Astrolabio Astrolabio and his coach, Nonoy Neri, celebrate. Photo from Astrolabio’s Facebook page.

Well done, Champ

February 27, 2022 Ed Andaya 1125 views

THE Philippines’ Vincent “Asero” Astrolabio is the country’s newest boxing champion.

Astrolabio knocked down two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo “The Jackal” Rigondeaux of Cuba in the eighth round to capture the World Boxing Council (WBC) international bantamweight title by unanimous decision at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.

The 24-year-old Filipino champion from General Santos City sent Rigondeaux to the floor with a right straight in the eighth round and kept the Cuban hero at bay the rest of the way to earn the nod of all three judges in the 10-round title fight held at a makeshift open-air arena.

Rigondeaux managed to beat the count, but failed to make any headway in the final two rounds against the unheralded Filipino fighter.

Veteran juges Rey Danseco of the Philippines, Gary Kitanoski of Britain and Bela Florian of Hungary all scored it 95-94 in favor of Astrolabio.

The fight was close from the opening bell with the two fighters from boxing-crazy nations winning five rounds each in the three judges’ scorecards.

Rigondeaux, the 41-year-old Cuban fighter with a long list of victories in prizefighting, tried to sway the judges by finishing strong and winning the last two rounds.

However, Astrolabio’s 10-8 score in the eventful eighth round was enough to make the difference.

Although he failed to knock out his older and more-experienced opponent in the early rounds as he predicted during his appearance at the “Sports On Air” forum a day before his departure for Dubai, Astrolabio was visibly a happy and satisfied man.

Fighting for the vaunted MP Promotions of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and veteran coach-trainer Nonoy Neri, Astrolabio raised his record to 17 wins against three losses.

The win also extended his winning streak to five.

For Rigondeaux, it was another sad day of boxing.

It was only the third loss in 23 professional fights for Rigondeaux, who once held the unified WBA (Super), WBO and Ring magazine super bantamweight titles between 2013 and 2017, and the WBA (Regular) bantamweight title from 2020 to 2021.

A seven-time Cuban national bantamweight champion from 2000-2006, Rigondeaux also lost by split decision to another Filipino, John Riel Casimero in Carlson, California for the WBO title last Aug. 14, 2022.

Against the younger and more- aggressive Astrolabio, Rigondeaux was knocked down for only the second time in his pro career. He was also floored by Hisashi Amagasa of Japan twice in the seventh round of their 2014 brawl in Osaka, which the Cuban won.

Rigondeaux’s last victory was a 12-round split decision over Liborio Solis in February, 2020.

It was not an all-Filipino triumph, however.

Mark John Yap lost to Cuban sensation Jadiel Herrera by unanimous decision, 97-92, 98-91, 99-91.

Yap also scored a knockdown in the eighth round, but it was not enough to reverse the outcome.

Herrera improved to 6-0 with five knockouts.

Yap, on the other hand, dropped to 30-16.