FORMER world champion Rey “Hitman” Loreto with his supporter Naris Singwancha of Thailand in a file photo taken at the MP Highland Boxing Gym in Manila.
By LITO DELOS REYES
BACOLOD CITY (FEB. 18) – Former International Boxing Organization (IBO) world light flyweight champion Rey “Hitman” Loreto landed powerful combinations to make a total of five knockdowns before he finally pummeled to submission a hard-fighting Arnold Garde in 1:12 of Round 8 last Saturday night at the Gaisano City Mall here.
Loreto, a native of Davao City twice downed Garde with his left hooks in the opening round. He landed a vicious body shot with another left to knockdown again Garde in the second round.
In Round 3, Loreto hit Garde on the chin with a short left for his fourth knockdown. And finally in Round 4, Loreto again connected a right straight on Garde’s midsection for the knockout in 1:12.
Garde, who was carried by his own brother Rodel to their corner was immediately attended by the lady ring physician.
“Masayang masaya po ako at nanalo na naman ako. Sana tumaas na naman ang akin ranking upang maka laban na namran ako sa world title,” (I’m very happy that I won again. I hope that my rankings will go up again so that I can fight again for he world title)” said Loreto, who improved his record to 24 wins with 16 knockouts against 14 losses and no draw.
Loreto is currently ranked No. 6 in the WBA and No. 12 in WBC while Garde is OPBF No. 14 and Philippine rated no. 12 contender.
“Matibay at malakas din si Garde. Tinamaan din niya ako sa ulo at nahilo ako,” (Garde is also solid and strong. He also hit me on the head at I felt it) said Loreto.
Also present at the crowd was Loreto’s Japanese girlfriend Sakura and their 4-year old son Ran, who came all the way from Osaka, Japan to watch the fight.
Loreto received an extra cash bonus of P30,000 from boxing philanthropist Naris Singwancha of Thailand for his knockout win.
‘Ibang klase talaga si Loreto, pang world class ang lakas,” (Loreto is really different and has a world class strenght) said Garde, who suffered his 6th defeat with 8 wins, 3 knockouts and 3 draws.
Garde is a former WBC Asia Pacific light flyweight title-holder, who previously fought but lost by a 2nd round knockout against WBC International light flyweight champion Jonathan Taconing last October 15.
Meanwhile, two other fighters from Highland Boxing Gym in La Trinidad, Benguet also scored convincing wins in the undercard of the “Civil War: Champion vs. Champion” promoted by Brico Santig of Highland International Boxing Promotions and the Mayor Bing Leonardia Boxing Development Program.
Asian Boxing Federation (ABF) super bantamweight champion Ryan Lumacad landed telling blows to force Brian Diano to quit during the rest period of the 5th round.
Diano was earlier hurt by Lumacad’s sharp jabs and body shots to kneel down on his knees in Round 4.
John Michael Zuleta, a native of Bacolod but based already in Benguet, did not disappoint his hometown fans as he stopped Davao’s Ebonito Loperez via a technical knockout in 2:48 of the 6th round.
Paolo Sy, another Bacoleno settled a majority draw with Murcia’s Elmer Libo-on in their 6-rounder curtain raiser.