Ahead of IBF eliminator, Dasmariñas lets go of IBO belt

Now without a championship belt, Michael Dasmariñas, right, can now focus more keenly on the IBF title. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—Michael Dasmariñas is a world boxing champion no more... at least for now.

The Valenzuela-based boxer confirmed to Dugout Philippines on Friday that he had to let go of the International Boxing Organization bantamweight championship last December ahead of a title eliminator for the International Boxing Federation belt.

"Pinapili ako kung ano ang gusto kong labanan, kung IBF or yung IBO. Pinili namin yung IBF," Dasmariñas said.

In another interview with Dugout Philippines, Scott O'Farrell of Ringstar Asia, Dasmariñas' promoter, said that his camp still tried to let him have the IBO title while vying for the IBF belt, but the IBO decided otherwise.

"There's nothing we can do about it. The decision has been made," O'Farrell said.

On April 20, Dasmariñas defeated Karim Guerfi at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for the IBO bantamweight championship.

However, he did not defend his belt when he fought again on Sept. 29 against Manyo Plange also in Singapore.

Dasmariñas escaped with a draw in his 10-rounder against Plange, the first time he failed to win since losing to Lwandile Sityatha on Dec. 13, 2014 in London for the IBO super flyweight belt.

Had he kept the IBO belt and defeated Kenny Demecillo in the IBF eliminator on Saturday night at Resorts World Manila, Dasmariñas' bout against the winner of the May 18 fight between Emmanuel Rodriguez and Naoya Inoue would have been for three belts as Rodriguez holds the IBF belt and Inoue has the World Boxing Association regular bantamweight belt.

"Nanghihinayang ako, pero kung ano ang ipagkaloob sa atin ng Panginoon, yun na lang po," Dasmariñas further said.

But with the IBO belt gone, he now has less pressure to carry and a better focus at the prize when he and Demecillo meet the night after.

"Maganda po itong opportunity kasi once na manalo ako dito, marami pong opportunity na magbubukas sa akin," Dasmariñas further quipped.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno