Freeman Cebu Sports

Jimmy Paypa aligns self with top ALA Gym stars

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines -  He's always been fighting under the shade of his more prominent stablemates. There was even a time when his career came tumbling down after he suffered a shock first-round knockout loss in Japan last year.

That is no longer the case now.

Armed with a renewed willpower, he made the most out of the second chance ALA had given him to rise up again, make a name for himself and eventually carve his own niche in boxing, so to speak.

Last Saturday night at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City, Jimmy "Popeye' Paypa, Jr. (18-3-1, 6KOs) formally aligned himself with the top stars of ALA Gym after he dethroned former two-time world title challenger Bernabe Concepcion (34-7-2, 20 KOs)   by split decision to emerge as the new WBO Oriental super bantamweight champion.

The 22-year-old Paypa floored Concepcion with a powerful right overhand to the head, then deftly held on his ground in the face of a courageous fightback by the defending champion for the rest of the 12-round battle on the way to eke out a well-deserved split decision triumph.

 Two judges scored the bout 114-113 and 116-111 for Paypa, while the other had it 115-112 for Concepcion, hence, the split verdict.

"It was the best performance I have ever seen in him (Paypa)," said ALA chief trainer Edito Villamor. "He showed everyone how technical a fighter he is, gracefully darting in and out, and moving around his opponent while landing punches with accuracy."

Interestingly, out of Paypa's success came a very inspiring tale.

Villamor revealed that Paypa thought of quitting boxing when he lost by a devastating first round knockout to Japanese Shingo Wake in their OPBF junior featherweight title match on February 27, 2015 at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

"He was really devastated by that defeat that he stopped boxing for several months," said Villamor. "But after a heart-to-heart talk with sir ALA, he decided to fight again knowing that everyone deserves a second chance."

Villamor was referring to Antonio "Bidoy" L. Aldeguer, the revered godfather of Cebu boxing and the genius behind ALA Promotions who is not only a mentor but also a father figure to all the pugilists under his care both in the amateur and pro ranks for over three decades now.

For Paypa, that second chance comes with greater hope for a better future.

"He comes back to the gym more determined than anybody else. He worked so hard at the gym and even doubled his efforts in all facets of training. He was really very eager to make a brand new start in his career," said Villamor.

True enough, the Magsaysay, Lanao del Norte-native Paypa returned to the ring in glorious fashion, hacking out a unanimous decision win over veteran journeyman Jason Egera on December 27 last year at the Tuburan Sports Complex in Tuburan, Cebu.

Then Paypa was ranged against Bernabe in the biggest fight of life, to which he gamely rises above the challenge.

"I'm very proud to see that all his sacrifices have finally paid off. With his all-around skills and fighting heart, I know he will go places and become a world champion someday," said Villamor.

It was a bittersweet moment though for the ALA Boys as Paypa’s stablemate Arjan Canillas (13-1-2, 10 KOs) tasted his first career loss to Roberto Gonzales (27-2, 17 KOs) of Touch Gloves Boxing by seventh round TKO in their Philippine lightweight championship bout. A swollen left eye and a bloodied mouth brought heavy damaghe on Canillas resulting to the early stoppage. (FREEMAN)

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