two.pinoy.fightersa.1

Denver “The Excitement” Cuello (left) in action against Ivan Meneses. Cuello won the fight via a unanimous decision.  (Photo courtesy of Aljoe Jaro)


Special to the Filipino Reporter

Two Filipino fighters traveled to Mexico and emerged victorious in separate bouts against their Mexican opponents last Saturday.

Heavy-handed Drian “Gintong Kamao” Francisco (23-1-1 and 18 KOs) knocked out Jose Carlos Vargas in the opening round of their scheduled 10-round super bantamweight (122 pounds) bout in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

The 29-year-old Francisco displayed his punching power when he dropped Vargas three times in the 1st round en route to a spectacular 1st round knockout of his opponent in a fight that was shown in the U.S. via Mexican television network TV Azteca.

Vargas survived the first two knockdowns but was counted out by the referee when he was floored for the third via a hard left hook to the head and the body from the Filipino.

Meantime, one of the Philippines’ best kept secrets in boxing — Denver “The Excitement” Cuello (32-4-6 and 21 KOs) — eked out a unanimous decision victory over Ivan Meneses despite suffering a sprained right shoulder and a nasty cut in the early rounds of the scheduled 10-round contest.

The highly-rated 105-pound fighter from Iloilo sprained his right shoulder in the 3rd round of his fight with Meneses in Morelia, Michiocan de Ocampo, also in Mexico.

The injury hindered Cuello’s movements and combinations from thereon which prevented him from winning the fight via a knockout.

Cuello also dropped Meneses in the opening round of their bout but was unable to duplicate it due to his ailing right shoulder.

To make matters worse, Cuello also suffered a cut in his right eye in the 5th round of the fight after he clashed heads with the taller Meneses.

The bleeding from the wound was controlled by his corner but it was clear that it bothered him for the remainder of the fight.

The 25-year-old Cuello, who is the No. 1 ranked contender by the World Boxing Council (WBC) in his class, used his boxing skill in the remainder of the bout which was enough for him to capture the victory in enemy territory.

He out-boxed and outscored Meneses in the latter rounds of the fight despite the handicap.

The three judges at ringside scored the bout in favor of the Filipino with scores of 98-90, 96-92 and 96-92 in a bout that was also televised in the U.S. via Fox Deportes.

With the win, Cuello is expected to fight for the WBC crown next which will be held next month in China.

He was supposed to fight for the title before this fight but former champ Kazuto Ioka of Japan vacated the title instead of facing the Filipino fighter.

The vacant title will be contested on Nov. 7 by Xiong Zhao Zhong of China and Javier Martinez Resendiz of Mexico.

The winner of the two will have to face Cuello next as his mandatory challenger.

Meantime, Francisco will remain in the U.S. to continue his training in Los Angeles in anticipation of another bout next month which can take place in the undercard of fellow Filipino Brian Viloria’s unification fight against Mexican Tyson Marquez at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Nov. 17.

Francisco is scheduled to face Julio Ceja of Mexico at the said event.

A win over Ceja can earn him a crack at a world title.


two.pinoy.fightersa.2

Drian “Gintong Kamao” Francisco in an undated photo.  (Photo by Rod Nebiar of Saved by the Bell Boxing Promotions)