By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
A year and a half after losing in an epic battle to Naoya Inoue, Nonito Donaire is a world champion again.
This time, he did it at 38 years old and established himself as the oldest bantamweight world titleholder in history. Donaire was the sentimental favorite here in his birthplace, the Philippines. But with every aging fighter, there will always be questions as to whether he can still pull the trigger.
He was also up against an unbeaten WBC champion, Frenchman Nordine Oubaali, four years his junior, who had previously stopped Filipino contenders Mark Anthony Geraldo and Arthur Villanueva.
But the Filipino Flash did it in style. Even in the tentative, range finding first two rounds, the entire Filipino boxing nation felt something spectacular was going to happen. The southpaw Oubaali couldn’t find the range and timing for his left.
Donaire did an excellent job with his feints, head movement and proceeded to cut the ring off, setting up Oubaali with a body punch followed by a counter left hook, dropping him in the third.
Most boxers would not have remained on the canvas, but Oubaali bravely got up, only to taste Donaire’s left hook again at the end of the round. Oubaali went down like he was shot.
No one would have blamed the referee if he stopped it at that point, but the count was given. Oubaali got up again and staggered to his corner, getting a few precious seconds to gather his wits.
The fourth round was like a nature documentary; the jungle predator chasing his prey. Donaire said in the post-fight interview, he planned to take shots just to get his left hook in. He knew Oubaali was going to make a mistake and pay for it.
A couple of hooks decked Oubaali again, this time, the referee signaled it was over. Donaire broke his personal record, he turned 35 years old a couple of weeks after he beat Ryan Burnett for the WBA bantamweight crown.
For the record, the previous oldest bantamweight world champ was Donaire’s countryman Gerry Penalosa, who was 36 when he took the WBO bantamweight title from Mexican Jhonny Gonzalez.
Hard to believe it’s been 14 years since he knocked out Vic Darchinyan for the IBF flyweight title. Donaire would go on to get an interim WBA belt at 115 then win the WBC and WBO bantamweight titles, the WBO junior featherweight and WBA featherweight titles. He would drop down and win more titles – WBO junior featherweight and WBA bantamweight.
In between, every time he lost - Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicholas Walters, Jessie Magdaleno,Carl Frampton and Inoue - there were those who thought his best years were behind him. But he kept bouncing back to add to his sure-fire Hall of Fame resume.
Nonito Donaire,Donnie Nietes and Manny Pacquiao are the only three Filipino boxers to win more than three world titles in different weights. Donaire has also beaten a total of 13 world champions.
Donaire (41-6,27KO’s) talked about facing Rigondeaux and Inoue again in his post-fight interview. His win against Oubaali in Carson,California will definitely give second thoughts to those who will peg him as an underdog again.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
IBF world junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas made a successful return after a sixteen month layoff and turned back the spirited challenge from Mexican Jonathan Javier Rodriguez at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
It was a bruising encounter that went the distance. Ancajas, from Davao del Norte in the Philippines, showcased his boxing skills and shook the challenger early in the fight. But Rodriguez remained aggressive and kept the pressure. Rounds were highlighted by heavy exchanges to the body and head.
The boxers fought at a torrid pace, the defending champion’s accuracy seemed to give him a slight edge past the halfway mark. Ancajas cornered Rodriguez in the eighth round and accumulation of punches dropped the Mexican.
But Rodriguez remained true to his country’s warrior heritage. He survived and fought back and managed to keep things interesting in the late rounds. Ancajas was willing to stand in front of him and trade shot for shot. Ancajas’ cornerman, Joven Jimenez, had to egg him on going into the final canto.
After more brutal exchanges, they embraced after the final bell as a sign of mutual respect. The three judges scored for the Filipino champion – 115-112,116-111,117-110.
Ancajas is now 33-1-2,22KO’s while Rodriguez drops to 21-2,15KO’s.
This was the ninth defense of the title he won from Puerto Rico’s McJoe Arroyo in September 2016. The ongoing pandemic made Ancajas, as well as other Filipino boxers, endure long months of inactivity.
After winning the IBF title in the Philippines, Ancajas had all of his defenses overseas. Sadly, he is seemingly the odd man out in a talent rich 115 lb dvision that includes Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada (WBA/WBC), Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez, Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Japan’s Kazuto Ioka (WBO).
Another Filipino, Mark Magsayo (22-0,15KO’s), fought on the undercard and remained unbeaten after decking Pablo Cruz (21-4,6KO’s) of Texas thrice in a one-sided affair. The referee mercifully stopped it in the fourth.
The featherweight Magsayo is ranked by all four major boxing bodies- WBO number 8,WBC number 5, IBF number 5 and WBA number 10.
File photo-Jerwin Ancajas during a visit to Beijing in 2017.
Contribution from freelance writer Jackie
World-class boxers like Manny Pacquiao make millions in the ring per match, but they also rely heavily on endorsements to boost their net worth, with Pacquiao himself said to have an earning potential of over $50 million from commercial endorsements. Boxing prowess, hard work, and a good record are the key pillars to success, but making the most of one’s talent is a matter of great marketing and branding. What do top boxers like Pacquiao, Mayweather, or Sugar Shane Mosley have to teach boxers about leveraging their boxing reputation through strategic branding?
The Age Of Reality
Ring TV’s Eric Raskin points out that modern boxers are taking advantage of the popularity of reality TV to reach wider audiences. You only need to look at the plethora of boxing documentaries/reality shows to glean the extent to which humanizing boxers and sharing their often incredible life stories can pique audience interest. Just a few shows with large viewings in recent years have included The Maverick (7.9M views on YouTube), Tyson Fury Road to Redemption (2.5M views), and Manny Pacquiao - PacMan (2.9M views). Boxers are also letting their fans in on everything from their diet to training regiments via Instagram stories, YouTube channels, and other social media genres.
Building On Empathy
Boxers are connecting with audiences on a deeper level, with boxers like Pacquiao known and loved for their authenticity and their ability to appeal to ideals such as the value of hard work and the power of the underdog to rise above his opponents through grit and determination. Boxers wishing to extend their brand need to align with the values of younger generations, so if you are wanting to take your name to a wider audience, ensure that your name is associated with values such respect for diversity, alliance with the right causes, and a desire to effect positive change. Online marketing strategists recommend inclusivity in everything from websites to social media channels. Showing you respect minority and diverse groups through your content and the images you choose for your channels will mark you as a modern boxer who isn’t stuck in antiquated ways of thinking.
Choosing Bankable Opponents
Choosing an opponent that will bring your name to a wider audience should be on your mind when building a brand, since mismatched competitions can result in an audience losing interest. Recently, renowned boxers have shown how marketing can work to join bases of two different fight modalities - as occurred in the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. Mayweather made a record $275 million for this fight, while McGregor took home around $85 million - impressive yet understandable, considering that the fight generated an impressive 4.3 million pay-per-view purchases. Recently, Mayweather has announced that he will be taking on the relatively inexperienced YouTube star, Logan Paul, in a match to be held in February. Without a doubt, the event will also result in big earnings, both for the fighters and for the event organizers.
Boxers wishing to build a strong brand must rely on strategy in everything from their choice of social media content to the opponents they choose. Those who are just starting out can learn plenty from the greats - including the value of authenticity and the importance of sharing one’s story. Boxers often have incredible tales of valor to share, and many have inspired children and adults across the globe to face life and its challenges with their gloves on.
By Rene V. Bonsubre,Jr
Rene Mark Cuarto added his name to the list of Filipino world title-holders by beating countryman Pedro Taduran by unanimous decision for the IBF world minimumweight title.
Both were tentative in the early going but things got heated in the third. They engaged at close quarters but Cuarto’s left hook and right lead, both time tested weapons against a southpaw like Taduran, began to find their mark.
Taduran pressed the action, while Cuarto was more effective using lateral movement to find angles for his left hook and counter right. The rounds were highlighted by heated exchanges.
