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Fighting for a world title is every prizefighter’s dream. However, winning one is a whole different matter. Months earlier, Edrin “The Sting” Dapudong was tapped to fight power-punching Mexican Hernan “Tyson” Marquez to battle for the latter’s WBA flyweight title. Dapudong came in as a late replacement at very short two weeks notice. While the results are very much open to debate, Dapudong lost.

Five days ago, another Filipino, then undefeated Jether Oliva, was given the tough task of wresting the IBF junior flyweight belt from a very topnotch opposition in Ulises Solis. With four weeks left to train prior fight night, many voiced their concern that Oliva, as impressive as his record was, would be no match for the crafty battle-scarred Mexican.

Defending champion Ulises Solis (left) tags Jether Oliva (right) with a left.

But belief was so strong for Oliva and his team that they took the assignment despite the colossal disparity in terms of experience and skills. After all, Oliva certainly had the puncher’s chance and boxing always remains to be an unpredictable sport.

But Solis versus Oliva was certainly everything but unpredictable. With tons of experience and ring guile, Solis weathered Oliva’s early dose of aggression and began dictating the fight. Solis was pretty much at home while Oliva certainly seemed to every inch of a man who didn’t have any business in a world title clash, much less engage a world class opponent.

Fact is Oliva suffered a huge setback at Solis’ hands. But will the defeat derail the young Filipino’s fight career? Hardly. In fact, Oliva should relish in the experience and learn from all the things that transpired few days earlier. It is just one loss, so to speak. Not all great boxers are undefeated.

And if his team manager and handlers speak the truth about Oliva’s heart and determination, then recouping and bouncing back from the defeat are to be expected. That said, fight fans will be also anticipating a stronger, better, and most importantly, a wiser Oliva.

Photo credits: Corner do Leao

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.