By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
WBO number one flyweight contender Giemel Magramo (24-1,20KO’s) of the Philippines and WBO number three Junto Nakatani (20-0,15KO’s) of Japan were supposed to square off last April for the vacant WBO world
But the match-up got postponed many times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Magramo remained in high spirits and continued to train. When the go signal was given to travel to Japan, he was ready.
“My training in the Philippines went well,” Magramo told this writer in a short chat, “We are now in Japan, but we have to quarantine. I am continuing to train inside the hotel.”
This bout is for the title vacated by Japan’s Kosei Tanaka last February.
“I’m happy to finally get a title shot. I won’t give any predictions. But this is an opportunity to prove myself. I am praying to God for success.” Magramo stated.
Magramo was also in a disheartening situation last year. He was penned to face Thailand’s Eaktawan Krungthepthonburi on September 7 in an IBF eliminator with the winner set to be the next challenger of IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane of South Africa. But, the Thai boxer was reported to have food poisoning and Magramo had to face substitute Richard Claveras and stopped him in three rounds. This however, did not lead to the title shot he had hoped for.
Nakatani also had his share of frustration. It was reported by asianboxing last March 18 that he left his training camp in the United States due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Nakatani has had cancel sparring with Luis Nery and returned to Japan.
Nakatani’s last two victims were Filipinos – Philip Luis Cuerdo who was knocked out in round one and former IBF world junior flyweight champ Milan Melindo, who was stopped in six. The 22 year old Japanese turned pro in 2015. He also beat three other Filipino boxers, Dexter Alimento,Jeronil Borres and Joel Taduran.
The 26 year old Magramo turned pro in 2012. His only career loss was by unanimous decision to Pakistani Muhammad Waseem in Seoul, South Korea. Magramo’s biggest road win was against the previously undefeated Chinese Wenfeng Ge in Suzhou,China. The fight was stopped at the end of the tenth when Ge suffered an eye injury.
File photo- Giemel Magramo in Suzhou,China last year.
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