‘Lastik Man’ stops Thai champ, grabs IBF belt
JOURNEYMAN Ryan Rey Ponteras completed a great comeback and capped a five-fight winning streak by stopping Thai defending champion Ruslee Samo to win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Pan Pacific flyweight title at Rajapark University in Chonburi District, Thailand, on Friday.
Ponteras, 22, shocked the Thai promoters of Ruslee when he engaged the Thai champion in a toe-to-toe battle right at the start.
In the second round of the 12-round title bout, Ponteras found his range and connected with stunning rights to the head, sending the Thai champion to the canvas for an eight-count.
The Thai champion tried to mount a comeback in the third but Ponteras struck harder in the fourth and again staggered Ruslee. Ponteras went all out and stopped the Thai champion for good in the fifth round.
Ponteras, who had to fight in different weight categories—from 105 to 122 lb—used to call himself Lastik Man. His home in Santa Josefa, Agusan del Sur, was among those destroyed by the recent Typhoon Pablo.
With his victory over Ruslee, rated No. 6 in the world, Ponteras has suddenly been thrust into the world ratings. He is now a candidate for the world title eliminator of the IBF flyweight division.
Ponteras, who had a record of 8 wins and 9 losses before being rescued by owners of the Braveheart Stable, used to fight alone, traveling to distant venues without a cornerman.
“I owe all of this to the Piñol family who had been very kind to me and who gave me the chance to prove that I have what it takes to win a world title,” Ponteras said.
Since joining Braveheart, Ponteras has racked up five victories, four of them by knockouts. RT
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