Mercito Gesta (right) and Luis Arceo battle in the ring in San Francisco, California on July 18. Gesta won the fight with a seventh round technical knockout.  (Photo by Aris Duenas)


Special to the Filipino Reporter

After a non-existent 2013 and a failed title bid the year before, Mercito Gesta of Mandaue City in Cebu is slowly but steadily mounting a comeback in the ring this year.

The 26-year-old southpaw scored a dominant 7th round TKO win on July 18 over a tough Luis Arceo of Tijuana, Mexico as the main event offering of Golden Boy Promotions and TV network Fox Sports 1 at The Longshoremen’s Hall in San Francisco California.

Gesta, now a resident of San Diego, California, dictated the tempo from the opening bell and clipped Arceo with uppercuts and hooks, bloodying his opponent’s nose as early as the 2nd round and further damaging it with accurate punching in the succeeding rounds.

He produced two additional cuts in his opponent’s right eye three rounds after and Arceo’s face was bleeding profusely at the end of the 5th.

This alarmed the ring physician and officials at ringside which quickly checked on the Mexican fighter at the end of the round.

But the 35-year-old Arceo who has fought 44 times in his career, winning 28 of them, won’t make it an easy night for the Filipino.

Despite being behind in the scorecards and the lacerations in his face, he pursued Gesta and would not stop throwing punches in the 6th and 7th rounds.

But the Mexican fighter’s gallantry was no match against a slick Gesta who not only made him miss most of his punches but also received added torture from the Filipino.

After a quick neurological assessment by the ring doctor at the end of the 7th, the fight was halted upon his advice, avoiding further damage on Arceo.

Matibay ang kalaban, masyado siyang matibay” (“He is durable, he really is durable”), said Gesta of his opponent after the fight in an interview with the Filipino Reporter.

Sana okay lang siya after the fight.” (I hope he is okay after the fight.”)

Arceo, who was brought to a local hospital after the bout, was “okay” as per the show’s promoter when a member of Gesta’s team inquired about his condition.

Gesta’s success last week was his second victory this year, after a rib injury that prevented him from fighting in 2013.

After a long rest period and undergoing months of rehab, the former title challenger confirmed he is fit and healthy to continue his stalled boxing career and pursue his world title dreams.

“I am 100 percent. Kahit noong una ko pang laban nung April, healed na yun. Doktor pa ang nagsabi na mas matibay pa ito sa original. I made sure na 100 percent healed ako bago ako lumaban,” he said.

(“I am 100 percent. Even on my last fight last April, it was already healed. Even the doctor told me that this is now stronger than the original. I made sure that I am 100 percent healed before I fought.”)

This was also Gesta’s second venture outside of Top Rank Boxing which released him after he suffered his first defeat in the hands of lightweight champ Miguel Vazquez in the undercard of his superstar countryman Manny Pacquiao in December 2012 in Las Vegas.

Gesta is looking forward to more challenges and fights this year, which may or may not include another world title fight before the year ends.

“That is the plan. Hopefully it happens,” he said.

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