FILIPINO boxers John Leo Dato and Genisis Libranza hacked out impressive victories in their respective fights in the undercard for the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman battle on Sunday (Manila time) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States.
Mr. Dato, a flyweight who originally hails from La Union but is now based in California, knocked out Mexican opponent Juan Antonio Lopez in the fifth round while top flyweight prospect Libranza of Davao beat American Carlos Maldonado also by technical knockout in the fourth round.
Not so lucky, however, was Jayar Inson of Davao City, who received a quick second-round stoppage loss from Sergey Lipinets of Kazakhstan.
Unbeatean heading into yesterday’s fight, Mr. Dato (13-0, seven knockouts) made sure he kept his record unscathed with a solid showing against Mr. Lopez.
The Filipino set up his opponent well in the fifth round, pinning Mr. Lopez on the ropes before unleashing an uppercut to the midsection that all but signal the end to the fight.
Mr. Lopez instantly fell down on one knee and failed to beat the count on his way to the victory.
The loss sent Mr. Lopez (14-7) to his seventh defeat in 21 fights.
Seconding Mr. Dato with a win was Libranza, his second in US soil this year.
Mr. Libranza was all business against Mr. Maldonado and pounded on every opportunity he could get.
The end of the fourth round saw the Filipino unleashing a barrage of combinations on the American who could not retaliate while on the ropes, prompting the referee to stop the contest and hand the win to Mr. Libranza.
Mr, Libranza hiked his record to 19-1 with the victory. Previously he defeated American Gilberto Mendoza by unanimous decision in Carson, California, in February.
Meanwhile, Mr. Inson missed out on the opportunity to climb up the boxing ladder after falling to Mr. Lipinets via knockout in the second round.
A replacement for the fight after Mr. Lipinets’ original opponent John Molina, Jr. backed out because of back injury, Mr. Inson tried his best but was still found wanting against the former International Boxing Federation light welterweight champion.
After an exchange in the second round, Mr. Lipinets countered with a left hook straight to the head of Mr. Inson who fell to the canvas face first. The Filipino managed to stand up but the referee no sooner stopped the fight.
With the win, Mr. Lipinets improved to 16-1 while Mr. Inson dropped to 18-3. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo