September 30, 2023


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GAB Chairman Baham Mitra raises the hand of the newly crowned WBC Asia Silver featherweight champ Arnel Baconaje

GAB Chairman Baham Mitra raises the hand of the newly crowned WBC Asia Silver featherweight champ Arnel Baconaje


By Tonton Alcos Antogop


He climbed the ring unbeaten but with the World Boxing Council (WBC) Asia Silver Featherweight title on the line, Tomjone “Wardog” Mangubat stumbled.

Mangubat was hit by a jarring right overhand to the chin of Ilongo pride Arnel Baconaje in the 1:37 of the 8th dropping him to the canvass amid the boisterous pro-Mangubat crowd who trooped to the Parkmall Piazza Rotunda in Mandaue City Friday night.

The Manolo Fortich Bukidnon kid failed to beat the count of referee Romar Kristoffer Embodo that halted the bout supervised by no less than Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Ambraham Khalil “Baham” Mitra.

Mangubat (10-1-1, 9KOs) was hyped to win the fight promoted by Omega Pro-Sports International (OPSI) and Omega Boxing Club but living to his billing, he was silenced by Arnel “Silencer” Baconaje of San Rafael, Iloilo (11-3-0, 9KO’s).

Mangubat who cried to his corner after the bout was leading on points in the first four rounds but Baconaje who had the former Freddie Roach understudy Marvin Somodio as his chief cornerman timely recovered for the Technical Knock-Out (TKO) win.

Baconaje who is also the reigning Philippine Boxing Federation (PBF) super bantamweight champion honed his skills prior to the fight as sparmate of WBC super flyweight champion Saket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand.

OPSI executive Jerome Calatrava said however that Mangubat will still be given future good fights as the loss is just temporary for the promising boxer who surprisingly has not entered into the rankings of the top 10 featherweights in the country prior to the fight despite his earlier successive wins.

In the box.rec website, the 21-year-old Mangubat is ranked No. 18 among the 84 featherweights in the Philippines. “It’s back to the drawing board for us,” Calatrava told Mitra for his part said that Mangubat is still young and could still be trained to further improve his repertoire. “He is still young and good. He can always comeback,” Mitra in a separate interview told

Somodio who collaborated with Warren Jaro fought a phonebooth boxing with Mangubat by trying to be closed always to the younger boxer. They were confident enough of the strength of Baconaje, 25, who according to Somodio added power to his fists because of his five months training with Rungvisai.

“His boxing power really became stronger with Rungvisai that is why I told him to engage always,” Somodio said. What became the consolation though for OPSI and Omega Boxing Club were the good words of Mitra for Mark “Thunder” Vicelles (10-0-1, 5KOs) who won through a Technical Decision (TD) after five rounds against Robert Onggocan (14-5, 7KO’s) after an accidental headbutt for the Visayas Professional Boxing Association (VISPROBA) light flyweight championship.

The fight was stopped in the 5th round after ring physician Dr. Jose Unabia examined the extent of the cut in the right eyebrow of the Lebak, Sultan Kudarat southpaw. The cut was the result of the clashing of heads in the 3rd which was again checked by Unabia in the 4th before recommending to Judge Nic Banal to stop the fight in the 5th after his third check-up.

Under GAB rules, a fighter who is ahead on points after four rounds of a halted fight wins. “That Vicelles is very promising. He will be the next big name in boxing,” Mitra told Calatrava as they sat beside each other in a dinner which Mitra hosted after the fight along with the local boxing officials led by International Boxing Judge Arnie Najera.

Najera is the newly elected President of the Professional Boxing Officials of Cebu (PBOC). Mitra assured Calatrava that Vicelles will be rank by GAB as among the top 15 light flyweights. The boxing promotion dubbed “Kumbati 2” was also supervised by GAB Cebu boxing chief Rolando Mendoza and GAB-Central Visayas head Arlene Olondriz.

In another Visproba title bout, Omega’s Ponciano Remandiman (10-4-1, 5 KOs) won over Rowel Rosia (14-8-1, 7 KOs) over eight-rounds for the VISPROBA super flyweight belt. Five pairs of amateur stand-outs started the event hosted by popular Visayas-Mindanao boxing and basketball announcer Sandi Geronimo Grumo. Judges for the Mangubat-Baconaje bout were Cebu based Panamian Carlos Costa, Arnel Pasion and Edgar Olalo.


Referee Nic Banal raises the hand of VISPROBA light flyweight champion Mark “Thunder” Vicelles

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