3 Pinoys Prop Up Angelo Leo En Route to WBO 122 Lbs Title
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Thu, 06 Aug 2020
Leo (R) in action against Williams.
Without them meaning to, three Pinoy fighters propped and prepped up American Angel Miguel Leo en route to his winning the vacant WBO super bantamweight/junior featherweight title recently.
Born May 15, 1994, Angelo Leo is an American fighter who now holds the WBO super bantamweight since August 1, 2020. At regional level he had held the WBO-NABO junior featherweight title from December 2019. As of July 2020, he is ranked as the world's ninth best active junior featherweight by BoxRec and tenth by The Ring.
The tall and rangy Albuquerque, New Mexico born fighter won the WBO 122 lbs crown vacated by Emmanuel Navarette by easy 12 round unanimous decision over late substitute Tramaine Williams in their main event behind closed doors fight held at the Mohegan Sun, Uncastle, Connecticut.
Also known as El Chinito for his chinky eyes, Leo was supposed to meet fellow American Stephen Fulton for the title but Fulton tested positive of coronavirus and had to be replaced by the also rated and then still unbeaten Williams (19-0, 6 Kos).
Leo easily dealt with Williams utilizing his height and reach advantage and busier work rate to notch his 20th career victory, 9 by KO with the judges scoring the fight, 117-111 and 118-110 2x in his favor.
It can be said that Leo's rise to the world championship is sort of phenomenal having started fighting ten rounders only last year despite being an undefeated pro since late 2012.
Leo debuted in the ten rounders versus Filipino fringe contender John Neil Tabanao in April 2019 and won by unanimous decision. Incidentally, Tramaine Williams also fought the same Tabanao later and also won by unanimous points verdict.
Earlier, one of his last bouts as an eight rounder in October 2018, Leo made a sensation by scoring a first round knockout over another Filipino journeyman warrior Glenn Porras. Porras was coming off a bout January of same year, against Emmanuel Navarette and lost by 2nd round TKO.
In his second ten rounder in June 2019, Leo met yet another Filipino, former OPBF bantamweight champion Mark John Yap and also won pulling away on points via unanimous decision. In late 2018 Yap fought Takuma Inoue, Naoya's younger brother, in a WBC bantamweight title eliminator and lost on points.
Leo then proceeded to face many time world title challenger Cesar Juarez on December 28, 2019 for the WBO NABO regional title and in what was virtually a WBO super bantamweight title eliminator and won by 11th round technical knockout to install himself as mandatory challenger to Navarette.
In one of his most stirring career victories, Leo faced Juarez at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia and dropped his opponent to the canvas twice in round six before scoring a third knockdown in the eleventh. Juarez beat referee Jim Korb's count only for Korb to call off the contest in order to save him from further punishment, awarding Leo the WBO regional title via eleventh-round technical knockout (TKO).
Pinoy fighters, three of them, two in succession essentially became Leo's stepping stones in his quest for the world title.
And that has happened before as in the case of Tank Davis (Recky Dulay) and happening now as in the case of Ryan Garcia (Romero Duno) and even ex lightweight champion Jorge Linares who made his comeback following a win over a Pinoy Al Toyogon in Japan late last year.
Let us hope that such fate does not befall our rising Filipino and Fil-Am fighters plying the US circuit as Reymart Gaballo and John Leo Dato.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.
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