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Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter

Filipino fan favorite Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista avenged his prior loss to Mexico’s Heriberto Ruiz with a technical decision win at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Cebu City, Philippines this past Saturday.

The scores were 69-65 and 68-65 twice, all for Bautista.

With the victory, the 24-year-old native of Bohol who now resides in Cebu picks up the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Intercontinental featherweight title and improves his record to 31-2 (23 KO).

Ruiz, aged 33, is now 46-11-2 (28 KO).

Just as in their first meeting in 2008, Bautista suffered a number of cuts due to headbutts that ultimately ended the contest prematurely at the :56 second mark of the seventh round.

Neither man was down, but both were stunned on several occasions.

Despite the abbreviated bout, head trainer Edito “Ala” Villamor was impressed with Bautista’s performance.

“I give him an 8.5 to 9 rating,” Villamor told the Filipino Reporter.

“He followed our game plan to no be too aggressive for the first three rounds.

“The difference in this fight is that he is more focused now compared to the first one and he has matured. He is more relaxed in the ring.”

Bautista suffered cuts to both eyes — the left eye’s cut was 5 cm long, while the right eye lid sustained a 2 cm cut.

Villamor said that Bautista is now ready to re-emerge onto the world stage, and that a top 15 ranking with the IBF at 126 pounds may follow shortly.

As far as Bautista avenging his only other loss — a first round knockout defeat to former 122-pound champion Daniel Ponce De Leon in 2007 on his only showcase on HBO — Villamor said not just yet.

“I think he is ready for a rematch, but we have to consider how ready [Boom Boom] is and how mentally prepared he is. But for our team, two or three big fights before the rematch of Ponce De Leon [sounds good].”

Also on the card, rising contender Edrin Dapudong (22-3, 13 KO) of North Cotabato, Philippines won his second straight fight since dropping the World Boxing Council (WBC) silver flyweight title with a fourth-round technical knockout (TKO) of Benja Loemoli (11-2, 7 KO).

The time of the stoppage was :20 seconds.

Eighteen-year-old junior-welterweight prospect Jason Pagara of Cebu City moved his record to 27-1 (16 KO) with a fourth round TKO of Juan Carlos Gallegos (16-5).

***

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News and the Filipino Reporter newspaper in New York City.

He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com

Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ryansongalia

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