Randy Petalcorin seeks title fights, recognition beyond Ma fight
MANILA, Philippines – Randy Petalcorin believes he’s one of the best fighters in his home country of the Philippines and in the entire junior flyweight division. He just hasn’t gotten a chance to show it yet.
The 23-year-old southpaw from Davao City is rated No. 6 by THE RING at 108 pounds and has a record of 22-1-1 (17 knockouts). And yet, despite achieving a modicum of international success in winning the interim WBA junior flyweight belt in his last outing, his fight with Ma Yi Ming this Friday at the Capital Gym in Beijing, China, will not be televised in his home country.
He’s not as familiar as his crossover star compatriots Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr, or even the division’s lineal champion Donnie Nietes, whose fights are all shown on the nation’s biggest television network.
The Ma fight will be Petalcorin’s second straight in China, and Petalcorin’s promoter thinks it’s just a matter of time before word travels about his fighter.
“I think he’s top two or three in his division. People just don’t see his talent yet,” said Jim Claude Manangquil, who co-promotes Petalcorin with Peter Maniatis of Australia. “He’s not very exposed compared to those other light flyweights out there but the time will come where I’m sure he can show his skills and how good he is.”
Petalcorin has acquitted himself well since his only loss, a second-round technical knockout against Marlon Tapales in 2010, having won 17 fights (plus one draw) while splitting time between training in Australia and at the Sanman Gym in General Santos City, Philippines.
Ma (12-5, 7 KOs) of Da Lian, China, had a rough start to his career in 2007, losing five of his first eight matches while fighting in South Korea, Thailand, Japan and the United States.
Almost every fight was an away game until 2011, when pro boxing, previously banned under Chairman Mao Zedong, began to pick up in popularity after Zou Shiming won boxing gold medals at the Olympics in 2008 and 2012.
Seca, the Chinese group that has handled Zou’s pro career, also promotes Ma and is the show’s organizer.
Ma has won nine straight heading into Friday’s fight. Manangquil expects him to be rough and galvanized by the moment.
“He’ll come out strong, not like his normal self. But at the same time I’m expecting the same thing with him, just a bit better. I’m still predicting [Petalcorin] will stop him late,” said Manangquil.
Manangquil says that he’d like to see his fighter challenge one of the titleholders at 108 should he get past Ma, like WBC titleholder Pedro Guevara of Mexico or WBA titleholder Ryoichi Taguchi of Japan.
He says Petalcorin can even make 105 easily, should the right opportunity arise.
But most importantly, Petalcorin must continue winning if he is to receive the exposure he seeks.