Rodriguez unseats Sabillo by TKO in 10
MANILA, Philippines — Merlito Sabillo proved no match for Mexican Francisco Rodriguez Jr. Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) and yielded his World Boxing Organization minimumweight crown by a 10th-round technical knockout at Arena Monterrey in Mexico.
The Mexican was relentless from the opening bell, seizing control by going to Sabillo’s body and imposing his dominance with two right-hand knockdowns in the second round.
From there, Sabillo was a goner, unable to match Rodriguez’s flurry of punches and catching heavy blows throughout the lopsided bout.
With Sabillo’s left eye nearly closed and helpless in warding off the Mexican, his trainer, Edito Villamor, signaled referee Eddie Caludio to stop the carnage at the 1:50 mark of the fateful round.
Only 20-years-old, Rodriguez raised his record to 14 wins against two losses, 10 by knockout.
Sabillo, who barely kept his belt with a draw against Nicaraguan Carlos Buitrago last November, suffered the first loss of his career for a 23-1-1 slate, including 12 KOs.
Sabillo, who was again in deep trouble in the fifth round, tried to fight back in the sixth and seventh rounds with solid rights. But Rodriguez countered with rapid combinations.
Rodriguez’s body blows took their toll in the eighth and ninth rounds, with Sabillo forced to back pedal with heavy legs.
Sabillo’s defeat left the Philippines with only two world boxing champions—Donnie Nietes and John Riel Casimero.
Nietes holds the WBO light flyweight title while Casimero keeps its International Boxing Federation version.
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