Disappointed but unbowed

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - October 27, 2019 - 12:00am

If there’s such a thing as a “good” loss, Filipino challenger Edward Heno’s defeat to defending WBO lightflyweight champion Elwin Soto of Mexico in Indio, California, last Thursday night is a timely example.

Heno lost a close but unanimous decision. If he had won two more rounds, Heno would’ve been crowned the new 108-pound king. Two judges gave Heno four rounds and one scored five. Heno registered the only knockdown in the bout that was described by fightnews.com as a war. Soto took a left hook to the ear in the third round and fell. Heno called it his “palakol” punch. 

Heno insisted he did enough to win and claimed he got a raw deal from referee Jerry Cantu. “Parang kampi yung referee kay Soto,” he said. “Mga apat na beses ako na-ulo, may low blow din na hindi man lang nag-warning yung referee. Pag-break, ako lang ang tiningnan ng referee. Dalawang beses pa ako nasundot sa mata ng referee sa break niya. At hinayaan ng referee si Soto sumuntok sa break at ibaba ang ulo ko.”

But Heno admitted he could’ve done better to seal the win. “Marami pa akong kulang,” he said. “Yung side-to-side, hindi ko nagawa. Naramdaman ko rin yung tension ng laban. Pinabayaan ko si Soto pumasok at hindi ko na-diskartehan. Sana mabigyan uli ako ng break at maka-rematch kay Soto.”

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said he’ll take Heno to the WBO Convention in Tokyo on Dec. 2-5 to plead his case, promise to keep plugging and get another shot at the world crown. “A loss is not a loss if you learn from your mistakes and correct them,” said Gibbons. “Edward needs one win and he’ll be right back in the mix. One win and I’ll get him back in title contention.”

Gibbons said the decision was fair but could’ve gone either way. “The judges just couldn’t appreciate Edward’s style,” he said. “Edward did a lot of good things, he worked inside but unfortunately, the judges gave aggression to the Mexican instead of watching Edward’s body of work. It was very close. Edward, his manager Marty (Elorde) and I thank WBO president Paco Valcarcel for this opportunity to fight for the world title.”  

Elorde said Heno’s disappointed but not discouraged. “When you fight abroad, you have to prove more, to show more,” he said. “What you like about Edward is his attitude. He’s not putting his head down. The gameplan was to hit and move but Edward went a different way. At least, he showed he deserved to be a challenger. Now, they know him in the US. The plan is for Edward to fight again, maybe in February and if he wins, Sir Sean might be able to arrange another title shot.” Because he fought for the world title, Heno automatically gave up his Orient and Pacific Boxing Federation crown.

Elorde said he’ll take Heno around Los Angeles before leaving for Manila tomorrow. “First time ni Edward sa US kaya I’m thinking of bringing him to Disneyland,” he said. “He wants to come back home right away because his girlfriend is giving birth to their fifth child any day now.” Heno said he’ll enjoy the Christmas holidays with his family in San Pedro, Laguna then go back to the gym to get ready for his next ring assignment. His dream to become a world champion is far from over.

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