PH boxer Ernesto Saulong fails in bid to wrest world title from Ryosuke Iwasa
Japanese champ Ryosuke Iwasa tries to connect a jab against Filipino challenger Ernesto Saulong. Alvin Go

ERNESTO Saulong lost in his bid for a world title as he fell short against champion Ryosuke Iwasa in their International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-bantamweight title fight in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday night.

The 28-year-old Saulong dropped a unanimous decision against the Japanese title holder, who was making his first defense of his 118-lb. belt. The scores were 119-109, 120-108, and 118-110.

The camp of Saulong admitted the Filipino lost to a better fighter, although trainer Joven Jimenez was happy the way the pride of Mindoro Occidental stood his ground against the champion no matter how lopsided the decision was.

"Maganda naman ang peformance niya. Pinahirapan niya rin yung kalaban," said Jimenez in a correspondence from Japan.

"Bugbog din si Iwasa. Dugo din ang ilong," he added.

Saulong saw his record fell to 21-3 with 8 KOs as he failed in his first attempt to win a world title.

Iwasa is defending his title for the first time and raised his record to 25-2, including 16 KOs.

Saulong and his entourage is expected to be back in the country early Friday evening.

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