By Nick Giongco
TOKYO – Ernesto Saulong made a startling realization when he came up to Japanese champion Rysouke Iwasa during Tuesday’s presser for their International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-bantamweight title fight on Thursday.
“Mahaba ang kamay (He’s got the longer reach),” Saulong said in his room at the Hotel Grand Palace while extending his right arm to prove his point.
Iwasa, making the first defense of the IBF 122-lb crown, has a four-inch reach advantage and a two-inch height edge.
Iwasa also has a sparkling win-loss-draw record: 24-2-0 with 16 KOs.
But Saulong, holder of a less shiny 21-2-1 slate with eight KOs, remains unfazed although he admits he will have to come up with more than his A-Game to dethrone Iwasa before an expected highly-partisan crowd at the Ryogoku Sumo Arena.
“Kailangan makalapit…’yan lang ang pag-asa para manalo (I have to come close…that’s the only way to win),” said Saulong, who will vie for the world title for the first time.