Michael Dasmariñas proves worthy of Elorde award
MANILA, Philippines — IBO bantamweight champion Michael Dasmariñas will receive Co-Boxer of the Year honors with IBF superflyweight titlist Jerwin Ancajas and WBO minimumweight ruler Vic Saludar at the Elorde Awards Night in the Okada Hotel and Casino, Parañaque, tonight but if he’d lost to Kenny Demecillo in their IBF title eliminator last Saturday, it would be an ironic recognition.
There was added pressure on Dasmariñas to beat Demecillo because he couldn’t receive the award coming off a loss. Demecillo wasn’t about to make it easy for Dasmariñas who fought tooth and nail to win by a unanimous 12-round decision, surviving a cut over his right eye from an accidental headbutt in the eighth. Judge Silvestre Abainza scored it 116-112, judge Gil Co 117-111 and judge Greg Ortega 115-113 as Dasmariñas raised his record to 29-2-1, with 19 KOs.
The fight was the main event of a blockbuster card organized by MP Promotions and Ringstar Asia with Omega Gym and SanMan Promotions in the Resorts World Manila. WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao was at ringside to witness the proceedings and announced after the show, he’ll make it a regular event to provide a platform for rising Filipino boxers to showcase their skills on a global stage. The card was beamed to an audience of over a million in 40 countries.
Among the spectators were IBF ratings committee chairman Anibal Miramontes of New Jersey, International Boxing Hall of Famer and former Ring Magazine editor Nigel Collins, Las Vegas international matchmaker Sean Gibbons and NBA legend Metta World Peace with his Fil-Am son Jeron Artest.
In the chief supporting bout, unbeaten Samuel Salva pounded out a unanimous 12-round decision over Mark Cuatro in their eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger of IBF minimumweight champion DeeJay Kriel of South Africa. Salva, who trained for a month with Ancajas at the Survival Camp in Magallanes, Cavite, put on a display of dazzling handspeed and footwork to outduel Cuatro in a battle between warriors with a similar style. They were mirror images of each other but Salva had more gas in his tank down the stretch and never took his foot off the pedal.
Dasmariñas had to be worried that he might join Ancajas and Saludar on the dais tonight on a losing note. So he made sure he wouldn’t be embarrassed. Dasmariñas withstood Demecillo’s body assault and an ugly cut to win handily. When Dasmariñas was cut, Demecillo abandoned his body attack and focused on aggravating the wound. The adjustment backfired. Dasmariñas’ corner did a good job of controlling the flow of blood with Demecillo unable to capitalize. Pulling the plug on the body attack was a relief for Dasmariñas who took a beating downstairs and couldn’t be sure to survive the bombardment.
Pacquiao will be the guest of honor and speaker at the Elorde Awards Night. He will be honored with an Award of Distinction, a special citation for Elorde Hall of Famers who continue to reign as world champions. Receiving the same award are WBA bantamweight king Nonito Donaire, Jr. and WBO superflyweight titlist Donnie Nietes who only recently relinquished the throne.
Special awards will be given to Collins, WBO vice president and Asia Pacific/Oriental/African regional chairman Leon Panoncillo, former WBO Asia Pacific lightweight champion Bobby Pacquiao, 1996 Olympic silver medalist Onyok Velasco and 1988 Olympic bronze medalist Leopoldo Serrantes. Citations will be presented to Thai promoter Naris Singwancha, Rotary Club Manila Premier and Okada Manila. The late ABAP president Cong. Roilo Golez and two-time Asian Games medalist Leopoldo Cantancio will be recognized posthumously.
A card of four fights will be an added attraction to the annual Elorde event. The fights will start at 4 p.m. with Albert Francisco engaging Dave Pacunla in a flyweight four-rounder and WBO Asia Pacific flyweight queen Casey (Lady Hawaiian Punch) Morton staking her crown against Japan’s Chie Higano in a tenner. Then, dinner will be served at 6 p.m. as the first part of the awards program begins. At 7 p.m., two more fights will be held. First, former WBO Asia Pacific superfeatherweight titlist Juan Martin (Bai) Elorde will take on Indonesia’s Rengga Rengga in a six-rounder then WBO Asia Pacific superbantamweight ruler and WBO No. 2 contender Juan Miguel (Mig) Elorde will face Japanese challenger Shohei Kawashima in a 12-rounder.