Is Mike Plania our next boxing star?
It’s quite easy to get excited about underrated Mike Plania of the Philippines, after he scored a stirring upset victory in the Boxing is Back presentation in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
They had no idea where the 23-year-old Plania was coming from, only a sneak note about a Filipino boxer seeing action in Top Rank’s no-attendance card at the MGM Grand Conference Center.
Plania’s highly ranked opponent, John Greer Jr., the WBO No. 1 bantamweight contender, obviously also had zero sense who Plania was, or what sort of arsenal he logged.
As a result, Greer was sent down flat on his back by a wide left swing at 1:10 of the first round. Plania repeated the feat in the sixth, again sending Greer down hard.
The first big left was so wide it could’ve been ducked by a neophyte.
Anyway, Plania, who would earn a majority decision, faded, recovered and desperately steadied himself in the closing rounds, after Greer dug in and brought the action close. Plania, visibly fagged out, had to shift tactics and was observed to be grabbing, gasping to make it to the final bell.
CompuBox noted Plania outlanded Greer by 23 punches, counting 99-of-290 power punches for the Filipino, 22 more than Greer’s 77-of-227.
The upset win readily raised a chorus calling the amazing Plania Magic Mike.
BoxingScene said it was potentially a career-transforming upset win by the obscure Plania, who took the fight on one month’s notice.
The upset counted as the most sensational performance by a virtual unknown in Top Rank’s crowdless boxing comeback program.
After the unexpected win, it was bared that Plania was all the while stationed in Florida, where he was stalled by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Plania was also described as a former amateur standout in his country’s amateur boxing organization, the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines.
Plania was tagged a 6-1 underdog at the start, but the odds improved to 4-1 on the eve of the junior featherweight contest. The bout was staged at the contracted weight of 120 pounds.
Plania checked in from an eight-win streak, compared to Greer who had scored 19 straight victories prior to the match.
Plania (24-1-12 KOs) and Greer (22-2-12 KOs) had both suffered only a loss each prior to their fight.
“I told you so,” cried Plania’s manager JC Mananquil of Sanman Promotions. “A 16-1 underdog, my boy I’m proud of you!”
Plania said it was a big opportunity to show his talent to the world.
“I’ve been dreaming for this since I was a kid, and now God gave me a chance,” he exclaimed.
Nothing solidly clear how far he would go, but with the stirring win, it should feel like sky is the limit for the fighting native of General Santos City.
Plania swore he had always wanted to be a champion like Manny Pacquiao, his inspiration and idol since boyhood.