June 17, 2024

Another Ifugao boxing pride KJ Natuplag added a regional belt for the Philippines when he won the World Boxing Council Asia featherweight belt in Dubai on June 24.

The 25-year-old Natuplag connected with a solid left cross to seal a technical knockout win against Attanon Kunlawong of Thailand in the second round of their scheduled 10-round championship match.

An accidental head butt might have wobbled the Thai boxer early in the second round, which gave Natuplag a hint to go for the kill by not allowing his opponent the chance to recover until he unleashed a solid left.

The 27-year-old Thai, who dropped to 17 wins and seven losses, was the busier fighter coming into the ring having fought four times since the start of the year while Natuplag’s last fight was in September 2021.

The Thai boxer earned a berth for a regional belt match with back-to-back wins early this year after stopping two opponents via TKO both in second round.

Natuplag, on the other hand, stopped Argel Berrio Columbia via fourth-round TKO in September 2021, also in Dubai where he has been staying since last year after his flight back to the country was delayed due to travel restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic that time.

In June 2021, Natuplag suffered a unanimous decision loss to undefeated Afghan boxer Hasibullah Ahmadi in the featherweight division. 

Ahmadi eventually clinched the vacant World Boxing Council-Asian Boxing Council featherweight belt when he won via unanimous decision against Raf Aghayev in August.

Natuplag was the former Philippines Boxing Federation featherweight champion and Philippines Luzon Professional Boxing Association bantamweight title holder. – Harley F. Palangchao