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Don't underestimate IBO title says Dave Apolinario's manager

Dave Apolinario finally returns home after capturing the IBO flyweight title. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--It may not have the glitz and glamor as the so-called "Big 4", but Dave Apolinario's IBO flyweight title should be recognized as how it should be: a world boxing championship.

Apolinario's manager, Mike Pelayo, said on Wednesday that there is no reason to downplay his prized fighter's momentous feat, in which he had to knock out veteran Gideon Buthelezi on Saturday (Philippine Time), to do so, citing that even boxing legend Manny Pacquiao once won an IBO belt.

"Yan yung belt ni Manny Pacquiao after he beat Ricky Hatton," Pelayo said upon Apolinario's return home at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.

Pacquiao's conquest, in which he knocked out Hatton in just two rounds, was credited as a world title, making him only the second boxer after Oscar De La Hoya to win gold straps in at least six different weight classes as this was the Filipino superstar's first two championships in the junior welterweight division if you include the Ring Magazine title that was on the line as well.

Pacquiao later knocked out Miguel Cotto and gave Antonio Margarito a sound beating to become the only pug to win world titles in at least seven divisions--eight eventually in total.

Meanwhile, Pelayo believes that Apolinario's championship glory, coupled with the para athletes' medal finishes in the ongoing ASEAN Para Games in Jakarta, should inspire the young athletes to strive for more.

"This belt is really for the Filipinos, para sa mga aspiring boxers," Pelayo further said. "Ang mga atleta natin, especially yung mga Paralympians natin, yung mga nag-gold, ito yung mga nagbibigay karangalan dito sa bansang Pilipinas."

However, that doesn't mean Apolinario will just be satisfied with one belt.

The now 17-0 Apolinario, now ranked number three by the WBA as Pelayo revealed, said that he is open to unifying his belt with another boxing gold, even saying that he could prefer the current WBA champ Artem Dalakian or the reigning IBF holder Sunny Edwards as future opponents down the line.

"Pwede [na si Dalakian], kahit si Edwards," Apolinario said when asked who he wants to fight next.

Pelayo added, "Any world champion. Kung sino gustong lumaban kay Dave Apolinario, let's bring it on. Kasi si Dave, always born ready. Walang tago-tago, laban kung laban kung sino man sila."

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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