MANILA – From the impoverished villages of North Cotabato, Philippines to a courtesy call with his country’s vice president. The career of Edrin Dapudong has been a rollercoaster through 34 pro fights, but it appears to be on an upswing following his highlight reel-worthy first round knockout of Gideon Buthelezi in South Africa last week.
The victory, which earned him the lower-rent IBO junior bantamweight title, also earned him an audience with Philippine vice president Jejomar Binay at his office at Coconut Palace in Pasay City on Friday afternoon. Dapudong (29-5, 17 knockouts) was accompanied by manager Manny Pinol and trainers Rex Penalosa and Gilbert Angcog as vice president Binay viewed the one-punch left hook knockout of the crafty southpaw Buthelezi, who won a dubious decision in their first encounter last November.
Dapudong, 26, must fulfill three options with South African promoter Golden Gloves before he can perform in front a domestic crowd. Rodney Berman, who heads up Golden Gloves, says he is considering putting Dapudong back in action on August 31 at Emperor’s Palace in Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa, or in November.
Pinol, who turned Dapudong pro in 2005, holds him up as an example of the success that his government-subsidized Braveheart Boxing Gym has been able to accomplish. “We’ve realized a poor boy’s dreams,” said Pinol, former vice governor of North Cotabato. “Edrin is not really outstanding, if you’re talking about the quality of Manny Pacquiao. He’s not in that category, but look, we were able to make him a champion because we just focus on it. There were many other Filipino boxers that could’ve been world champions had they been supported by patrons and local government units.”
Pinol says he’d love to stage a rematch with Dapudong and former conqueror Hernan Marquez (36-3, 26 KOs), who stopped him in three rounds in a WBA flyweight title fight in 2011.
Photoo / Ryan Songalia
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to The Ring magazine and GMA News. He can be reached at [email protected]. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.