In what should go down as one of the most dramatic knockout victories scored by a Filipino fighter on hostile ground, Marlon Tapales stopped Pungluang Sor Singyu in the 11th round of their World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight title match Wednesday at the Ayutthaya City Park.
Tapales, making his first shot at a world crown, sent Sor Singyu down for the count with a left straight that was preceded by body blows, prompting Puerto Rican referee to halt the carnage just one minute into the 11th.
Down twice in the fifth round after absorbing vicious body shots from Sor Singyu, the 24-year-old Tapales sprang back to life in the next frame by flooring his Thai rival with a right hook to the head as the small but boisterous crowd turned mute.
Tapales couldn’t find the right combo to finish off the 26-year-old Sor Singyu, taking him five extra rounds to get the job done in style.
The tide turned in the tenth when Sor Singyu suddenly became gun-shy, opting to circle the ring to avoid Tapales’ two-fisted assault that consisted of hooks to the body and jarring head shots.
As it turned out, Sor Singyu had been complaining of extreme pain on the left part of his jaw after Tapales had struck him badly in the ninth with his money shot – the right hook.
Tapales, however, admitted that he felt lucky that the third man on the ring didn’t pull the plug.
“Akala ko talaga tapos na ako (I thought I was finished),” said Tapales, who earned $37,000 in raising his win-loss-draw record to 29-2 with 12 KOs.
Tapales grimaced in pain during the knockdowns but he gave Sor Singyu a dose of his own medicine by hurting him as well with shots to the Thai’s ribcage.
The loss dropped Sor Singyu’s mark to 52-4 and his defeat to Tapales was his first to a Filipino puncher, making him realize one of his main targets going into the scheduled 12-rounder.
Tapales started strong by winning the first three rounds but Sor Singyu slowly got into the game en route to his huge fifth round.
Wakee Salud, Tapales’ manager, was simply overjoyed by the turn of events.
“I thought it was all over for us but I knew that Marlon has the heart and he didn’t give up,” said Salud, who had also produced three world champions in Dodie Boy and Gerry Penalosa and Malcolm Tunacao.
Tapales will leave Bangkok on Thursday morning and is expected to arrive in Manila at 2 p.m. But the new champion will proceed to Cebu City and will be in the Queen City by 5 pm unless there are flight delays.
Courtesy of Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSpeaks