Loreto defies odds, pockets IBO title

A few boxing pundits had advised Rey Loreto to quit boxing halfway through his ring career, when his record losses had already surpassed his number of victories.

But the sturdy Davaoeano never thought of hanging his gloves and plodded on, winning nine of his 11 fights which earned him a world title fight on Saturday night in Monaco.

Even his trip to Monaco for a shot at a world title was scoffed at by some quarters, citing the inferiority of his ring records against an opponent from South Africa who was a former champion.

But Loreto shrugged it all off and allowed his fists do the talking.

Nicknamed “The Hitman” for his heavy hands and aggressive style, Loreto came out with a dominant performance capped by a whopping single punch that lay claim for him the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) light flyweight belt at the Sal Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo.

The 23-year-old’s aggressive style proved too much for Joyi, a former Minimumweight world title holder, and controlled two rounds of their championship match-up in the event dubbed the Monter Carlo Boxing Bonanza.

The two southpaws battled it out in the first few minutes of the fight until Loreto caught Joyi with right and left combinations near the end of the second, rocking the South African, who was saved by the bell.

But Joji was never the same after that as Loreto, who clearly had his opponent’s number, pressed the attack repetitively in the third round.

Eventually, he caught Joyi with a wicked left hook, shutting the lights out of his South African counterpart.

Brico Santig (left), Loreto's manager with another Filipino boxer

Brico Santig (left), Loreto’s manager with another Filipino boxer

The end came in the 0:49 mark of the third when Loreto caught Joyi with a wicked hook to the jaw, shutting the lights out of the South African. The referee needed not to count as Joyi laid still on the canvas for a few minutes while Team Loreto was celebrating the job well done.

And the Filipino crowd witnessed a new Filipino world champion.

“Panalo tayo. We have a new Filipino world championi,” Loreto’s manager Brico Santig informed Fight Sport Asia of the good news through Facebook’s private message.

“He was against a very experience fighter but his dreams are bigger than his fears. We are so very happy. It’s a dream come true for Loreto,” Brico added in praising his 23-year-old ward whose fight record improved to 18 wins, 10 coming by way of knockout, and 13 losses.

“My perseverance has paid off. I knew I will deliver a new world champion for the Philippines,”said Brico, the 2013 WBC Asia-Pacific Promoter of the year, who had gone abroad three times in the last two months, bringing with him Filipino fighters to fight for the big time.“This time we hit paydirt.”

Brico trained Loreto at his Highlands Boxing gym in Benguet and was hardened by rough battles in Thailand where he counted among his victims former champ Pornsawan Porpramook.

“Loreto is a serious and disciplined fighter, I knew someday he will make it big.”

Check out the full fight video below:

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Categories: Boxing, Philippines

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