For the record
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - September 27, 2020 - 12:00am

The WBO bantamweight title fight between defending champion JohnRiel Casimero of Ormoc City and Ghanaian Duke Micah in Connecticut this morning (Manila time) is only the third championship bout involving a Filipino this year. Last February 1, IBF minimumweight titlist Pedro Taduran of Albay retained his crown via a fourth round technical majority draw with Mexico’s Daniel Valladares in Guadalupe and three weeks later, Jeo Santisima of Masbate was stopped by WBO superbantamweight ruler Emanuel Navarrete in the 11th round in Las Vegas.

Last year, Filipinos figured in 22 world championship fights, winning 10 and losing 12 with Casimero picking up victories in three, including two interim WBO bantamweight title bouts, and Pacquiao and IBF superflyweight ruler Jerwin Ancajas collecting two each. That’s a far cry from the lowly record this year because of the pandemic. Casimero’s duel with Micah is the third world title fight pitting a Filipino against a Ghanaian in boxing history. The first was in 1963 when Flash Elorde retained the world junior lightweight title on a disqualification over Love Allotey and the second was in 2010 when Manny Pacquiao defeated Joshua Clottey on a lopsided decision to keep his WBO welterweight crown in Arlington, Texas.

The rivalry between Filipinos and Ghanaians in boxing dates back to the 1960s. Elorde and Allotey broke the ice in a non-title tenner in 1963 with the Flash winning a close decision at the Araneta Coliseum. Three months later, they fought again, this time with Elorde’s belt on the line. Allotey returned to Manila in 1965 to bow to Rene Barrientos on points at the Rizal Memorial and in 1970, decisioned Jet Parker of Sampaloc in San Jose, California and a year later, scored a similar verdict over Tony Jumao-as of Cebu in Stockton. In 1964, Allotey’s brother Bob tackled Filipino Virgilio (Billy) Brown twice in Melbourne, drawing once and winning once. The next year, he was in Manila to draw with Al Diaz and lose to Baby Lorona in two Big Dome fights. In 1972, Bob defeated another Filipino Romy Guelas in a tenner in Barcelona. In 1990, Nana Yaw Konadu stopped Australia-based Filipino Diego Duran in three rounds in Sydney.

In 1992, Ghana’s Ike Quartey knocked out Dindo Canoy of Sagay, Negros Occidental, in one round in a WBC International superlightweight fight in Accra. In 2010, Ben Tackie decisioned Dennis Laurente of Agusan del Norte in Grapevine, Texas while Pacquiao thrashed Clottey also in Texas. In 2015, Joseph Agbeko halted Juanito Rubillar of Davao Oriental in El Paso, Texas and the next year, Larry Abarra of Zambales blitzed Isaac Nettey in two in Dubai while Isaac Dogboe trounced Neil John Tabanao of Davao del Norte on a 12-round decision in Accra. Albert Pagara of Southern Leyte made mincemeat of three Ghanaian opponents Raymond Commey in Cebu, Laryea Odoi in Maasin and George Krampah in Cebu in 2016-18. Then, in Singapore two years ago, Michael Dasmarinas of Camarines Sur fought to a split draw with Manyo Plange. There may have been more fights between Filipinos and Ghanaians but my research shows 21 encounters with Filipinos winning nine, losing nine and drawing thrice.

Konadu, Quartey, Agbeko, Clottey and Dogboe were all former world champions. Easily the greatest Ghanaian world titlist was Azumah Nelson. Micah dreams to join the elite cast of Ghanaian world titlists in his fight against Casimero this morning but it may turn into a nightmare.

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