Merlito Sabillo loses WBO title via TKO in Mexico

Carlo Pamintuan
Merlito Sabillo (boxing). Even if Philippine boxing did not have the best of years in 2013, some fighters still managed to gain more popularity. Sabillo, the 29-year-old fighter representing the ALA Boxing stable, won the interim WBO minimumweight title in March against Luis De La Rosa. He scored an eight round technical knockout in his opponent’s hometown. Sabillo transformed his interim title into the regular championship as he defeated Jorle Estrada in Manila four months later. He didn’t end the year with a bang as he settled for a draw against Carlos Buitrago but he managed keep both his undefeated streak and his title heading into 2014.

The Philippines now has only two boxing world champions as one champion fell again.

Merlito Sabillo failed to defend his WBO minimumweight title in Mexico as he lost via tenth round technical knockout against Francisco Rodriguez.

Sabillo suffered a terrible beating at the hands of the hungry Mexican. He was dropped and cut and lost most if not all of the rounds in the title fight. The referee rescued Sabillo from further punishment as he called a halt to the bout in at the 1:50 mark of the tenth round.

Rodriguez had an auspicious start to his world title opportunity as he inflicted a cut on Sabillo after landing a big punch. The Mexican parlayed this success by flooring Sabillo twice in the second round to the delight of the Mexican crowd.

The defending champion showed resolve as he tried to stave off the challenger’s attacks. Sabillo tried to box Rodriguez but his defense was not good enough to keep the Mexican away. Rodriguez peppered the Filipino throughout the fight with an unending stream of power punches until the referee stopped the fight.

This was Sabillo’s second defense of the title he claimed back in July with a knockout win over Jorle Estrada.

Currently, the Philippines only has two world champions in boxing. Donnie Nietes holds the WBO light flyweight title while John Riel Casimero is the IBF’s champion in the same weight category.

The new WBO minimumweight champion now holds a record of 15 wins against two losses with 10 knockouts. Sabillo on the other hand suffers the first loss of his career in 25 fights with one draw.

Sabillo was coming off a poor performance in Manila as he settled for a draw against Carlos Buitrago back in November. His team thought that fighting outside the country would relive some of the pressure off his shoulders but their decision turned out to be a really bad one as Sabillo fell for the trap that Rodriguez set.