PHILIPPINE boxing got off on the wrong foot for 2014 as the country loses one of its reigning world champions following the defeat of Merlito Sabillo to Mexican Francisco Rodriguez Jr. on Sunday (Manila time).
Sabillo’s reign as World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight champion came to an end as Rodriguez dethroned the Filipino following a 10th round technical knockout at the Arena Monterrey in Mexico.
Referee Eddie Claudio put an end to the 12-round fight when he waived off the champion just as Sabillo was under heavy fire on the ropes from the young Mexican challenger.
Time of stoppage was at the 1:50 mark.
It was the first pro career loss for Sabillo, dropping him to 23-1-1 overall with 12KOs.The setback left the country with Donnie `Ahas’ Nietes (WBO light-flyweight) and John Riel Casimero (International Boxing Federation junior flyweight) as the only world legitimate world champions.
The pride of Tobosa, Negros Occidental out of ALA boxing stable was caught surprise by the strong assault of Rodriguez right from the opening bell as the Mexican unleashed a flurry of punches that forced the Filipino to the corner.
Sabillo went down in round two when the 20-year-old Rodriguez caught him in the head on a long punch.
Except in the middle rounds, Sabillo didn’t really get untrack against the relentless attack of the Mexican, who was wildly cheered on by a partisan crowd.
Rodriguez improved to 14-2, with 10KOs as he won his first world title.