In the first of 3 title fights at "Pinoy Pride 45: Quest for Greatness" fans were given a show case in crisp, sharp punching from KJ Cataraja (9-0, 7)*as he clearly beat the teak tough Mexican visitor Victor Hugo Reyes (9-2-1, 7) to claim the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title.
From the opening bell Cataraja fought like he was a man with a point to prove, and started to unload combinations, switching between head and body with ease. He looked razor sharp and so much quicker than Reyes who struggled to have any real success. The Mexican proved his toughness, and physically looked very strong, but was being tagged time and time again by the young Filipino.
Reyes was hurt early in round 3, as Cataraja again landed clean, hurtful combinations, landing solid shots with both hands. Despite being hurt Reyes actually finished the round well, and began to take the fight back to Cataraja. That success for the Mexican wasn't really having the break through he needed, and Cataraja responded to him well, with smart shots.
In round 5 Reyes began to throw caution to the win and the two men traded bombs, with Reyes being the one eating the better shots, and being left with a bloodied nose as a result.
Reyes proved to be tough, and in round 6 he tried to take the fight to Cataraja once again, but got tagged by hard, nasty counters as Cataraja invited the pressure. Reyes managed to get through occasionally, but was tagged repeatedly for his efforts. Reyes again pressed the action in round 7, and managed to have some of his best success during the round.
By round 8 Cataraja was slowing down, and Reyes, some how, was still standing. Not only was Reyes still upright but he was now the one pressing the fight and making Cataraja dig deep. The effort from the Mexican took it's toll on him, and in round 9 he looked the more tired of the two, as Cataraja bounced back and took the momentum from Reyes.
In round 10 Cataraja, who had to be comfortably up on the scorecards, came out like he had in the opening round and went hunting a finish, dominating the first minute with some huge bombs. Reyes some how ate them up, and tried to press forward, being force fed head shots for his trouble. Reyes' toughness saw out the original storm and in the final 45 seconds he traded blows with Cataraja in what may well go down as the Filipino round of the year.
With Reyes some how making it to the final bell he had impressed with his toughness, but was the clear loser on the cards, as Cataraja took the decision 100-90 and 99-91, twice. The bout going 10 rounds saw Cataraja prove his stamina, which is one of the very question marks that we had about him, and show he could still pick up the pace late in the fight. For Reyes however this bout proved he was an insanely tough fighter, and we'd love to see more of the Mexican warrior.
The next major card from ALA Promotions was announced earlier today, and is set to be a triple header, with the top 3 bouts all being affiliated with the WBO, albeit for a trio of their minor titles.
One of the title bouts will see the once touted Albert Pagara (30-1, 21) defending his WBO Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title against Ghana's George Krampah (14-3, 12). This really should be a straight forward win for Pagara, given the that visitor has been relative inactive in recent years and was stopped in 2 of his last 3, including stoppage losses to Thabo Sonjica and current world champion Isaac Dogboe. Sadly though it doesn't seem like the step forward that the Filipino deserves given his talent and the promise he has.
A much better looking match up will see KJ Cataraja (8-0, 7) take on Victor Hugo Reyes (9-1-1, 7) in a mouth watering match up for the WBO Youth Super Flyweight title. The unbeaten Cataraja is very highly regarded in Asian boxing circles and he has been tipped for major success since turning professional. Despite being highly regarded he hasn't been matched particularly hard, with this being a notable step up in class. Reyes has been matched relatively easily but has been impressive on the Mexican domestic scene, with a good win last time out against Julio Castillo. This really could be the stand out show on the card.
The third title bout will see the hard hitting Jeo Santisima (16-2, 14) take on Mexican Victor Uriel Lopez (13-6-1, 6) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight title. The 22 year old Santisima has been one of the most explosive Filipino prospects in recent years and will be favoured here, especially given he is riding a 14 fight winning run. The visitor however is no push over and in 2016 he scored a major upset over Ryo Matsumoto.
Others on the card include Jonas Sultan (14-4, 9) and Ardin Diale (34-12-4, 16), who will be facing against each other, and Arthur Villanueva (32-3, 18), though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
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