Carlo Peñalosa failed in his bid to claim the International Boxing Organization flyweight title as he lost to Mexico's Maximino Flores via split technical decision Sunday afternoon at the TV5 Studio in Novaliches, Quezon City when the fight was prematurely halted in the eighth round due to a cut suffered by the Filipino fighter.
Flores started the match knowing that he would need to stake his claim to the title early as he's in enemy territory. He unleashed a flurry of boxy punches after catching Peñalosa on the ropes.
The Filipino fighter also landed his fair share of scoring blows but he was outworked in the first couple of rounds. Peñalosa landed sneaky left straights as Flores was coming in but these did not appear to bother the Mexican visitor.
As Flores kept on moving forward and with the match also being one between an orthodox and a southpaw fighter, there was an accidental clash of heads that opened a cut on the left brow of Peñalosa in the third round. Blood immediately poured out of the eye with the doctor quickly determining the Filipino was ready to continue.
Fans in the venue hoped that this would force Peñalosa to fight with a sense of desperation but it did not happen as Flores continued to smother his younger opponent by putting his head down, moving forward, and throwing heavy leather as he did not have a lot of respect for Peñalosa's power.
There was confusion at the end of sixth round as it was initially thought that the fight has already been stopped. Referee Garry Dean, in an unusual move, asked for the microphone to explain that the IBO rules dictate that fights stopped due to an accidental head-butt will lead to a stoppage with the result being determined by the scorecards.
However, the ringside physician insisted that he never officially stopped the fight. The big difference was that if the fight was stopped by Peñalosa's corner, it would have led to a technical knockout victory for Flores.
The doctor later on deemed that Peñalosa could continue, which led to the resumption of the fight, much to the chagrin of the Mexican's corner. Flores' corner initially refused to allow the fighter to continue but later on relented.
The two fought for one more round before the doctor officially called a halt to the bout before the start of the eighth round as the cut on Peñalosa's brow worsened.
Judge Adam Hyte from Australia scored the bout 67-66 for Flores, Kevin Pyne from New Zealand had it 67-66 for Peñalosa, and Jerold Tomeldan from the Philippines had it 68-65 also for Flores will take the title home to Mexico.
Peñalosa's record dropped to 14 wins against two losses while Flores now has 25 wins against four defeats.
It was another frustrating result for the Peñalosa family as Dave Penalosa is also coming off a loss via unanimous decision to Lerato Dlamini in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia last month.
Abne decisions Sumalpong
In the other bouts, April Jay Abne of the Wild Boxing Gym picked up the UBS championship in the flyweight division with a majority decision victory against Ronel Sumalpong. After eight hard-fought rounds, judges had it 76-76, 78-74, and 80-72.
Abne showed that he was the better tactical fighter as he landed the cleaner blows throughout the match. He landed crisp right straights all fight long. Even though one of the judges saw it as a draw, he was clearly the better fighter in the match.
"I watched his fights and I really studied him," Abne said. "He's strong and he didn't seem affected by my punches. I though I was hitting him with strong punches but he had no reaction but I really worked hard for the fight and I knew the right straight will be an effective weapon against him."
Sarcon gets majority decision over Pelesio
The UBS bantamweight champion was also crowned in the fight card as Lienard Sarcon defeated Aljum Pelesio via majority decision in their eight-round tussle. One judge scored in 76-all but he was overruled by the other judges who scored it 78-74 and 77-75 for Sarcon.
Sarcon, as the taller fighter, did his best to keep Pelesio at bay with jabs and straights. He picked his spots and did a lot of damage against his opponent who charged into him tirelessly.
Although Sarcon was the best talent in the bantamweight division from the start, his stint was not smooth-sailing. During his journey, he got reacquainted with his estranged mother who did not support his venture into boxing. However, in the end, sensing that it was Sarcon's dream, his mother was at ringside, cheering for him as he lifted his UBS trophy.
In the undercard, Ken Jordan claimed the Asian Boxing Federation super bantamweight title as he scored a knockout victory against Macrea Gandiongco.