Ni Gilbert Espeña
Hindi na pinalampas ni two-time world title challenger Edrin Dapudong ng Pilipinas ang pagkakataon nang patulugin sa unang round si International Boxing Organization (IBO) junior bantamweight titlist Gideon Buthelezi kahapon sa Emperor’s Palace Resort and Casino, Johannesburg, South Africa.
“North Cotabato’s Edrin ‘The Sting’ Dapudong scored a stunning first round knockout against South African champion Gideon Buthelezi winning in sensational fashion the International Boxing Organization (IBO) junior bantamweight title at the Emperor’s Palace Resort and Casino here tonight (2:30 a.m. Philippine Time),” ayon sa ulat ni dating North Cotabato governor Manny Piñol sa PhilBoxing.com
Hindi pinaporma ni Dapudong si Buthelezi na tumalo sa kanya sa kontrobersiyal na 12th round split decision noong nakaraang Nobyembre kahit binugbog niya nang husto at napabagsak niya sa 9th round sa sagupaang ginanap din sa Emperor’s Palace.
“The victory of the 27-year-old farmer’s son from Barangay Pag-asa, M’lang, North Cotabato also made him the first world boxing champion from North Cotabato and the first for the Braveheart Boxing Club which is owned by the Pinol Brothers,” ayon sa ulat. “Buthelezi entered the confidence oozing with confidence because of the support of the hometown crowd but Dapudong soon silenced the locals when he started connecting with hard punches to the midsection of the South African champion.”
Nasaktan si Buthelezi sa mga bigwas ni Dapudong sa kanyang bodega kaya napilitan siyang ibaba ang kanyang mga kamay na sinamantala ng Pinoy boxer na kaagad nagpakawala ng matinding left hook.
“At 2:30 of the 1st round, Dapudong dug a powerful right to the midsection of the left-handed champion and as Buthelezi lowered his guard to protect his midsection, the Filipino challenger unleashed his signature left hook hitting the South African fighter right on the button,” sabi sa ulat ni Piñol. “Buthelezi fell to the canvas face down and American referee Robert Byrd counted out the South African champion at 2:39 of the first round.”
“Dapudong burst into tears as he realized he had won the title that he could have had late last year when the judges denied him, forcing the IBO to order a rematch,” dagdag sa ulat. “Buthezi had come into the
defense of his belt with a record of 13-3, including four knockouts. Dapudong improved to 28-5, with 17 knockouts after one of the most sensational opening rounds seen in South African boxing for a long time.”
Si Dapudong ang unang Pinoy boxer na nag-kampeon sa South Africa at siya ang ikaapat na kampeon ngayon ng Pilipinas kasunod nina WBO light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes, IBF junior flyweight titlist Johnriel Casimero at WBO minimumweight ruler Merlito Sabillo.
Inaasahan pang madadagan ang world champions ng bansa dahil hahamunin ni WBC No. 1 at mandatory contender si WBC strawweight titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong ng China sa Hunyo 28 sa Dubai, United Arab Emirates, WBA No. 3 John Mark Apolinario na lalabanan si WBA bantamweight titlist Koki Kameda ng Japan sa Hulyo 23 sa Tokyo at WBO No. 1 at WBA No. 9 Milan Melindo na kakasa kay WBA at WBO flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada ng Mexico sa Hulyo 27 sa Macao, China.