by Joe Koizumi

Luisito Espinosa, the WBC featherweight champion of the Philippines, decided to pull himself out of a sensational card featuring the WBO kingpin Prince Naseem Hamed and the WBA titlist Wilfredo Vazquez (who will maybe get stripped of his WBA 126-pound title due to his failure to defend his throne agaisnt the WBA top contender Antonio Cermeno) in Manchester, England, on Apr. 18.

Luisito was scheduled to fight ex-WBO champ and currently #7 WBC contender Steve Robinson on the undercard. But Luisito lately experienced continual bad lucks in his family--his mother-in-law undergoing a heart bypass surgery and his father/trainer Egmedio Espinosa suffering a light heart attack.

Luisito couldn't concentrate on training for two weeks. He is in no shape to fight on Apr. 18, and his father needs more time for recovery. Joe Koizumi, his Japanese manager, promptly flew to Manila upon an information of Papa Dio being hospitlaized. Dio wasn't in so serious condition, but he has to take a special medication for a while.

Since Luisito strongly insists that Papa Dio should be in his corner, Koizumi made up his mind to ask Mr. Frank Warren, the British promoter, for a postponement of Luisito's title defense with Robinson until the middle of May or later through his agent Rafael Mendoza of Mexico.

The new schedule of the Espinosa vs. Robinson will be decided by Mr. Warren soon. Luisito, 42-7, 22 KOs, kept his WBC title on 5 occasions to his credit--beating ex-champ Alejandro Cobrita Gonzalez (KO4), #1 contender Cesar Soto (W12), lefty Japanese Nobutoshi Hiranaka (TKO8), Manuel Medina (Tech. W8) and #1 contender Carlos Rios (TKO6). We miss an opportunity to see Hamed, Vazquez and Espinosa on a same card.

Joe Koizumi

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3.25.98 [Return to Top]