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Onggocan retains IBF youth belt, TKOs Pantilgan in Calamba

PRODIGAL SON. After stopping Marjun Pantilgan, Robert Onggocan will return to Zamboanga del Norte to buy his father a tricycle. Photo by Ryan Songalia/Rappler

CALAMBA CITY, Philippines – Robert Onggocan made a successful homecoming to the Philippines, stopping Marjun Pantilgan after the ninth round to retain the IBF youth flyweight title in Calamba City, Laguna, Philippines on Friday, June 23.

Onggocan (9-1, 5 KOs) of Dapitan City became the first to ever stop the hard-punching Pantilgan (14-5, 11 KOs) of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, after a steady body punching attack in the ninth convinced Pantilgan to not come out for the tenth and final round.

The fights were the highlight of the penultimate night of the Buhayani Festival and will be shown on Rappler in the coming days.

The 21-year-old Onggocan was fighting for the first time since his biggest victory, a seventh-round technical knockout of Iwan Zoda in Indonesia to win the belt. He trains out of the nearby Olivetti Boxing Gym in Biñan City and had the local fans on their feet with his flashy southpaw combinations which kept Pantilgan, 22, off balance.

Standing atop the corner post in prayer after the victory, Onggocan had come a long way from just 4 years ago, when he was kicked out of his house in Zamboanga del Norte by his father after a fight over money shortly after graduating high school. After watching a YouTube video of Manny Pacquiao’s win over Miguel Cotto, Onggocan decided he’d become a boxer.

VICTORIOUS. Robert Onggocan survived tense moments in the middle rounds to stop Marjun Pantilgan. Photo by Ryan Songalia/Rappler

He took a bus to Dipolog City and slept on the street before walking into the boxing gym the next morning and trying out for the gym. Onggocan turned professional two years ago and has won his last 5 fights.

He’ll return home with the belt and will buy his father Ronnie, a part-time construction worker, a tricycle worth P45,000 so his father can earn an easier living.

Dino Olivetti, who trains Onggocan and promoted the show, says he intends to move his career slowly, but would be open to challenging newly-crowned OPBF flyweight titleholder Keisuke Nakayama.

In other results, Warren Mambuanag (11-7-2, 3 KOs) scored a minor upset, knocking down Venson Delopere (5-2-3, 2 KOs) in the third round to send him to a second straight unanimous decision defeat in their 10-round junior featherweight fight.

Mark Rey Taday (8-2, 4 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Vincent Bautista (5-8-4, 1 KO) in their 10-round junior flyweight fight. Taday has now won his last 3 fights, including an upset over the 7-0 Carlo Caesar Penalosa in February.

A 6-round fight featuring the boxing return of former IBF flyweight titleholder Amnat Ruenroeng was originally slated for the card but was canceled earlier in the week, with the promoter citing an unspecified injury. –