RING legend Manny Pacquiao isn’t the only Filipino vying for a world championship in the biggest boxing event in Malaysia in 43 years.
Unbeaten Jhack Tepora battles Edivaldo Ortega of Mexico for the World Boxing Association featherweight crown in the main supporting bout of the WBA welterweight title showdown between Pacquiao and reigning champion Lucas Matthysse on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.
The WBA through president Gilberto Mendonza Jr. and ratings chairman Jose Oliver recently sanctioned the Tepora-Ortega 12-round bout.
Tepora is 25 years old from Cebu City and fighting out of the Omega boxing gym. A southpaw, he holds a 21-0 record with 16 knockoutss, including his last fight against Lusanda Kumanisi of South Africa held in East London nine months ago.
The 27-year-old Ortega’s record is just as impressive at 26-1-1, including 12 KOs. He faced two former world title challengers in his last two fights in Tomas Rojas and Filipino Drian Francisco, who the Mexican both defeated.
Tepora and Ortega are fighting for a world title for the very first time.
The two world title bouts featured in the ‘Fight of Champions’ are the most significant boxing events in Malaysia since the great Muhammad Ali scored a 15-round unanimous decision win over Joe Bugner to retain the world heavyweight championship on June 30, 1975.
Two other championship bouts are presented by MP Promotions as part of the fight card, including the WBA light-flyweight title match between Carlos Canizales of Venezuela and Lu Bin of China, and the 12-round encounter between South African Moruti Mthalane and Muhammad Waseem of Pakistan for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight crown.
Host Malaysia, meanwhile, will feature its best fighters in Muhammad Farkhan, Theena Thayalan, and Alman Abu Baker against counterparts from Thailand and India, respectively, in the undercards that also that also have fighters from Australia and Japan seeing action.