieti Yelejian by majority decision for a successful ring return after two-year hiatus. / Albert Pagara Facebook Page

Pagara wins by majority decision in ring return

FORMER ALA Boy Albert Pagara had a successful ring return from a two-year hiatus after a hard-fought majority decision over tough Chinese Aketelieti Yelejian to win the vacant International Boxing Federation Asia lightweight belt on June 15, 2024, in the main event of “Thrilla in Passi: The Return of the Prince” at the City of Passi Arena in Passi City.

“The opponent was very tough. I knew that he was tough. That’s why I didn’t take him lightly. It wasn’t a tune-up fight,” Pagara told SunStar Cebu.

It was a close contest, in which both fighters traded some heavy blows.

Yelejian was very busy and threw a lot of combinations. However, Pagara landed with the heavier punches that sometimes rocked the Chinese.

Yelejian had a solid run in the ninth round and hurt Pagara with a body shot. But Pagara kept his composure, clinched and held up until the end of the fight.

“I got hit on the body and if I lacked the training I would have surely went down,” Pagara admitted. “I’m not full back yet. I still have a lot of things to work on. There’s still a bit of rung rust,” he said. “I still lack a lot because of the two-year layoff. I think I’ll be better in my next fight.”

Judges Edward Ligas and Gil Co had identical scores of 96-94 for Pagara, while Aquil Tamano scored it 95-95.

Pagara improved to 35-1 with 24 knockouts, while Yelejian dropped to 8-4-1 with two knockouts.

Pagara said that he’ll return either in August or September. It’ll be the first time since 2018 that he’ll be fighting two or more fights in a year.

“A big fight is coming for me here in the Philippines,” he said.

On the other hand, John Kevin Jimenez (8-0, 3 KOs) remained perfect in the pro ranks after a lopsided unanimous decision win over Jeven Villacite (6-7-5, 1 KO).

In another featured contest, Roderick Bautista (6-0, 5 KOs) stopped Jemuel Aranas (4-1, 2 KOs) in the 43-second mark of the sixth round to win the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) Youth light flyweight strap.

Baustista dropped Aranas once each in the fourth and fifth rounds and twice in the sixth. / EKA

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