Earlier today the brilliant ESPN Knockout twitter page broke the news that IBF Minimumweight champion Rene Mark Cuarto (20-2-2, 11) would be returning to the ring on May 27th, in Monterrey, Mexico, to defend his title against Daniel Valladares (25-3-1, 15).
The champion won the title in February 2021, when he took a controversial decision win over Pedro Taduran. He made his first defense this past February, winning in another controversial bout with Taduran. Notably this will be only his second bout outside of the Philippines, and his first one outside of Asia. With that in mind he will certainly feel a hostile atmosphere, but given his two wins over Taduran he will enter the bout with a lot of confidence.
As for Valladares the Mexican will be getting his second shot at the IBF title, following a technical draw in 2020 with Pedro Taduran. Notably since that bout he has gone 3-2, with both losses being controversial ones above the Minimumweight limit. Despite those losses he is very dangerous, and last May he scored a very solid win over Julian Yedras, who he stopped in 3 rounds. He will know that he's the local favourite here, and will be lookign to make the most of his second shot at the belt.
Tomorrow in the Philippines we'll see IBF Minimumweight champion Rene Mark Cuarto (19-2-2, 11) look to make his first defense as he takes on Pedro Taduran (14-3-1, 11), the man he beat for the title last year. With the two young Filipino fighters clashing in Digos City.
Today, ahead of their much anticipated bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 105lb limit with no issues at all.
Cuarto came in massively under the limit, at 101.8lbs, which is amazingly under the limit for the female only Atomweight division which has a maximum weight of 102lbs. This will go down as one of the lowest recorded for a defending world champion. Despite being light on the scales this could actually have been a very deliberate move and we suspect his idea is to use speed, movement and energy to boxing on the back foot. as he did in the first fight with Taduran. The game plan worked last February, though he did only just squeak over the line, and he'll maybe feel a few pounds lighter will help him over the line here.
Taduran on the other hand was bang on the 105lb divisional limit, which is actually 1lb heavier than he was in their first bout. Strangely he is often 104lbs for bouts, and whilst the extra 1lb might not be a lot, it might just give him a little bit more in the clinch, and we suspect that will be an area he wants this fight to be fought at, especially given how he struggle to tie down Cuarto in their first bout.
Related - Taduran seeks revenge as he takes on Cuarto!
Tomorrow in General Santos City we'll get the chance to see IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2-1, 11) defending his title against fellow Filipino Rene Mark Cuarto (18-2-2, 11), in a rare all-Filipino world title bout.
Today the two men took part in their weight in for the contest, and neither man had any issues with the 105lb Minimumweight limit.
The champion was the lighter man on the scales, hitting them at 104lbs exactly, a full 1lb under the maximum allowed. He was out-weighed by the challenger, who hit the limit at 105lbs exactly.
For Taduran this bout will be his second defense, and he will be looking to build on his 2019 title win, against Samuel Salva, and his disappointing 2020 defense against Daniel Valladares, which ended in a technical draw after a headclash forced an early conclusion to a contest that was just starting to warm up. It was an unfortunate ending to the bout, and hopefully we will get to see the two men fight again one day.
As for Cuarto this is his first world title bout, and is, on paper, his toughest bout to date. Despite that he will feel he's as ready as he can be for a bout like this and it'll be great to see if he can raise his game to match the high profile of this bout. He should be regarded as the under-dog but will certainly be a live under-dog and the man looking to step out from the shadows of other Filipino fighters at 105lbs.
Interestingly this is the second "all Filipino world title bout" of the month, following the "we don't know which version" of the WBA Minimimweight title bout, between Vic Saludar and Robert Paradero. On paper this one seems to have the ingredients to be a very, very explosive encounter, and is set to be streamed online via the Powcast YouTube channel.
Related - Taduran takes on Cuarto in All-Filipino world title fight!
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
IBF minimumweight world champion Pedro Taduran will defend his belt against fellow Filipino Rene Mark Cuarto in General Santos City on February 27. Team Taduran travelled from the island of Luzon to Mindanao and will undergo routine quarantine and covid-19 procedures. They were however in high spirits and manager Art Monis told this writer in a short chat that their training camp went extremely well.
This will be the second defense for Taduran (14-2-1,11KO's). In February of last year, he had a four round technical draw against Mexican challenger Daniel Valladares in Guadalupe,Mexico.
But the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic gave Philippine boxing a big blow and the majority of fighters had to endure months of inactivity. The challenger, IBF number 8 ranked Cuarto (18-2-2,11KO's) has not fought for 14 months. With the champion idle for a year, it will be interesting to see who is in better condition on fight night.
Taduran won the vacant IBF title in 2019 against countryman Samuel Salva in Taguig City. Salva knocked down Taduran in the first but a heated offense from Taduran wilted Salva who capitulated before the bell for the fifth round. This was the first all-Filipino world title fight held in local shores since 1925, when Pancho Villa beat Clever Sencio by 15 round unanimous decision to retain the world flyweight crown in Wallace Field in Manila.
Cuarto actually lost to Salva in an IBF ranking eliminator last March 23,2019. This will be his first world title shot. In his last fight, he beat Jayson Francisco by fifth round TKO.
This title fight is set at the Bula Gym in Gen.Santos City.
Photos- Fight poster and Pedro Taduran (left) and manager Art Monis on the plane to Gen. Santos City
Earlier today RealFight PH broke the news that WBO Oriental Bantamweight champion Vincent Astrolabio (15-3, 11) would be defending his title against world ranked Flyweight contender Genisis Libranza (19-1, 11) on February 27th.
For Astrolabia this will be his third defense since winning the title in April 2019, when he stopped previously unbeaten Indonesian Patrick Liukhoto in 9 rounds in Jakarta. Since then he notched defenses against Kevin Aseniero and Wilbert Berondo, stopping both men.
The 23 year old champion has turned his career around well after suffering 3 defeats in 5 fights, including a decision loss to John Mark Apolinario, a TKO loss to Yuki Strong Kobayashi and a narrow decision loss to ZongLi He in China and will be coming into this bout with some genuine momentum.
Libranza on the other hand is a 27 year old challenger who turned professional in 2014 and was unbeaten until he challenged the then IBO Flyweight champion Mortui Mthalane in 2017., with Mthalane stopping him in 4 rounds. Since that loss he has has reeled off 8 straight wins, including victories over Michael Enriquez, Ryan Rey Ponteras and Renz Rosia. Those wins have seen him climb into the
The current winning run of Libranza has seen him break into the WBO, WBC and IBF world rankings, and he currently has a very high IBF ranking. Despite that he will be moving up in weight for this bout, and we do wonder if he can really compete up at Bantamweight.
This bout has been added to the February 27th card headlined by IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2-1, 11), who will be defending his title against fellow Filipino Rene Mark Cuarto (18-2-2, 11) in General Santos City.
A huge thanks, as always, to Ian Melodillar for bringing this story to our attention.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!