Last week, I chanced upon a video in Youtube showing Filipino boxer Jack Tepora registering a vicious knockout over former International Boxing Organization (IBO) featherweight (126 pounds) world champion Lusanda Komanisi of South Africa, demonstrating that he can be the heir apparent to Manny Pacquiao or Nonito Donaire Jr.
The knockout was so vicious that Komanisi was lifted both off his feet and landed on the canvass almost unconscious. And Komanisi was no patsy or tomato can, because he is coming off a 10-fight winning streak of which nine were by stoppage or knockout. A right hook from the Filipino southpaw finished matters in the second round of their fight staged in South Africa.
With a record of 21-0 with 16 KOs, Tepora does have the potential to win a world championship at featherweight (126 pounds). Komanisi is now 24-4 with 18 KOs, which is no tomato can’s record.
The promoters who put together the Tepora-Komanisi fight must have thought the Filipino would be a good stepping stone for the South African to get a world title fight, but it went the other way around; Tepora disposed of Komanisi with relative ease to send a message to the boxing world that he has the potential to become a world champion. The Filipino collared the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) Intercontinental featherweight title from the fight.
However, not much hype followed Tepora’s win, which I think is good because ballyhooing the Filipino’s win might prompt his camp to rush him into a title fight rather prematurely.
Also, Mark Magsayo, another Filipino featherweight with a knockout streak of his own, is campaigning at featherweight. Now the question is —will Jack end up hitting Mark in a title or non-title fight? Magsayo, the WBO International featherweight champion, has a record of 17-0 with 13 KOs but, unlike Tepora, has not yet battled a former world champion like Komanisi.
Tepora, 24, and Magsayo, 22, getting into the ring to fight each other, will be a very interesting since it is still taboo among top Filipino fighters to slug it out. In Mexico, fight fans delight in watching their compatriots maul each other in the ring.
So maybe, let us also forget about Tepora and Magsayo fighting Donaire (38-4 with 24 KOs) who is now campaigning at featherweight, because there is so much talent in the division that the three of them can take on.
The current world titleholders at featherweight are: Leo Santa Cruz, the World Boxing Association (WBA) champion (33-1-1 with 18 KOs); Gary Russell Jr., World Boxing Council champion (28-1 with 17 KOs); Lee Selby, IBO champion (25-1 with 9 KOs); and Oscar Valdez, WBO titleholder (23-0 with 19 KOs). All are ranked by The Ring for the division.
So forget about Jack hitting Mark; it’s better for the two of them to take on the fighters who hold world titles at featherweight. As for Donaire, he still has a chance for a last hoorah at featherweight, but it is also unthinkable for him to face Teporah or Magsayo. Or both.