Vic Saludar bagged the World Boxing Association (WBA) minimumweight championship by outpointing countryman Robert Paradero at Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna Saturday.
Saludar, the former WBO minimumweight titlist, won via split decision, as the Polomolok, town South Cotabato-born champion improved his record to 25-4.
Two of the judges saw it 115-113 and 116-112 for Saludar, while the other one had it 118-110 for Paradero.
It was the first world title fight that took place on Philippine soil since the pandemic broke out.
Paradero, who entered the bout with an 18-0 card (12 KOs), banked on his punching power, swinging for the fences with hopes of landing a knockout.
The Valencia town, Bukidnon native landed some, jarring Saludar with a wild left to the jaw near the end of the fourth round.
But Saludar dug deep from experience and fought back with calculated counterpunches.
In the fifth, he connected a short stab to the body that had Paradero retreating.
Paradero later started concentrating his attack to the body, but Saludar used his longer reach to keep his opponent at bay.
In the ninth, Saludar started to press the action prompting Paradero to adjust, boxing his way to safety.
Saludar gained more points in the championship rounds, connecting more shots as Paradero's aggression waned out.