‘The Doberman’ Apolinario puts PHL boxing back on world map

DAVE “THE DOBERMAN” APOLINARIO scored an impressive first-round knockout of his illustrious South African opponent on Saturday to snatch the International Boxing Organization (IBO) flyweight title and fill the vacuum left by his fellow Filipino boxers who lost their world titles one after the other.

There was neither much fanfare nor major pre-fight publicity, but Apolinario, a rising pride of Maasim in Sarangani, quietly fought in hostile territory and guaranteed his title conquest with that knockout.

Only 10 seconds were left in the first round when Apolinario knocked out three-division world champion Gideon Buthelezi, who was expected to put on a show before his fellow South Africans at the International Convention Centre in East London. He fell to a 23-6 won-loss record with five knockouts.

Now, Apolinario—who fought for the first time overseas and is now undefeated in 17 fights with 12 knockouts—wants more.

“I’m ready to fight any world titleholder if given the opportunity” he told BusinessMirror on Sunday via internet call. I’m still hungry for more world titles.”

Apolinario will fly back to in Manila on Wednesday.

“Dave made his presence felt to all other world flyweight champions after winning a first round knockout,” Sanman Promotions chief JC Mananquil said. “He’s there to get the other belts.”

The now retired former world boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire Jr. and American Floyd Mayweather Jr. once held the IBO belts in their respective divisions.

Apolinario’s triumph filled the void after Mark Magsayo yielded his World Boxing Council featherweight belt and Donaire his bantamweight title last and Rene Mark Cuarto his International Boxing Federation minimumweight crown this year.