By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Filipino journeyman Jhon Gemino did it again as he scored a fifth round knockout of American erstwhile undefeated super featherweight prospect Arnold Alejandro in their 8 round lightweight bout in the undercard of the Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz WBC heavyweight title rematch, won by Wilder by 7th round knockout Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) at Las Vegas.
However, his countryman Mark John Yap was not as fortunate dropping a unanimous decision to Arnold’s younger brother, Angel Alejandro in their 6 round featherweight contest. Scores were 59-55, 58-56 and 58-56.
Both Gemino and Yap were coming off losses, Jhon to world rated lightweight Muhammad Yaquibov who knocked him out in two rounds in Ekaretinburg, Russia and Yap by decision to undefeated up and comer American featherweight Leo Angelo in his previous fight in the USA.
The 5-3 Gemino started strongly and proceeded to knock his slightly taller opponent down in the very first round with a left to the jaw. But he failed to finish him off as Alejandro either fought back, moved away or held on whenever he tried to make a follow up.
Some years back, Gemino shocked the American audience when he knocked out then the highly promising and undefeated Toka Khan Clary in the very first round.
Alejandro rallied in the next three rounds as he seemed to have shaken off the effects of Gemino’s opening salvos and he was even winning in the exchanges.
But in the fifth round as the 5-5 equally stockily built 23 year old American was gaining confidence and gamely exchanging blows with Gemino, the Filipino like Wilder in the main event, exploded with a powerful right to the face knocking him down and out for the night.
The blow was so hard that it bloodied and most likely broke Alejandro’s nose which bled profusely as he was counted out by the referee and even as he was helped to his corner.
Gemino raised his record to 21-12-1 and registered his 11th KO victory while Alejandro impaired to his first defeat in 12 bouts, of which he won 10 of his previous 11 wins by knockout.
Gemino’s ledger is deceiving though as his losses, five of them by knockout came against higher rated fighters as Yaquivov, Dennis Shafikov, King Tugs Nayambar, Chimpa Gonzales, David Sanchez and Andres Gutierrez as he was scaling the weights from super bantamweights to the lightweights.
But with his short ceiling, Gemino would surely be at great disadvantage against many world rated fighters at 130-135 lbs, some of whom are 5-8 or taller. He could play the role of spoiler, though as he showed in this bout. He is currently rated #75 by Boxrec at super featherweight.
Meanwhile, it was obvious that Yap has still so much physical and psychological improvements and adjustments to do to be truly competitive at featherweight since moving up from the bantamweight where he previously reigned as OPBF titlist until his points loss to Takuma Inoue.
Though older, more experienced and taller by an inch over his 5-5 19 year old opponent in Angel Alejandro, who was only in his eighth pro contest, Yap seemed to not have the strength, skilled and talented he may be, to compete against a legit featherweight as he did in this bout and the previous one against Leo Angelo.
It may be advisable for Yap to move down to the super bantamweights in the interim and see how he fares there.
Known as the Probinsyanong Intsik, Yap saw his record drop to 30-15-0, with 15 knockout wins. He had a ten fight winning streak between late 2015 and early 2018 where he won the OPBF bantamweight championship and defended it successfully against a battery of Japanese opponents in Japan until he lost the same to Naoya Inoue’s younger brother, Takuma in March 2018.
Takuma lost in his bid to wrest the WBC bantamweight title from Nordine Oubali dropping a unanimous decision in the undercard of the Naoya Inoue- Nonito Donaire main evemt fight in Saitama early this month.