The Philippines has a world boxing champion once again after unbeaten Dave Apolinario claimed the International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight title following a crushing first-round knockout of South African champion Gideon Buthelezi on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Apolinario’s stunning victory allowed Filipinos to gain a piece of the alphabet soup of global boxing titles once again after the country’s last world champion, Mark Magsayo, lost the World Boxing Council featherweight strap to Mexico’s Rey Vargas on July 10.
A monstrous left straight from “Doberman” Apolinario sent Buthelezi crashing to the canvas, and the hometown champion was unable to beat the count, ending the fight with 10 seconds left before the end of the three-minute Round 1.
The new Filipino champ improved his perfect record to 17-0 with 12 knockouts, while Buthelezi fell to 23-6 with five KOs as he tasted defeat at the International Convention Centre in East London, South Africa.
The 23-year-old Maasim, Sarangani Province native ended the country’s three-week title drought and snapped a string of disappointments for Filipinos fighting in South Africa.
Apolinario is also the first Filipino to hold the IBO world flyweight title since 2007 when four-division world champion Nonito Donaire knocked out Vic Darchinyan in the fifth round. Donaire likewise claimed the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world flyweight belt in that fight.
The IBO is the youngest of the major boxing governing bodies that include the WBC, IBF, World Boxing Association, and World Boxing Organization.
But with his knockout victory, Apolinario joined the likes of former IBO world champions Floyd Mayweather Jr., Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, Roy Jones Jr., Marco Antonio Barrera, James Toney, and Donaire Jr.