Banal does a Pacman, KOs foe in Round 2

USING a two-fisted attack from the opening bell, AJ “Bazooka” Banal mauled Mbwana Matumla and finished him off with a cracking left hook and a right uppercut, sending him crashing to the canvas to be counted out at 2:59 seconds of the second round in a fight card in Cebu City late Saturday.

The win reminded fight fans of what Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao did to Ricky Hatton last May 2 in Las Vegas.

The round and the time were identical and the win almost as devastating as Pacquiao’s spectacular KO of Hatton, where a vicious left hook effectively separated Hatton from his senses.

Banal’s KO was not as brutal, but came close enough in terms of the efficiency of execution.

Banal disappointed his numerous fans when he suffered a 10th-round knockout in a World Boxing Association Interim title fight to Rafael Concepcion last July 26, 2008. But the Filipino erased the memory of that loss with a dominating performance that clearly restored the fans’ faith in the 20-year-old southpaw.

Banal realized that a big win against the former International Boxing Organization super flyweight champion would mean a place on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez fight card on July 18.

He started aggressively with solid body shots and then rocked Matumla with a 1-2 combination near the end of Round 1.

Matumla, who is also a southpaw was biding his time trying to figure out Banal and caught him with a good right, before Banal exploded with a thundering left hook that distorted the face of Matumla, who hit his head on the canvas as he fell and tried desperately to beat the count, but couldn’t and sat in his corner not knowing what hit him.

With the win, Banal’s record now stands at 19-1-1, with 16 knockouts, while Matumla dropped to 18-4, with 10 knockouts.

In comparison to Banal’s showing, lightweight Czar Amonsot was a major disappointment and even though he earned a 10-round decision over Kenya’s super featherweight champion Morris Chule, the fans booed the decision more out of a feeling of letdown than anything else.



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