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Boholano boxing sensation AJ "Bazooka" Banal

Boholano boxing sensation AJ "Bazooka" Banal drew the adulation of the crowd when he hammered the veteran Mexican Cecilio Santos into fourth round submission with ease in the well-attended Bakbakan sa Sinulog card last Thursday at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Banal, who rose to 21-1 now dotted with 17 KOs, threw up punishing combinations to flatten Santos for good with just 35 seconds left in round four.

Boholano boxing sensation AJ "Bazooka" Banal drew the adulation of the crowd when he hammered the veteran Mexican Cecilio Santos into fourth round submission with ease in the well-attended Bakbakan sa Sinulog card last Thursday at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Banal, who rose to 21-1 now dotted with 17 KOs, threw up punishing combinations to flatten Santos for good with just 35 seconds left in round four.

In another card, Milan "Melinyo" Melindo scored a smashing first round knockdown, but had to toil hard the rest of the 10-round battle before hacking out a unanimous decision victory to dethrone the gritty Anthony "Baby Assasin" Villareal of the United States and emerge as the new WBC Youth Intercontinental flyweight champion in the main event.
  
Melindo, who stretched his unbeaten mark to 20-0 spiked with 5KOs, claimed his third regional title in third weight division, but was less impressive in dealing with the very game American visitor.

Melindo electrified the large throng of spectators at the start when he planted a powerful right hook that sent Villareal down at the seat of his pants midway in the opening canto. But that was his brightest moment as Villareal quickly stood up to give the ALA stalwart one hell of a fight the rest of the way.

When the dust settled though, Melindo came out spraying the victory champagne as he got the nod of all the three judges. Interestingly, Teddy Alivio scored it 97-93, while Edward Ligas gave it 95-94 and Ben Necessario had it 96-93 all for the Cagayan de Oro City warrior.

In the main supporting bouts, James Bacon fired a cracking eight-punch combination to send Thai Thitichon Singwangcha into the dreamland at 55 seconds of round four, while certified power-hitter Larry Canillas stopped Petch Twits Gym in the second round to improve his record to 12-1 now garnished with 12KOs.

Before the main event, silence enveloped the grand ballroom of Waterfront as a brief video footage depicting the plight of stricken Cebuano fighter Z Gorres was shown into the crowd. Everybody then gave a hearty, warm round of applause upon learning of Gorres' miraculous recovery from a life-threatening injury.

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