In the seventh, Taduran shook Cuarto with a hard left and had the challenger backing up. But Cuarto recovered in the eighth as Taduran continued his pressure. The fight was close and up for grabs going into the last two rounds. It was matter of which style the judges’ preferred, Taduran’s aggressiveness or Cuarto’s counterpunching which was the overall trend of the fight.
The three judges – Roel Densing, Brembot Dulalas, and Rodel Garde all had it 115-113 for Cuarto. The third man in the ring was Sabas Ponpon,Jr.
Taduran was defending for the second time. In February of last year, he had a four round technical draw against Mexican challenger Daniel Valladares in Guadalupe,Mexico.
The fight was aired live online courtesy of Powcast Sports. In his post-fight interview, Cuarto stated they studied Taduran’s fighting style and their game plan was exactly what happened during the fight.
The latest IBF rankings had Cuarto at number 3 going into this bout. Because of the ongoing pandemic, Taduran was idle for a year while Cuarto did not fight for 14 months
The 24 year old Cuarto is now 19-2-2,11KO's while Taduran,also 24 years old, drops to 14-3-1,11KO's.
For the main undercard bouts, Orlie Silvestre beat Bonjun Loperez by UD, Vincent Astrolabio beat Jerry Pabila in one round, Genesis Libranza also stopped John Mark Apolinario in one round.
This card was held behind closed doors at the Bula Gym in General Santos City. This was also the second all-Filipino world title fight held on local shores this month. Last weekend, Vic Saludar won the secondary WBA world minimumweight title by split decision against Robert Paradero.
The other Filipino world champs are Jerwin Ancajas (IBF junior bantamweight) and Johnriel Casimero (WBO bantamweight).
File Photo- Rene Mark Cuarto (right) in Beijing with trainer Nonoy Neri in 2017.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
There was no changing of the guard in the minimumweight division in the Philippines as veteran Vic Saludar turned back the young and hungry Robert Paradero by split verdict in their clash for the vacant WBA regular world title.
Paradero came out swinging in the opening round while Saludar preferred to engage in a chess game of box and counter. A clash of heads in the second round cut both boxers but did not affect their fighting ability.
Both had trouble landing more than one shot at a time early on. Paradero went for Saludar’s midsection while Saludar was more effective timing his jab and one-two combinations. Paradero’s hook shook Saludar in the fourth and his body shots made Saludar think twice in the seventh. In between, Saludar’s accuracy got him points in the scoring areas.
In the ninth and tenth, Paradero moved around more and was more effective. Saludar however, showed championship poise in the last two rounds. Perhaps thinking the fight was much closer, Saludar fired his straight punches;Paradero may have removed his foot on the gas pedal too soon.
The scores - Aquil Tamano 115-113 and Danrex Tapdasan 116-112 for Saludar, while Alfie Jocosol scored for Paradero,118-110. The referee was Nowel Haduca.
The 30 year old Saludar is now 21-4,11KO's while the 24 year old Paradero suffered his first loss, 18-1,12KO's.
Saludar’s trainer Jojo Palacios had chat with this writer after the bout. He credits the hard training and game plan for the win.
“We allowed Paradero to attack, then counter.” Palacios said. “We expected him to be aggressive, he is hungry. But we knew we had an advantage in a long fight.
Saludar’s experience as a former WBO world mini-flyweight champion and former national amateur boxing team member paid off. Paradero entered the bout unbeaten but didn’t see any action abroad and was getting his first world title shot.
In the main supporting bout Carl Jammes Martin (17-0,15KO’s) remained unbeaten and knocked out Joe Tejones (13-8,7KO’s) with a hard right to the body in the fifth.
The fight was held in a football stadium in Binan City, Laguna but was behind closed doors due to covid-19 protocols and broadcast live on facebook and youtube.
Thammanoon Niyomtrong (21-0,7KO's) of Thailand is the 105 lb. division 'super' champion of the WBA and a 'unification' with Saludar would be an intriguing match-up.
