Vietnam boxing champ defeats Filipino opponent, but title left vacant

By Duc Dong   December 12, 2022 | 12:10 am PT
Vietnam boxing champ defeats Filipino opponent, but title left vacant
Dinh Hong Quan (R) throws a right hook at Arnel Baconaje in a boxing match in Vung Tau on December 10, 2022. Photo by International Boxing Federation
Dinh Hong Quan defeated challenger Arnel Baconaje Saturday. However, the IBF Asia lightweight title remains vacant as the Vietnamese fighter was stripped of his belt one day before the title defense.

The fight was the highlight of the night's event at the Grand Ho Tram Complex in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, which was dubbed "Fortunes of War," as Quan managed to hold of Baconaje in a hard-hitting fight, denying the Filipino boxer the vacant title.

With the support of the home fans, Quan held up well against Baconaje's great speed and power. Baconaje dodged many of Quan's punches and managed to retaliate several times with effective counter punches. However, Quan hit back hard, landing effective hooks on the Filipino's chin.

At the end of the second round, Quan produced a combo that forced Baconaje into the corner. The next round saw the Vietnamese boxer continuing to dominate his opponent, despite getting caught by a heavy left hook to the face.

Quan's stamina weakened toward the end of the fight, slowing him down, but he still managed to strike back with accurate punches, forcing Baconaje to retreat. At one point in the match, the Filipino lost his temper and got charged with a foul.

Quan gained the victory after fighting a full 12 rounds, winning scores of 114-113, 114-113 and 116-112 from three international referees. Quan's victory prevented Baconaje from claiming the belt, leaving the IBF Asia lightweight title undecided.

At a weight check-in session on Friday night, Quan was found to have exceeded the set weight limit of 61 kg. When the Vietnamese boxer had done training in South Korea and the Philippines last month, his muscle mass developed, leading to a weight gain to 74 kg, which disqualified him from holding on to his title.

Quan used the water cutting method used by many professional boxers to lose weight, but he was unable to get his weight down to the required limit.

The IBF will arrange another title fight to decide the new lightweight champion of Asia.

Quan became the first Vietnamese boxer to win the IBF Asia lightweight title in April this year after defeating Filipino boxer Jules Victoriano by points.

Other Vietnamese boxers also performed well at the event on Saturday. Nguyen Van Hai, who won eight national gold medals and three silver medals at the SEA Games, knocked out Indonesian opponent Paisal Panjaitan at the end of the third round. Phan Minh Quan, 23, in his first professional fight, won by technical knockout in the third round against veteran Filipino boxer Mark John Yap, who has 31 victories in 48 fights. Le Hoang Hiep, 22, had his first professional boxing match, drawing against former WBO Asia-Pacific champion Jetro Pabustan of the Philippines.

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