Apolinario KOs Buthelezi, wins IBO belt

·2 min read

IT was supposed to be a step-up fight for unbeaten world-rated prospect Dave Apolinario. However, what should have been Apolinario’s stiffest test to date turned out to be easy work as he demolished veteran Gideon Buthelezi in just a single round in their International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight title bout on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at the International Convention Centre in East London, South Africa.

Apolinario did what most visiting Pinoy fighters fail to do, beat a South African fighter in his own backyard in a title fight.

The 23-year-old Apolinario landed a crisp right jab followed by a solid left straight to the jaw that dropped Buthelezi to the canvas. Buthelezi tried to stand up but was clearly dazed and held to ropes while he was counted out by the referee with just a few seconds left in the opening round.

With the victory, Apolinario captured the vacant IBO belt. He improved to 17-0 with 12 knockouts.

The 36-year-old Buthelezi, a three-weight IBO champion, suffered his first loss in seven years and saw his nine-fight-winning streak end. He dropped to 23-6 with five knockouts.

Apolinario has slowly blossomed into one of the Philippines’ rising young stars and the win over a proven veteran in Buthelezi shows that he’s the real deal.

Apolinario is steadily rising up the world rankings and will soon get his shot at a world title in one of the four major boxing sanctioning bodies. He’s currently rated No. 6 by the World Boxing Association (WBA), No. 10 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), No. 15 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and No. 33 by the World Boxing Council (WBC).

Artem Dalakian is the current WBA titleholder, Junto Nakatani holds the WBO belt, Sunny Edwards has the IBF belt around his waist and Julio Cesar Martinez is the WBC champion.

Mananquil losses to Cafu

On the other hand, Apolinario’s teammate, Ben Mananquil, wasn’t as fortunate and lost to Phumalele Cafu via a fifth round stoppage in their WBA Intercontinental super flyweight contest.

It was a very competitive fight with both pugs having their moment. Mananquil was gaining momentum in the fourth round and it continued into the fight round as he landed some solid shots on Cafu.

Cafu, however, caught Mananquil with a counter left that forced him to backpedal and drop on one knee. Mananquil stood up but his corner intervened and stopped the fight.

Mananquil fell to 18-3-3 with five knockouts, while Cafu remained unbeaten with 6-0-3 with six knockouts.

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