IT’S the end of the road for the boxing career of former World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental featherweight champion Neil John Tabanao after deciding to retire following his third round knockout in the hands of Lamont Roach Jr. on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, (PH time) at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California.
The 26-year-old Tabanao’s mind was already set coming into this fight that he was going to hang up his gloves and focus on his work as a caregiver in the US.
“Yes, I’m going to retire. What I earn in boxing is very little compared to my work here (as a caregiver). I’m thankful to the sport of boxing because it has helped me a lot. However, I can’t prioritize boxing over my work now. It’s a huge loss for me if I won’t work,” Tabanao told SunStar Cebu.
Roach Jr., who improved to 20-1-1 with eight knockouts, dropped Tabanao with a left hook to the body and was stopped in the 34 second mark of the third.
Tabanao ended his career with a record of 17-8 with 11 knockouts. Aside from his WBO Oriental belt, he has also held the World Boxing Foundation Asia-Pacific super bantamweight strap.
Tabanao, a native of Panabo City, honed his skills in Cebu City at the Rex Wakee Salud Gym in Labangon. The highlight of his career was when he shockingly stopped heavily-favored former Olympian Ibrahim Balla in Bendigo, Australia in 2016. He dropped Balla twice in the third round before the referee stopped the contest.
Tabanao has also faced the likes of former world champion Isaac Dogboe, current WBO super bantamweight champion Angelo Leo, one-time world title contender Tremaine Williams and unbeaten Mexican prospect Irving Turrubiartes. (EKA)