KUALA LUMPUR – Jhack Tepora hopes to get going the Philippines’ title campaign in the ‘Fight of Champions’ boxing card as he vies for the vacant World Boxing Association featherweight crown against tough Mexican Edivaldo Ortega.
The 12-round bout at the Axiata Arena on Sunday morning precedes the world welterweight title showdown between boxing great Manny Pacquiao and reigning champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina.
“Gagawin natin ang lahat para po manalo,” the 25-year-old Tepora humbly said on Saturday during the official weigh-in for his match against Ortega at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibit Center.
The Filipino weighed in at 125.4 lbs. while his Mexican foe came in at 125.6.
For Tepora, a native of Cebu, winning a world title is the culmination of his dream.
Shortly after his stint as a junior member of the national boxing team, Tepora decided to turn pro right away.
“Pagkatapos ng tournament namin sa Pakistan, nag pro na ako,” he recalled. “Experience ang kinuha ko (sa amateurs).”
He didn’t regret his decision.
Tepora, fighting out of the Omega boxing gym, racked up one victory after the other and will go to his first ever shot at a world title unbeaten in 21 fights, 16 of which he won by KOs. His last outing was a second round stoppage of Lusanda Komanisi in London September of last year.
But Ortega isn’t a patsy.
The Mexican sports a record of 26-1-1 with 12 KOs.
Curiously, the last fight of the 28-year-old native of Tijuana was a unanimous decision win over a Filipino in Drian Francisco.
The Tepora-Ortega bout is one of four world titles fights in the boxing card being promoted by MP Promotions and Golden Boy.
Former world champion Moruti Mthalane tries to regain his International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight belt against Muhammad Waseem of Pakistan, and reigning WBA light-flyweight title holder Carlos Canizales of Mexico staking his crown against upstart Lu Bin of China.