Indonesian boxer Galih Susanto was heading to the buffet table when he met Jhack Tepora. He tapped Tepora’s right arm and asked if they could have their photos taken together. Susanto then handed his cell phone to his manager and the two boxers posed for a photo opportunity. Putting his hands together in front of his chest, Susanto bowed his head and thanked Tepora profusely.
The light moment was far from the tensed atmosphere earlier when Susanto vowed to pull off an emphatic win against Tepora in the main event of “Who’s Next?” 3 Pro-Boxing Series tonight at the Mandaue City Cultural Sports and Cultural Complex.
“I am going to knock him out, within 10 rounds,” said Susanto through his manager Aryo Sulkhan, who acted as interpreter.
Showing their readiness to fight for the vacant WBO Oriental super bantamweight belt, the two fighters had no trouble making the weight in yesterday’s official weigh-in at Parkmall in Mandaue City.
Tepora was right on the dot after tipping the scales at 122 pounds, while Susanto was a pound lighter at 121.
On paper, Tepora may be the favored fighter as the prized stalwart of the Omega Boxing Gym is still undefeated in 18 fights with 12 of his victories coming by way of knockouts.
But Susanto is unfazed by Tepora’s impressive record.
“He has only fought local boxers. I am his first foreign opponent and I am going to be different,” said Susanto, who sports a 12W-6L-1D-2KOs slate.
Not even Tepora’s so-called homecourt advantage could intimidate Susanto.
“I am used to fighting outside Indonesia and it’s not the first time that I am fighting here in the Philippines,” said Susanto.
It was in Feb. 8, 2014 when Susanto first fought in the country against Marlon Tapales in Davao del Sur. The fight went the full 10-round route before Tapales, now the WBO bantamweight champion, escaped with a unanimous decision win.
While Susanto minced no words in expressing how confident he is of pulling off a big win, Tepora didn’t say much.
“I won’t promise any knockout. I’ll just do my best and when there’s an opportunity to knock him out, I’ll go for it,” said Tepora, the reigning WBO Asia Pacific Youth super bantamweight champion.
In the co-main event, Omega’s Kenny “Big Heart” Demecillo (11W-3L-2D-7KOs) will try to defend his WBF AsPac bantamweight title against Jestoni Autida (9W-5L-0D-4KOs).
Fighting in the supporting main event is another Omega fighter Christian “The Bomb” Araneta (12W-0L-0D-10KOs), who will go up against Philip Luis Cuerdo (9W-2L-1D-4KOs).
One of the boxers to watch out for in the undercard fights is former Cebuano Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga (2W-0L-0D), who will take on Rodel Kirk Pelenio (3W-1L-1D-2KOs).