Photo- Vic Saludar victorious vs Robert Paradero
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
Philippine boxing took a hard body blow in 2020. The continuing spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) forced quarantine and lockdown procedures in the Philippines and lead to the cancellation of boxing promotions and all sports activities throughout the country. Boxing returned four months ago but continues to be held behind closed doors.
But things are slowly getting back to normal. A world title fight on home soil is a sign of hope. On February 20, former WBO world champion Vic Saludar (20-4,11KO's) will face unbeaten Robert Paradero (18-0,12KO's) for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) minimumweight title in Biñan, Laguna.
This match-up had already been moved twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The two were originally set last December 5 and then January 30.
This will be the third all-Filipino world title bout on local shores. In 1925, Pancho Villa beat Clever Sencio by 15 round unanimous decision to retain the world flyweight crown in Wallace Field in Manila. In 2019, Pedro Taduran stopped Samuel Salva in Taguig City for the vacant IBF world minimumweight title. Two other all-Filipino world title fights were held in the United States in 2018-Jerwin Ancajas WUD12 Jonas Sultan (IBF jr.bantamweight title) and Donnie Nietes D12 Aston Palicte (vacant WBO jr.bantamweight title).
The 30 year old Saludar, who resides in Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, is already on his fifth day in the hotel bubble with trainer Jojo Palacios.
Palacios told this writer that their training went well and Saludar is just a pound over the contracted weight of 105 lbs. He is confident Saludar’s championship experience will pull him through.
The 25 year old Paradero, on the other hand, told this writer in a short chat that he is confident he can overcome the experience gap and beat Saludar. Paradero is also isolating in a gym. He has been inactive for almost 22 months due to the covid lockdown.
Saludar has the shorter lay-off at 14 months. He took the WBO 105 lb division title in Kobe,Japan last July 13, 2018 against Ryuya Yamanaka by unanimous decision. Last February, He beat another Japanese Masataka Taniguchi also by unanimous decision at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo in his first defense. He lost to Puerto Rican Wilfedo Mendez by unanimous verdict in San Juan,Puerto Rico.
In his first world title shot in 2015, Saludar was stopped by then WBO champ Kosei Tanaka in six rounds.
Saludar was a member of the Philippine amateur boxing team. He won a bronze medal in the light flyweight class in the 2010 Asian Games and his brother Rey won the gold in the flyweight category.
Photo- Vic Saludar (left) and Robert Paradero
Contribution from freelance writer Jackie
Boxers engage in vigorous training - including strength training, running, and resistance training - all of which stress the physiological systems and require nutritional support for good recovery. A recent review by international sports scientists has laid out new guidelines for protein intake for athletes engaging in intense workouts. The review, which focused on track and field athletes in particular, recommended an intake of 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (or 1.6 to 2.5 grams for those wishing to minimize the loss of lean body mass). Guidelines set for boxers are similar, however, with Maximuscle recommending that boxers aiming to make weight prior to a match, consume between 1.8 and 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day.
Why Is Protein So Important For Boxers?
Protein is key to many more functions than simply growing or maintaining muscle. This body breaks down proteins into essential amino acids that are responsible for a host of activities. Consuming a wide array of proteins is important for boxers because each amino acid bestows different benefits on the body. Some, like lysine (found in meat, eggs, and dairy products) aid in muscle turnover and strengthen the immune system. Others, like tryptophan, regulate your sleep, appetite and mood. Methionine, meanwhile, helps the body get rid of toxins and promotes tissue growth. Protein is also key for boxers wishing to make weight prior to a match because it stimulates the production of a hormone called peptide YY. This helps athletes reduce their food intake.
Upping The Appeal Of Protein
Boxers who are consuming higher-than-usual amounts of protein can stick to their regimen by ensuring that foods are prepared in an attractive fashion and enjoyed in good company. Ambience, too, is important. Outdoor meals can help boxers reduce stress hormone (cortisol) levels prior to a match, ensuring that they get a good night’s sleep as their match day approaches. Outdoor griddles or barbecues are additionally a good way to socialize and benefit from the company of friends and loved ones. Ensure you cook a wide variety of proteins and vegetables so as to make the occasion seem more like a feast. Keep griddle food preparation safe by using the right tools, ensuring the griddle is far from both adults and children, and practicing good fire safety. For instance, the griddle should not be within three feet of furniture or ceilings, and a fire extinguisher should always be nearby.
