Just moments ago MTK Global Boxing announced their "Dubai Fight Series", which will consist of 3 shows in Dubai. The cards aren't fully fleshed out, but there are a number of Asian fighters set to be involved in the shows.
The first card, set for February 6th, doesn't appear to have an Asian fighter but the follow up show, in March 12th, is set to feature two Kazakh fighters.
One of those Kazakh's will be the unbeaten Zhankosh Turarov (24-0, 17) [Жанкош Тураров], who will take on Northern Irish fighter Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6) in what looks like a very interesting match up. For Turarov this will be his first bout since July 2019, when he stopped Mauro Maximiliano Godoy, and despite likely being the favourite "Da Kazakh Kid" is now 30 and appears to missed the boat on becoming a true contender. McKenna on the other is also 30 and is looking to bounce back from a September 2020 loss to Ohara Davies. McKenna is typically a fun fighter to watch and his energy and work rate could give Turarov fits.
Another Kazakh on that same card is Viktor Kotochigov (12-1, 5) [Виктор Коточигов], who will be looking to bounce back from his October 2020 loss to Maxi Hughes. His opponent will be the unbeaten Irishman Gary Cully (11-0, 5). On paper this is a very, very even match up and should be a compelling one, especially with Kotochigov looking to bounce back from his first defeat.
Despite the two Kazakh fighters being set to fight on March 12th the really interesting part of the MTK announcement was their April show, set for April 3rd, which will feature two Filipino fighters.
One of those will be 26 year old hopeful Albert Pagara (33-1, 23), who will be looking to build on his current 7 fight winning run. His opponent hasn't been named, though fingers crossed it's a step up from his recent bouts against the likes of Lucky Tor Buamas and George Krampah.
The other will be the long awaited return to the ring of Filipino legend Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23), who hasn't been seen in the ring since defeating Kazuto Ioka way back in December 2018 to claim the WBO Super Flyweight title and become a 4-weight world champion. Sadly Nietes's inactivity since then has seen him become a forgotten man, and he turns 39 in May, an ancient age for a Super Flyweight. It is great to see Nietes' return to the ring being confirmed, though it is way, way over-due.
As with Pagara Nietes's opponent wasn't announced, though we suspect it will be a bit of a gimmie for "Ahas", who deserves an easy bout to shake some ring rust before a big bout later in the year.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
CEBU,PHILIPPINES- Light flyweight Christian Araneta’s one punch knockout win provided a spectacular finish to the action-packed double fight card held Friday in Mandaue City.
Araneta (19-1,15KO’s) fired a sneaky left uppercut to the jaw of Roland Jay Biendima(15-7-1,8KO’s) and sent him flat on his back. Referee Teddy Alivio,seeing Biendima was in no condition to get up and fight, signaled the end at the 2:15 mark.
Araneta is a former WBO and WBC regional belt holder and his lone loss was against Daniel Valladares in Mexico, a fight where he had a recurrence of his shoulder injury that sidelined him for the most part of 2017.
Rising star Carl Jammes Martin (16-0,14KO’s) returned after a year of inactivity and beat a feisty Richard Rosales (14-14-2,8KO’s) by ten round unanimous decision.
The Covid pandemic has led to many Filipino boxers not getting a lot of fights this year. Martin got the much needed rounds against Rosales who not only had a tough chin, but managed to dish out a lot of wallops. Martin was more powerful and accurate and got the nod of the three judges – Edward Ligas and Rolando Mendoza – 100-90, Teddy Alivio-98-92.
Former world ranked Albert Pagara (33-1,23KO’s), who has been inactive for sixteen months, beat Virgil Puton(18-15-2,9KO’s) by eight round unanimous decision. Puton was more intent on surviving and clowning while Pagara needs more rounds to regain his form. The scores – 78-74 twice and 79-73.
The ten rounder between Pete Apolinar (13-1,8KO’s) and Danilo Tampipi (9-12-2,5KO’s) was entertaining at the start.They traded knockdowns, Tampipi was counted in the first, Apolinar was decked in the second. But Apolinar pulled away,winning by a wide margin, 98-90 twice,100-90.
