INSPIRED by the presence of his compatriot ring icon Manny Pacquiao, Randy Petalcorin captured the World Boxing Association (WBA) interim light flyweight belt by beating Walter Tello of Panama by way of seventh round knock out at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai, China on Tuesday.
Petalcorin, who was born in General Santos, improved his fight record to 22-1-1 win-loss-draw with 16 knockouts.
Pacquiao and his upcoming opponent unbeaten American Chris Algieri were both in Shanghai to promote their November 22 title fight in Macau.
The 22-year-old Petalcorin started aggressively right after the opening bell landing three straight punches on Tello.
The southpaw also unleashed crisp counter uppercuts and left crosses on Tello (20-8-8 record with eight knockouts) in the next rounds before delivering a left upper cut and right hook to floor the Panamanian.
Tello stood up and was able to continue for a few seconds but Petalcorin knocked him out anew with a vicious counter right hook and a left cross forcing referee Raul Caiz to stop the fight.
Petalcorin is inching closer to joining Pacquiao, WBA super featherweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. and World Boxing Organization light flyweight champion Donnie Nietes in the roster of current Filipino world champions.
An interim championship is held when a champion of a particular weight division is unable to defend his belt because of medical, legal or other reasons. The two leading contenders for that weight class will dispute the title and the winner dubbed the interim world champion must face the world champion whenever the latter is ready to fight.
Before winning the interim world title, Petalcorin was ranked No. 2 by the WBA while Tello was ranked No. 6 in light flyweight class.
Petalcorin is likely to face WBA light flyweight champion Alberto Rossel of Peru (32-8 with 13 knockouts) in the next few months. JOSEF T. RAMOS