By Rene Bonsubre Jr – Vic Saludar relied on a solid game plan and championship poise to turn back the Robert Paradero by split decision in their clash for the vacant WBA regular world minimumweight title.
Paradero came out swinging in the opening round while Saludar preferred to engage in a chess game of box and counter. A clash of heads in the second round inflicted a cut on both boxers but did not affect their ability to fight.
Both had trouble landing more than one shot at a time early on. Paradero went for Saludar’s midsection while Saludar was more effective timing his jab and one-two combinations. Paradero’s hook shook Saludar in the fourth and his body shots made Saludar think twice in the seventh. In between, Saludar’s accuracy got him points in the scoring areas.
In the ninth and tenth, Paradero moved around more and was more effective. Saludar however, showed his edge in experience in the last two rounds. Perhaps thinking the fight was much closer, Saludar fired more of his straight punches. Paradero may have removed his foot on the gas pedal too soon.
Three Filipino judges scored the fight – Aquil Tamano 115-113 and Danrex Tapdasan 116-112 for Saludar, while Alfie Jocosol scored for Paradero,118-110.The third man in the ring was also a Filipino, Nowel Haduca.
The fight was held in a football stadium in Binan City,Laguna but was behind closed doors due to covid-19 protocols and broadcast live on facebook and youtube.
Saludar’s trainer Jojo Palacios had chat with this writer after the bout. He credits the hard training and game plan for the win.
“We allowed Paradero to attack, then counter.” Palacios said. “We expected him to be aggressive, he is hungry. But we knew we had an advantage in a long fight.
The 30 year old Saludar is now 21-4,11KO’s while the 24 year old Paradero suffered his first loss, 18-1,12KO’s.
Saludar’s history as a former WBO world mini-flyweight champion and former national amateur boxing team member was crucial in this match-up. Paradero entered the bout unbeaten but didn’t see any action abroad and was getting his first world title shot.
This was only the third all-Filipino world title bout held in the Philippines. In 1925, the legendary Pancho Villa beat Clever Sencio by 15 round unanimous decision to retain the world flyweight crown in Wallace Field in Manila. In 2019, Taduran stopped Samuel Salva in four rounds in Taguig City for the vacant IBF world minimumweight title.
Thammanoon Niyomtrong (21-0,7KO’s) of Thailand is the 105 lb. division ‘super’ champion of the WBA and a ‘unification’ with Saludar would be an intriguing match-up.