In the opener of Kumbati 7, Franco Serafica beat Matthew Fondales who did not answer the bell for the second canto.
The first card- Kumbati 6- was held early afternoon Friday.
Tomjune Mangubat (12-2-1,10KO’s) won against Reymond Empic (7-6,3KO’s) who sat on his stool after the third round.Mangubat bounced back from his disappointing split decision loss to South Korean Jong Seon Kang last year in Vietnam.
Carlo Bacaro (7-0,6KO’s) used hard body shots to stop Ryan Maano (5-8-2,1KO) who turned his back in the third round.
Reggie Suganob got a unanimous verdict against Robert Ates after six rounds and pro debutant Benny Cañete beat John Roque Villagonzalo by TKO in the second.
The event was promoted by Omega Promotions and sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB). The fights were held behind closed doors at the IPI Complex in Mandaue City. Covid-19 testing was done on all boxers and officials.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
CEBU,PHILIPPINES- Omega Promotions will have a back to back fight card Friday that will showcase name fighters and up and comers. The fights will be held behind closed doors at the IPI Complex in Mandaue City.
The boxers had their weigh-in Thursday inside the compound of International Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IPI).
“Kumbati” 6 will have four bouts. Tomjune Mangubat (11-2-1,9KO’s) will aim to bounce back from his disappointing split decision loss to South Korean Jong Seon Kang last year in Vietnam. Mangubat will take on Reymond Empic (7-5,3KO’s) in a ten rounder.
Mangubat weighed 139.7lbs while Empic was at 131 lbs.
Carlo Bacaro (6-0,5KO’s)-140.7lbs will be taking on Ryan Maano (5-9-2,1KO)-140lbs- in an eight rounder. Reggie Suganob (112.3lbs) vs. Robert Ates (112.5lbs) for 6 rounds and pro debutants Benny Cañete (119.5lbs) vs. John Roque Villagonzalo (119.6lbs) will clash in a 4 rounder.
In “Kumbati 7”, “Prince” Albert Pagara and rising star Carl Jammes Martin are set to make an appearance.
Pagara (32-1,23KO’s) will be shaking off the ring rust, having been inactive for sixteen months when he squares off against Virgil Puton(18-14-2,9KO’s). Pagara was at 130.4lbs while Puton stepped on the scales at 130.8lbs.
Carl Jammes Martin will trade punches with Richard Rosales in a ten rounder. Martin (15-0,14KO’s) and Rosales (14-13-2,8KO’s) both weighed 120 lbs.
Christian Araneta (18-1,14KO’s) and Roland Jay Biendima both weighed 110lbs for their 10 rounder. For the rest of the card - Pete Apolinar -126.6lbs vs. Danilo Tampipi-123.8lbs, and Franco Serafica -125.9lbs vs. Matthew Fondales-129.8lbs.
The event is sanctioned by the Games and Amusements Board (GAB). Covid-19 testing was done on all boxers and officials.
Earlier today our good friend Ian Melodillar informed us of an Omega Sports and MTK Global show set to take place in the Philippines in December featuring a number of notable Filipino hopefuls. The card lacks a major international name, but hardcore fans of the Filipino seen will see some really interesting fighter lined up for the show, which looks set to be split into 2 parts.
The first part of the card looks set to be the more star studded and interesting part. It features the exciting and world ranked Albert Pagara (31-1, 23) taking on the often under-rated Virgil Puton (18-14-2, 9). Pagara, who is now ranked #7 by the WBO at Super Bantamweight, will be looking for a 7th straight win since a 2016 loss to Cesar Juarez and will be hoping to begin climbing back up the WBO rankings once again. As for Puton he'll be looking to show there is still life in his 31 year old legs after a 1-10-2 (1) stretch of his career. He was once a very serviceable journeyman but has taken a lot of punishment in recent years.
