Earlier today Filipino fans in Cebu had the chance to see Pinoy Pride 39, a card that featured a number of notable Filipino fighters, along with the newly crowned IBF "interim" Light Flyweight champion Milan Melindo.
Among those in action was WBO #1 ranked Light Welterweight contender Jason Pagara (40-2, 25) who scored an opening round blow out against former world champion Jose Alfaro (28-11-1-2, 24), who suffered his 8th stoppage loss. Alfaro, a former WBA Lightweight champion, was fighting in Asia for the third time and suffered a third stoppage loss in the region following defeats to Yusuke Kobori and Yoshihiro Kamegai. On paper it sounds like a good win for Pagara but the reality is that Alfaro just doesn't win bouts any more and is 1-3-0-1 in his last 5. For Pagara the win was a 13th straight win and he is closing in on a world title fight, though would be a big under-dog in a bout at world level.
Jason's younger brother Albert Pagara (27-1, 18) also picked up a win, bouncing back from his stoppage loss to Cesar Juarez. The talented "Prince" took a clear decision win over the tough Raymond Commey (16-4, 9). Commey, who took on Qiu Xiao Jun earlier this year, claimed just a single round but proved to the type of test that Pagara needed, especially given his loss to Juarez in July.
Further down the card big puncher Melvin Jerusalem (11-0, 7) had to settle for a clear 6 round decision win as he over-came the limited Fabio Marfa (25-32-4, 12) whilst the highly touted Kevin Jake Cataraja (5-0, 4) made extremely light work of John Kenan Villaflor (6-2-2, 2), with a 41 second blow out.
We've known for a while that Thailand's Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (31-4-1, 16) [ศักดิ์กรีรินทร์] would be travelling to Cebu City to face Filipino Milan Melindo (34-2, 12) in a bout for the IBF "interim" Light Flyweight title on November 26th. Now we know a fair bit more about the card with the announcement of several under-card fighters.
Among those fighters are the Pagara brothers, Albert Pagara (26-1, 18), returning from his July loss to Cesar Juarez, and his older brother Jason Pagara (39-2, 24), as well as the highly touted Kevin Jake Cataraja (4-0, 3), former OPBF title challenger Jimmy Paypa (18-3-1, 6) and the heavy handed Jeo Santisima (11-2, 10).
The card, dubbed "Pinoy Pride 39" is the next in the long standing ALA series and if good opponents can be brought in for the undercard fighters then the show could be good. It's clear that Albert Pagara will be matched easier than he was last time, when he suffered his first career loss, but the other fighters could all be in interesting tests, with Jason Pagara needing a bout of note after facing limited opponents in recent years, Paypa looking to build on a career best win, Santisima looking to continue a 9 fight T/KO run and Cataraja looking to build on his exciting reputation.
Hopefully opponents will be named by the end of October at the latest.
This past Saturday was certainly a busy day in the world of professional boxing with notable bouts all over the world, from Japan to Germany, Germany to Cananda. Due to all the action some did sneak under-the-radar some what, including several bouts in the Philippines which featured former world title challengers looking to re-establish themselves as contenders ahead of 2016.
One of those bouts featured the talented, yet highly frustrating, Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14), who was fighting for the first time since a controversial loss to McJoe Arroyo in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout. The talented "King" Arthur was up against the unheralded Victor Mendez (19-3, 15) in a bout that was supposed to help the Filipino rebuild some career momentum and claim the WBC International title.
Given his ability it was thought the bout was going to be a straight forward win for Villanueva, instead however it turned into a very frustrating night for the Filipino fans who saw both men stall and become almost mirror images of each other, waiting and waiting for a mistake. Neither man was willing to take a risk and neither was willing to force the issue in a bout that really failed to ever truly come alive. Both did have their moments during the contest but on the whole both failed to really turn in a performance of note.
The bout, which was close, in part due to a lack of action, saw Villanueva do just enough to claim the win with cards of 116-112 and 117-111, whilst Mendez won on the third card with a score of 115-113 in his favour. Although both did look like they had more ability than they showed, it was a case that the styles didn't gel.
Another of the men was Milan Melindo (33-2, 12), a former 2-time world title challenger. The talented Melindo, who was last seen losing a technical decision to Javier Mendoza, had complained about the officiating in his last bout but got very lucky as some questionable judging helped him claim a victory over Victor Emanuel Olivo (9-1, 4).
Olivo came into the bout as an unknown teenager and was taking the bout on late notice, filling in for the ill Carlos Fontes. Despite that he put in a truly excellent performance from the first round to the last as he forced the issue with combinations and movement. Melindo was left bloodied and hurt though managed to take the decision with some viewing the as an out-and-out robbery. The bout was scored 96-94 by all 3 judges, with two favouring Melindo though even the 96-94 in favour of Olivo suggested the bout was more competitive than it really was.
Whilst Melindo and Villanueva failed to shine AJ Banal (34-2-1, 23) put in a good performance, stopping Emilio Norfat (25-7, 19) in the third round, of their scheduled 10 rounder, and the exciting Kevin Jake Cataraja (2-0, 2) extend his perfect record with a cuts based TKO win over Ellias Nggenggo (10-9-3, 3)
Earlier today it was announced that Filipino youngster Kevin Jake "KJ" Cataraja (1-0,1) would return to the ring on November 28th to face Indonesian Farris Nenggo (10-8-3,8) as part of the upcoming "Pinoy Pride 34" card.
The talented Cataraja made an immediate impression when he began his professional career earlier this year with an impressive victory against Ardi Tefa and it seems like ALA aren't going to allow him too many "easy bouts" as he continues his professional development and moves through the ranks at what we expect to be a fast pace, especially for a Filipino prospect.
The youngster turned professional with quite a lot of hype and his debut saw him live up to some of that hype, show casing some fantastic ability, great speed, solid power, fantastic composure and the sort of traits that a trainer and team would love one of their fighters to have at that stage in their career.
At the moment the full card hasn't been fully announced though we know that ALA have will be show casing a number of their fighters, including 4 former world title challengers, Milan Melindo (32-2,12), Arthur Villanueva (21-1,14), Rocky Fuentes (35-8-2,20) and AJ Banal (33-2-1, 22KO). At the moment only one of their opponents has been announced, with Banal set to fight Emilio Norfat (24-5-0, 18) from Tanzania.
For those who missed Cataraja's debut against Tefa we've included it below.
It's not been the best for years for Filipino boxing fans who have seen Manny Pacquiao and Johnriel Casimero both pick up high profile losses, whilst others, such as Warlito Parrenas, have been unable to make the most of their opportunities. Thankfully however it's not all doom and gloom and today we saw the professional debut of Kevin Jake "KJ" Cataraja (1-0, 1) who showed that fight fans in the Philippines have someone to get very excited about.
The touted 20 year old was a former amateur stand out and he immediately showed his class today in the professional ranks as he saw off Indonesian visitor Ardi Tefa (6-5, 4) in the 6th round.
Debutants don't tend to be matched over 6 rounds but ALA were confident that Cataraja could manage the distance he did so in style as he out fought and out boxed the Indonesian who was stopped with just over 30 seconds of the bout left.
Whilst Tefa had been stopped in all 4 previous losses they had seen him mix with a high level of opponent, including Denver Cuello and Srisaket Sorn Rungvisai, who both took 3 rounds to see off the Indonesian. For Cataraja to stop him on debut was impressive and speaks volumes of how far his team expect him to go. In fact we suspect he'll be fast tracked through the ranks and in the footsteps of former amateur rival Mark Magsayo, who himself has risen quickly and is on the verge of a really notable match up.
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