Traya prevails in eight-rounder thriller versus Chinese foe to wrest WBF regional title
CEBU CITY, Philippines— Cebuano boxing prospect, Elmo “Money Punch” Traya wrested the World Boxing Foundation (WBF) Australasian super lightweight title via a split decision victory against an equally-determined Chinese foe, WeiWei Liu, in the main event of Money Punch Fight Promotions’ maiden pro fight card Saturday night, June 24, 2023, at the Consolacion Sports Complex.
Two judges Nic Banal and Angelito Boaquin favored Traya, while the third judge, Neil Papas saw the bout in favor of the visiting Chinese boxer.
Banal scored the bout 76-75, while Boaquin had it 77-75 both for Traya, while Papas saw Liu winning 78-74, after the eight round back-and-forth battle.
The victory snapped Traya’s back-to-back losing streak from last year and improved his record to 13 wins with eight knockouts and five defeats.
For Traya, his comeback fight performance wasn’t enough for him. He admitted that he lacked the speed and stamina which gave Liu the opportunity to land significant punches in the latter rounds.
However, Traya was able to adjust and went on retaliating at every barrage of punches the visiting Chinese threw at him.
“Lahi iyahang strategy gipakita karon. So ni adjust ra ko ug niagawanta moabot ug round. Nangita sad ko ug paagi nga maka tira para dili ta lugi sa puntos. Pero, makaingon sad ta nga dili diay basta-basta makuha nato ang bakus. Makuha man gani nato, mag agi sad ta ug kalisud ug ka delikado,” said the 28-year-old Traya of Tabuelan town, northwest Cebu.
He added that he was surprised by Liu’s aggressiveness in the middle rounds. It took him a while to recover and retaliate from the Chinese’s onslaught.
“Niburak naman siya pag middle rounds. Pag early rounds mura ug hinay pa siya. Pag later rounds ni adjust pud ko, medyo dako pud siya. Pero pasalamat ko nadaog nako ang bakus,” added Traya.
Liu flies back to China with his trainer, Robin Wong with 4-1 (win-loss) record with two knockouts.
For his part, Money Punch Fight Promotions’ CEO Christian Faust, he is thankful to Traya for dedicating the fight to him.
“It was a close fight, I can see that Traya was getting ahead in points, he certainly didn’t give up, he took a couple of hits. My heart is full of joy, he dedicated this fight to me. I’m speechless, I’m happy for him, and I’m happy for his family. There’s more to come for Traya,” said Faust.
In the undercard, Christian Balunan of Villamor Boxing Gym defeated Ariston Aton via unanimous decision.
Anthony Gilbuela scored a first round knockout against Pablito Balidio, while Ramil Macado defeated Eldin Guinahon via an eight-round technical knockout.
Yeroge Gura stopped Audie Dacua in the sixth round, while Jusue Bastillada also scored a second round TKO against Wilfredo Rota, while Riel Gabunilas edged Reggie Empis by unanimous decision.
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