Bantamweight Saulong eyes IBF belt

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Filipino bantamweight boxer Ernesto Saulong will face International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion Ryosuke Iwasa of Japan on March 1, at the Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.

The 28-year old boxer from Santa Rosa City, Laguna said he is upbeat for his world title fight

“I need to prepare hard and do my best because we do not know when this world title opportunity will come again,” the former World Boxing Council international super bantamweight titleholder Saulong told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Sunday.

Saulong (21-2-1 win-loss-draw record with eight knockouts) arrived early January in Magallanes, Cavite to train in the camp of Joven Jimenez, the manager and trainer of IBF super flyweight world champion champion Jerwin Ancajas and Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga.


“Coach Joven told me to be more aggressive to counter my opponent’s style, added Saulong, who lost to South African Lwandile Sityatha last December 18, 2015 via unanimous decision.

After that loss, Saulong bounced back with three straight wins against Filipino opponents—Arnel Baconaje via knockout last June 24, 2016, Jestoni Autida last April 22 via unanimous decision and Michael Escobar last June 24 via unanimous decision.

Iwasa is holding a 24-2 win-loss record with 16 knockouts.

After losing to British Lee Haskins last June 13, 2016 via technical knockout for the interim IBF bantamweight belt, Iwasa won his last five bouts including a technical knockout victory against fellow Japanese Yukinori Oguni last October 13, for the IBF super bantamweight belt.

JOSEF T. RAMOS

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