Earlier today Sunstar.com, a Filipino news website, reported the possible futures of two former ALA Gym fighters, who became free agents last month when ALA closed it's doors after 35 years.
The article on Sunstar states that former world title challenger Jonas Sultan (16-5, 10) has been offered a chance to join Roy Jones Jr's stable, Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions. If he does that he would end up joining a number of other Filipino fighters under Jones' promotional group, including former world title challenger Aston Palicte.
It also explains that the brilliant and highly touted KJ Cataraja (11-0, 9) has been made various offers, and is hoping to sign with the Ohashi Gym, who have been amassing a very strong stable in Yokohama. The talented Cataraja has spent time in Japan, sparring at the Ohashi Gym and spending time in the ring with Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], and it does seem likely that Japan will be the place for him going forward.
Interestingly Yokohama Hikari, who have had links with ALA gym in the past, weren't mentioned in the article, though we suspect that they have enquired about a number of top Filipino fighters left without a promoter.
For those wanting to read the Sunstar article that can be read in full here.
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.
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)
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