By Carlos Costa
PANAMA CITY, Panama — WBO Minimumweight World Champion Wilfredo “Bimbito” Mendez of Puerto Rico stopped veteran Colombian challenger Gabriel Mendoza in ten chapters for a successful second defense of his 105 world title today at the Hotel El Panama in Panama City, Panama. Official time for the TKO was 1:28 seconds in round 10.
Faster and more crafty, the 23-year-old “Bimbito” Mendez (16-1, 6 KO’s) made perfect use of his superior boxing skills to outclass the rather disorganized, head-first Mendoza (30-7-2, 23 KO’s), who lacked weapons of quality to counter the accurate display of good boxing delivered by the younger, more talented Puerto Rican fighter, Puerto Rico’s one and only current male boxing world champion today.
The speedster southpaw Mendez — who prior to the stoppage was clearly outclassing Mendoza in every single round — shared during Panama’s COS TV post-fight interview that his next WBO world title defense will be against Chinese WBO International Minimumweight # 1 mandatory challenger Jing Xiang (17-4-2, 3 KO’s).
The Mendez vs Xiang rumble was being planned to take place in China. However, due to the Wuhan Coronavirus situation, the prospect of Wilfredo Mendez traveling to China for a title defense there is now off the table.
So the 105 lbs mandatory defense against Jiang Xiang might take place in Puerto Rico, Panama or somewhere else.
Filipino 105-pound fighters in the WBO world-rankings are:
In attendance during the rumble at Hotel El Panama was WBO President Paco Varcarcel, WBO Vice president Rolando Marcos-Hermoso as well as Panama boxing legend “Hands of Stone” Roberto Duran.
WBO # 2 is former world champ “Vicious” Vic Saludar (20-4, 11 KO’s), WBO # 3 unbeaten Robert Paradero (18-0, 12 KO’s) of Bukidnon, WBO # 6 Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9 KO’s) of Cebu’s ALA Gym, and WBO # 9 Zamboangueño Rene Mark Cuarto (18-2-2, 11 KO’s).
MORE RESULTS FROM PANAMA
In a regional WBO title battle, tough Mexican 122-pounder “El Potro” Jose Martin Estrada Garcia (11-2-1, 5 KO’s) defeated Puerto Rican Luis Lebron (17-2-1, 10 KO’s) to claim the vacant WBO Latino Super Bantamweight Title.
Also, in a collision of undefeated warriors, unbeaten Panamanian bantamweight Orlando Peñalba
(10-0, 2 KO’s) bested 23-year-old Keiver Fernandez (20-1-1, 12 KO’s) of
Maracay, Venezuela, to conquer the vacant WBO Latino 118-pound strap
and a place in the WBO world ranking.
And in flyweights, hard-swinging Costa Rica slugger David Jimenez (7-0, 6 KO’s) was forced to go the distance by experienced Dominican Republic veteran Jonathan Arias (17-16, 15 KO’s).
The exciting card — billed as “Torneo de Campeones OMB” (Tournament of Champions WBO) — was a production of Panama promoter Diego Victoria of G & V Entertainment and Puerto Rico’s Spartan Boxing in association with PR Best Boxing.
The author Carlos Costa of Panama is a veteran boxing reporter living in the Philippines. Carlos can be reached at email@example.com and whatsapp +639184538152.