Filipino pug Aston Francis Palicte had a memorable debut fight in the United States after winning two regional super flyweight titles via split decision over previously unbeaten American Oscar Cantu on Sunday at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Palicte, 25, punished Cantu with rapid punches for the duration of the fight but one judge gave Cantu a favorable 96-94. The other two judges favored Palicte, 98-92 and 96-94. The victory allowed Palicte to bring home the vacant World Boxing Organization intercontinental super flyweight title and the vacant North American Boxing Federation super flyweight belt.
“It was a very beautiful fight,” Palicte, who improved his win-loss record to 22-2 with 18 knockouts, told The Manila Times via overseas call. “His style is amateur but I got him in the first round since he’s only using one style.”
“I hit him hard and he was groggy, but he stood up many times. He’s durable too and quick. I was able to catch him through my timing. I was hit by a head-butt but I’m just fine and I didn’t suffer any injury.”
Palicte, who is managed by Jason Soong, caught the American with a right cross in the opening round. Cantu, 25, wobbled but survived by refusing to engage Palicte in the next rounds.
But the Filipino caught Cantu (14-1 record with one knockout) again in the sixth and eighth round with crisp punches. Palicte, who is under the promotion of American boxing legend Roy Jones Jr., is now eyeing a world title shot.
“This is supposed to be my second fight in the US but my first fight in May 2015 didn’t push through because I arrived late. I’m supposed to fight in one of the undercard matches of the Pacquiao-Mayweather bout. Right now, I’m looking for a world title fight. I’m ready now. I hope to get it next year,” said Palicte.
JOSEF T. RAMOS