Though his IBO bantamweight belt wasn’t on the line, Michael Dasmariñas might not have felt like a champion after he settled for a split draw with scores of 97-93, 95-95, and 96-94 against Manyo Plange of Ghana, Saturday night at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
It was the first draw of Dasmariñas’ career against 28 wins and two losses while Plange kept his undefeated record with 17 wins and now one draw.
With Plange gaining the adulation of the fans at ringside throughout the fight because of his aggression, Dasmariñas did not look like the boxer who won the IBO belt last April. He was slower than usual and looked like he did not get into the best condition possible as he might have either looked past his opponent or felt he did not have to push himself because it was a 10-round fight.
The 26-year-old Filipino met a surprise as the Ghanaian showed early in the match that he did not fly all the way from his home country just to lose.
The frustration started to set in for Dasmariñas in the fourth round where he started swinging wildly. While this was happening, Plange stuck to his game plan as he outworked the Filipino IBO bantamweight champion.
With Plange not used to staying in long fights, Dasmariñas hoped that his Ghanaian opponent would start to slow down in the fifth round. However, the Filipino was still looking for a single punch that would hurt Plange instead of putting his combinations together.
The undefeated Plange showed that he still had a lot of gas left in the tank as he bullied and battered the Filipino in the sixth round. He hurt Dasmariñas badly in Round 7, forcing the Filipino to hold on amidst the searing attack of his foe. The Ghanaian started to slow down in the eighth as he felt he was ahead in the scorecards which signalled a start of a short rally for Dasmariñas. However, he could not find the punch that would hurt Plange.
After taking a few minutes off, Plange came roaring back into the match in the ninth round, again hurting Dasmariñas.
The Ghanaian felt so confident that he was ahead in the scorecards in the final round that he started showboating. Dasmariñas swung his left in the hope of landing another punch similar to the one that knocked Kariim Guerfi out with during his last fight in Singapore.
After the surprising decision was announced, Plange showed sportsmanship as he even lifted Dasmariñas before the two headed out of the ring. The next time these two meet, the Ghanaian must make sure that it would be for the IBO bantamweight strap.