ALE “The Young Gun” Cali stuck to what he does best as he defended his flyweight title against Erwin Tagle Saturday night in the Pacific X-Treme Combat 34 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 21-year-old Davao City native leaned on his sensational stand-up game to pummel his comebacking opponent and score an impressive win via referee stoppage.
Referee Big John Mccarthy promptly stopped the fight prior to the start of the fourth round after seeing Tagle obviously exhausted from the numerous head and body shots he received from the confident champion.
“Dun ko lang matatalo si Erwin. Talagang nakita kong weakness `yung katawan niya, kaya nawala yung galing nung nasaktan ko sa katawan,” said Cali, who now looks forward of fighting overseas for his next title defense.
“Hindi pa ako nakapunta sa ibang bansa,” Cali revealed. “Pangarap ko talaga yun. Sana matupad, kahit sino pa maging kalaban ko.”
Cali improved his record to five wins against a lone loss, while the 34-year-old Tagle, who was quickly rushed to the hospital after the fight, suffered his third defeat against two losses and one draw.
In the co-main event, Mark Striegl scored the quickest victory of the night, forcing Harris Sarmiento to a shoulder lock submission in their 145-pound bout.
The Filipino-American Striegl remained unbeaten in 12 fights, while Sarmiento dropped his win-loss card to 35-24.
While Cali, a three-time Palarong Pambansa boxing campaigner, was superb in his standup game, he also showed marked improvement on the ground as he was able to survive the numerous submissions attempted by Tagle, a legendary mixed martial artist known for his submission expertise.
“Hindi ka tatagal sa ring kung wala kang ground game, kaya laking tulong talaga ng wrestling sa akin,” said Cali, who even flaunted some submission moves of his own.
Back from a two-year layoff, Tagle turned to his kicks in trying to take down Cali in the first two rounds of the match.
But with Cali bringing the crowd alive with his trademark showboating antics, the champion grew confident with each punch he connected, eventually taking the toll on the 34-year- old challenger.
“Ibig sabihin nun (antics) wala na gigil ko at kampante na ako,” Cali said.
One of Tagle’s students, Eugene Toquero, though, had a favorable night as he defeated fellow Filipino Jerome Wanawan via a doctor stoppage at the end of the first round after connecting on two vicious knees to the face of his opponent.