TWO Filipino fighters were foiled in their respective bids to become world champions just before the New Year revelry.
Vic Saludar and Warlito Parenas lost one after the other in two separate world title bouts held in Japan in the finals days of 2015.
Saludar failed to sustain a fiery start and bowed to reigning title holder Kosei Tanaka in their World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight clash in Nagoya on New Year’s eve.
The former amateur standout lost by sixth round knockout despite having the champion in trouble early on when he decked Tanaka with a straight right midway in the fifth round, as reported by Japanese promoter Joe Koizumi.
The end came for Saludar at the 2:15 mark of the sixth when he was counted out by referee Mike Ortega after a nasty body shot by the champion left the challenger writhing in pain on the canvas.
Saludar (11-2, 9 KOs) was leading in all three judges’ scorecards, 50-44, 50-44, and 49-45, when disaster struck.
It was the first title defense for the 20-year-old Tanaka, who now carries a 6-0 record, including three KOs.
Meanwhile, a day earlier in Tokyo, Parenas was stopped by WBO junior bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue in the second round of their own title match.
Inoue knocked down Parenas twice in the second round before the referee rightfully stepped in to stop the punishment at the 1:20 mark.
The unbeaten champion pulled off the impressive win despite coming off a one-year rest after suffering a dislocated right hand in his last bout against Omar Narvaez. He improved his record to 9-0, with 8 KOs.
Parenas is now 24-7-1, with 21 KOs.