Ideal Proteins For Boxers To Enjoy
Stick to lean, high quality proteins to boost muscle recovery and help you achieve your weight goals. Top sources include grass-fed beef and chicken; wild Omega-3-rich fish such as wild salmon; organic dairy products such as Greek yoghurt; organic eggs; and organic soy products. You should also include a wide array of plant-based protein sources such as seeds, nuts and beans to help you reach your protein requirements while keeping your cholesterol levels low. You can also give yourself a protein boost when necessary by consuming whey protein in the form of protein powders.
If you are training for an upcoming match, consuming the recommended amount of protein for boxers is vital. Aim to consume top quality products obtained from organic sources. Finally, ensure food is prepared in an attractive fashion and in the company of friends and loved ones. Enjoying your meal in the great outdoors will help battle stress and offer good reason for a social get-together.
By Troy Parslow
As the Korakuen Hall welcomed fans for a WBO flyweight arrival on Friday, Junto Nakatani pulled Giemel Magramo into his centre and dispatched him in eight rounds.
Opening in a strong, low stance, not struggling for his timing punching down at a shorter opponent as a result, and occupying Magramo's guard at mid-range, Nakatani set the tone: hurting Magramo with an off-beat counter left hand as the visitor was baited into hooking around the jab—swinging a feel-out round and all momentum with it. Being hurt effortlessly, and just the two minutes into the contest, is quite a brutal awakening for someone whose wearing counters is an occupational hazard he so often disregards for their (lack of) consequences.
Whether Magramo was hurt too often to risk shuffling forward through long-mid-short range or disturbed by Nakatani's lead hand, as soon as the head began hanging so precariously over his front foot and the upper body movement—highlighted before the fight in being crucial in keeping Nakatani honest—made way for low, shapeless entries, it felt to this fan that the writing was on the wall. Nakatani punished the Filipino's bent shape, loading both hips—even upon falling short—to finish his combinations with leveraged, arching punches.
Stepping back, around Magramo's front foot, pushing him off before stepping out from the clinch, pivoting into space; Nakatani was able to create separation whenever it occurred to him and, by extension, manage the rounds on his terms. By the fifth, Magramo's exaggerated role as puncher was forgotten and the dynamic flipped. In stealing his rhythm and forcing Magramo to pick up his feet, Nakatani was the puncher—troubling his man with whatever he couldn't anticipate or roll.
If nothing else proving his mettle and industry, it would, however, be wrong to overlook Magramo's successes coming back. On more equal terms rounds two through four and even in the sixth, moving in behind right hand leads with a level change, he managed to find the body and a home for short uppercuts and counters. Head-on-shoulder, trying for space with a forearm and disrupting Nakatani's stance enough to land his own cuffing shots before being turned, or slipping an arm out to unsettle him from underneath in the clinch. Not particularly pretty, sometimes desperate, but getting through all the same.
Still, Magramo met the end of round six and the vanity of his inroads with a grimace. The bodywork seen snaking around the guard, and more so under it, taking its toll and the giant delivering it looking as strong as I've ever seen, Magramo unravelled with his resistance. He couldn't move Nakatani in six rounds and, now struggling to cover the distance behind a right hand, the next two were less kind.
Between last ditch raids and a couple of glances at his corner, Magramo was guided into space or retreating to the ropes as Nakatani played with step-back counters and poked at the body. Ninety seconds left in the eight, a sweeping left hand, disguised with a level change and hidden by a jab, ushered in the finish sending Magramo bouncing each side of the ring as Nakatani timed the rebounds. Falling on his front, Magramo succumbed to his imbalance—climbing to his feet before referee Nobuto Ikehara translated defeat in his gape and waved the fight.
