Payao challenges Bonokoane for WBF belt

·2 min read

JHALEEL Payao challenges World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental champion Thato Bonokoane on July 8 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Payao is fighting for the first time overseas and it will surely be a difficult task because Pinoy rarely wins on South African soil especially if the fight goes the distance.

“We know it’s hard (to win in South Africa) that’s why we are working on our timing and power for a knockout,” Payao’s coach Jingjing Tepora told SunStar Cebu. “Knocking out our opponent is always our game plan every time we go outside the country so that there won’t be a hometown decision. A little bit of luck and a ton of hard work is what our team is all about.”

Tepora was in his younger brother Jhack’s corner in South Africa when he demolished Lusanda Komanisi in two rounds in 2017.

He knows how hard it’s to beat a South African in South Africa. That’s why Tepora believes that a knockout is the best strategy to walk out with a victory in South Africa.

“Our game plan is to pressure and target his body so that he’ll gas out,” said Tepora, who trains Payao at the Tepora Boxing Gym Cebu in Liloan.

Following a four-year hiatus, Payao decided to return to the ring in 2021. He beat fellow former Omega Boy Marjon Piencenaves by unanimous decision in Bohol.

The 28-year-old Payao won his last six fights. The only blemish in his career was a unanimous decision loss to former world title challenger Michael Dasmarinas in 2015.

Bonokoane’s last few years had been a rollercoaster ride. He’s 3-4-1 in the last four years.

Bonokoane is coming off a win in his last fight, beating Innocent Mantengu by unanimous decision in their trilogy fight.

Payao is 17-1 with nine knockouts, while the 31-year-old Bonokoane is 12-5-3 with eight knockouts.

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