Another notable name on this part of the card is former world title challenger Mark Anthony Barriga (9-1, 1) who is seemingly up against 21 year old Ricky Delos Santos (2-1). The excellent Barriga is one of the most talented Filipino fighters out there, though he does lack power, and is very much all about his skills, with little in terms of power or strength from the slippery Pinoy. He's sadly not fought since losing in an IBF Minimumweight title bout back in 2018 to Carlos Licona, so we can under-stand him having an easy returns after 24 months out of the ring. Even then Santos might be a little bit too easy for the former world title contender.
One other name to watch on this part of the show is 23 year old Flyweight Regie Suganob (4-0, 1), who battles Robert Ates (4-7, 2). Suganob is, on paper taking a step up in class here.
Although it feels like the name value is on the first part of the event the second part is certainly boasting some decent it's self. This included the very talented Peter Apolinar (12-1, 8), who battles Danny Tampipi (9-11-2, 5), and a genuinely mouth watering bout between Christian Araneta (18-1, 14) and Roland Jay Biendima (15-6-1, 8), which could be a sensational war. Araneta will be looking for his second win since a technical decision loss to Daniel Valladares in September 2019 whilst Biendima will be looking to bounce back from a thrilling decision loss to Kenta Hatanaka.
Last month ALA Boxing closed it's doors after 35 years in the sport, ending it's run as the premier promotional outfit in the Philippines. Whilst that was sad news for the Filipino fight scene it did leave the door open for it's fighters to spread their wings and it ended up with a number of talented, skilled and promising fighters becoming free agents.
We had expected a dash to sign a number of those fighters, but so far only one fighter has officially been picked up. That is Super Bantamweight contender Albert Pagara (32-1, 23) who has now signed a deal with MTK Global, who will act as an advisor to the talented boxer-puncher who is also working with D4G Promotions.
The deal becomes the first between MTK and the Philippines, and could end up be the first of many with there being a huge amount of untapped talent in the country.
Pagara was once tipped as one of the future stars of Filipino boxing. He won his first 26 bouts and looked to be on the verge of a world title fight before losing to Cesar Juarez in 2016. Since then he has bagged 6 wins and re-established himself as a contender, but does really need a big fight sooner rather than later. With that in MTK are a great team to be with, and they should be able to secure him a big fight in the next year or two.
Following the signing MTK send out a press release regarding Pagara's move, including comments from Pagara, the MTK Chief Strategy Officer Paul Gibson and D4G Promotions representative Ahmed A Seddiqi.
Pagara is quoted as saying:
“I am really excited to join with MTK Global and D4G Promotions. It’s a great honour to be part of the same team as some of the biggest names in professional boxing, so I am happy and thankful for this opportunity.
“I have a good record and I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved so far, but I feel I can still do so much more. That’s why I signed up with MTK Global and D4G Promotions.
“I started boxing when I was eight-years-old because of my father, and it led to my brother and I both becoming professional boxers and joining ALA Promotions. I give big credit to ALA Promotions for my success and most of what I have achieved in my career as a boxer. I wouldn’t be where I am now if not because of them.
“I hope to soon fight for a title, and I know MTK Global and D4G Promotions will help me in this regard. I have complete trust in them to help me achieve my dreams.”
Paul Gibson's comments were:
“The Filipino market is one we’ve been interested in for a long time so it is a pleasure to announce Albert Pagara as our first signing from the country.
“He is a fantastic addition to our super bantamweight stable where he sits high in the WBO rankings alongside Michael Conlan, Thomas Patrick Ward and Davey Oliver Joyce.
“We were very sorry to hear our friends at ALA Promotions were forced to close but we are determined to work with Filipino stars like Albert and help take them to the next level.”
Whilst Seddiqi is quoted as say:
“We’re thrilled to announce the signing of Albert Pagara, and we’re confident that by working with MTK Global we can help him achieve his dream of becoming world champion.
“He’s an extremely exciting talent, and we’re looking forward to seeing him showcase his skills when he returns to the ring in the near future.”
At the time of writing it's unclear when Pagara will be back in the ring though we wouldn't be surprised to see him fighting in Dubai in the future. That's D4G are based and where he actually fought back in 2015, stopping Jesus Antonio Rios.
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