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Little-known Edward Heno could be boxing’s next hero

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — There’s a little-known boxer who’s quietly climbing up the ratings and now, experts are starting to realize he could become a future world champion. Orient and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) lightflyweight champion Edward Heno is ranked No. 2 by the IBO, No. 3 by the WBC and WBO and No. 4 by the WBA so if he continues to make strides, a world title shot may come sooner than later.

“Matagal na ako handang lumaban ng world championship,” said the brash, tough-talking Heno. “Tiwala ako sa utak ko. Ang disiplina nanggagaling sa sarili. Hindi ko ilulubog ang apat na anak ko, hindi ako magpapatalo. Alam ko mahalaga ang trainer pero sa ibabaw ng ring, hindi ang trainer lumalaban kundi ang boxer. Isip at diskarte ang kailangan.”

Heno’s children are all boys from 7 to 6 to 4 to 2. The two oldest are in school. They live in San Pedro, Laguna, with their mother Joanne in a house owned by her sister. Heno said he’s paying little by little to own the house.

Heno, 26, has a record of 14-0-5, with 5 KOs. Three of the five fighters with whom he figured in draws were beaten in rematches. A fourth should’ve lost by knockout. “Talagang ganyan ang boxing,” he said. “Kung minsan, kalaban mo ang promoter. Yung Michael Enriquez umayaw na nga pero hindi tinigil ng referee at tinabla pa ang laban.”

Asked to describe his style, Heno said it’s a mix of Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Prince Naseem Hamed and Nonito Donaire Jr. “Kung minsan boxer, kung minsan fighter, depende sa kalaban,” he said. “Importante sa akin utak at puso.”

Heno said he thrashed former world champion Merlito Sabillo in a 12-rounder in Bacolod last year but judge Romeo Sumalapao scored it 116-112 for his opponent while judge Lito de los Reyes saw it 118-110 and Ferdie Estrella 119-109 the other way. He won on a split decision but insisted it should have been unanimous. Heno said there was a conspiracy to bring him down. Before the weigh-in, he scaled 108 pounds. But when he stepped on the scales at the weigh-in, he was 103. Sabillo weighed in at 106 so Heno claimed he was 111 or three over the limit.

In May 2017, his fight against Japan’s Seita Ogito in Nakagami for the vacant OPBF 108-pound crown was declared a majority draw. In a rematch four months later in the same venue, Heno dropped Ogito twice before referee Yuji Fukuchi stopped it in the seventh. A few weeks ago, Heno was back in Japan and retained his OPBF crown via a one-sided decision over Koji Itagaki. It was his third defense of the throne.

Heno recently sought arbitration from the GAB to break his contract with manager Anson Tiu Co. The contract has three more years to go. Co agreed to release Heno on condition that he shares in the purses of his next three fights.

EDWARD HENO ORIENT AND PACIFIC BOXING FEDERATION
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