KUALA LUMPUR – When Cebu City-based Jhack Tepora learned that his fight in the undercard of Manny Pacquiao and Lucas Matthyse here Sunday has been promoted to a world title bout, a jolt of excitement hit him.
“Mas excited ako kaysa pressured (I’m more excited than pressured),” Tepora told a couple of Filipino scribes while training the other day at a makeshift gym at Le Meridien, the official fight residence.
The 25-year-old Filipino prospect will face Edivaldo Ortega of Mexico for the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight championship Sunday at the Axiata Arena here.
Tepora will duke it out with Ortega as the last bout before Pacquiao and Matthysse step in for the main event, and the young fighter vowed to make the most out of the exposure.
The undercard fight was supposed to be a non-title event, until it was announced just a few weeks ago that the interim WBA 126-pound title will be on the line. The WBA, a Panama-based boxing sanctioning organization, is known for naming boxers as its “super champions” if they win two or more titles from other organizations in the same weight class.
In the featherweight division, Leo Sta. Cruz is the WBA super champion, and the undefeated Tepora might find himself on a collision course with the Mexican star.
First, the heavy-handed Tepora (21-0, with 16 KOs) must get past Ortega.
“Sa tingin namin, kaya (We think it’s doable),” said Tepora’s older brother Jellypell.
A confident Tepora met the 126-pound featherweight limit on Saturday morning during the official weigh-in at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibit Centre.
“Walang problema. Mababa pa nga (No problem. I was even lighter),” Tepora, who tipped the scales at 125.4 pounds, told Philstar.com.
The prospect is coming off an impressive second-round knockout over South African Lusanda Komanisi in September last year in London.
He said either he or Ortega will hit the canvas on Sunday.
“Hindi aabot ng 12 (rounds),” said Tepora.