AJ Banal’s quest for a world title once again ended in a bitter hometown knockout loss as the Cebuano fighter fell to Thailand’s Pungluang Sor Singyu via a ninth-round technical knockout in their World Boxing Organization bantamweight title match Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Pungluang caught the fast-fading Banal with a vicious right straight, sending the Filipino down to the canvas. Banal got up, but the Thai unleashed a torrid combination that knocked Banal down again. Banal tried to get up and continue, but referee Tony Meeks waved off the fight at 1:45 of the ninth, giving Pungluang his 43rd professional win (with 28 knockouts) and his first world title.
It was another disappointing hometown loss for Banal in a world title fight following a similar stoppage loss to Rafael Concepcion in 2008 for the vacant World Boxing Council super flyweight belt in Cebu. And just like in the fight against Concepcion, Banal started out strong against Pungluang but eventually ran out of gas, allowing the former Muay Thai fighter to gradually take control of the bout and set up the TKO win in front of a stunned crowd.
The future now appears uncertain for Banal, who was once touted to be a world champion but who has failed to cash in on his two chances to capture a title belt. Manny Pacquiao's adviser Michael Knocz reportedly scouted Banal, with plans of signing him up with MP Promotions should he put on a good show, but any such plan was effectively scuttled by this shocking knockout loss.
While Banal (28-2) slumped to his second defeat, Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista slipped past Daniel Ruiz of Mexico, capturing the WBO International featherweight diadem via a split decision. Two judges scored it 116-112 and 115-1113 for Bautista, who improved to 34-2 with 25 knockouts, while the third judge had it 115-113 for Ruiz.
In the other bouts, Michael Domingo knocked out Moude Ntrambi of Uganda in the second round of a scheduled eight-rounder at 118 pounds, while Jason Pagara of Cagayan De Oro captured the WBO International light-welterweight crown with a first-round knockout of Miguel Antoine of Barbados.
Marlon Tapales of Lanao Del Norte TKOd Rasmanudin of Indonesia in the second round. The knockout was so brutal that the Indonesian had to be given oxygen after losing consciousness.
Juan Martin Elorde, grandson of the great Gabriel "Flash" Elorde, won via stoppage in the fourth round against Gerry Sismundo in a super featherweight bout scheduled for eight.