Heno loses title bid by close decision
Edward Heno

Heno loses title bid by close decision

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino challenger Edward Heno floored defending WBO lightflyweight champion Elwin Soto in the third round but failed to capitalize down the stretch as he lost a unanimous 12-round decision at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, last Thursday night (yesterday morning, Manila time).

Heno was ahead on the three judges scorecards after six rounds then Soto stepped on the gas to sweep the eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th in clinching a close verdict that fightnews.com described as “razor-thin.”

“Most rounds were close and all were hard-fought in a war,” said fightnews.com. Judges Max De Luca and Patrick Morley saw it 115-112 while judge Zach Young had it 114-113. At the end of the sixth, Heno was ahead, 57-56, 58-55, 57-56. Soto, realizing he was behind, went all out to pressure Heno who never backed off. In the 12th, Heno launched a desperate assault to turn the tables but it was too late. De Luca and Morley scored the last round for Heno.

It was Heno’s US debut and he impressed. “We lost by a very close decision,” said Dr. Ed de la Vega who was in Heno’s corner as cutman. “Heno dropped Soto and really gave him a hell of a fight. The crowd felt Heno won but that’s how it goes. Heno didn’t run out of steam. At worst, it should’ve been a draw but that’s not happening with Golden Boy Promotions. I don’t think there’s a rematch clause.”

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons, who arranged the fight, said it was “a very close fight” but the decision was fair. Los Angeles-based sports journalist and photographer Jhay Otamias said if only Heno took the last two or three rounds clearly, it would’ve been a different ending. “It was a very good fight,” said Otamias. “Nagpa-lubid si Heno sa simula ng ilang rounds at hindi siya gumalaw kaya parang binigay ng mga judges kay Soto kasi maraming suntok. Kulang mga binitawan na suntok ni Heno. Hindi siya naka-adjust. Isa o dalawang rounds pa sana nakuha ni Heno, champion na siya. Kung gumalaw-galaw si Heno at mas maraming suntok, sa kaniya na ang korona.”

Heno said he’s convinced he did enough to win the decision. He complained of repeated headbutts by Soto. Heno also mentioned his eyes were poked twice during the fight. “Lumaban hanggang huli at hindi siya sumuko,” said Otamias.

For Heno, it’s clearly not the end of the road. He made a strong account of himself and pushed Soto to the limit. Before the fight, oddsmakers gave Heno only a 15 percent chance of winning and the betting line reflected the mood. A $430 wager on Soto earned only $100 while a $100 bet on Heno would’ve brought in $310. But Heno made Soto’s backers sweat before they collected on their bets.

Heno, 26, took his first loss as his record dipped to 14-1-5, with 5 KOs. Soto, 22, raised his mark to 16-1, with 11 KOs. The win on points snapped Soto’s streak of four straight knockout victories. Heno, manager Marty Elorde and trainers Roel Durano and Erbing Peñalosa will leave Los Angeles for Manila on Monday.

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