I think Magramo's lack of shape and pressure is the main catalyst for his undoing, and it has a couple of roots. First off, barely trying to apply his normal feints after he was hurt suggests he didn't expect be—hurt, that is—and he very rarely is. He looked panicked, therefore unwilling to to risk playing with his rhythm at mid-range for fear of getting timed again. Then there's obviously Nakatani's ability to make Magramo reset and draw him in again. Case in point at 2:40 of the fourth round: Magramo bites of a couple of foot feints, moving to parry a jab and then throwing a right hand as if to counter another; Nakatani anticipates, stepping back with a counter left hand(just missing) as he guides Magramo past him and the right hand over his shoulder. With Magramo not giving him many looks and entering the pocket predictably, it was too easy for Nakatani to break up any success, reasserting his dominance by creating space and dominant angles.
That's not to say Magramo would win if he could hold the long combinations and counter more on his own time, but it might've looked more the fight we were(I was) expecting. In some respects Magramo looked as he always does:catching or rolling punches, accumulating short counters and shovel hooks to body. A lot of his best work is subtle and even if he was losing those moments to the more proactive and far more consistent wide flourishes of Nakatani, the fight wasn't always mismatched. We knew Nakatani was more complete and he laid it all out there for us again. What we do now know better than ever is his ability to keep his discipline and gameplan against a world class fighter—expertly managing the rounds and punishing the body.
Make no mistake, well beaten and finished, Magramo(24-2) demands your respect. In the heat of a second wave, he saw to the fight being realised(at the sixth time of asking) travelling away to Japan, weathered days quarantined in his hotel—running the hallways and hitting mitts in the rooms for preparation—and walked into the fire until he was burnt out. If Nakatani made sure we wouldn't see 'Pistolero's best version, he allowed for his most audacious. Never looking to survive, his reaction to being hurt was valorous, if a little bit concerning for the success of future challenges. Ever the action fighter, he wins, and looks great, or he goes out on his shield—the full “Skull and Bones” Magramo experience, if you will.
So what of the winner? What's next for Nakatani(21-0, 18)? Whoever's chosen, he's left little doubt he'll be ready. Previewing the fight, I considered him one of the fastest maturing fighters in the sport and, re-watching Friday's coup, it occurred to me that he's only accelerating. Stronger, more powerful, more efficient, improved with every fight, how he managed a talented Magramo and reduced him to a one-speed brawler was upsetting, honestly, and a little bit special at just his 22 years.
The best skill set in the flyweight division is of bantamweight proportions, and you'd be brave to doubt it.
Contribution from freelance writer Jackie
How Art Can Help Your Boxing Strategy
Physical activity has an important role in helping mental health conditions, but it also improves focus, discipline and the ability to strategize. Many people take up boxing for these reasons. Boxers like Caliente Koyasu also enjoy to relax and experience nature, which can be a good way to achieve focus before and after a fight. Boxing is a mental sport as much as it is a physical one;, therefore it is important to ensure the mind is trained and taken care of. Taking up art can be a way to improve the attention span and increase focus, both of which are required in boxing. Have a look at some of the art forms that you can try in order to become a better fighter.
Design For Clarity
Designing your home environment can help you reduce stress and optimize focus before every fight. Studies have shown that having a simple picture of nature on your wall can reduce stress levels and induce calm. This can also be achieved by adding color to your walls or ceilings. Greens help to mimic the calming effect, while colors like orange and yellow lift energy levels. Keeping your space open, with lots of natural light, can also help to prevent low mood. The presence of plants in the home can also alleviate feelings of anxiousness, according to a 2014 study, as can the presence of pets. A simple redesign can help your mind feel clearer before a fight.
Draw For Focus
Drawing to distract before a fight can improve your mood and increase your focus. It doesn’t matter if you have never drawn before or do not think you are a skilled artist: learning how to draw can help with discipline. Focusing on the finer details of a portrait, such as the muscles around the eyes, could help you to look out for signs that your opponent is about to make a certain move during a fight. Even simple doodling has been shown to help you focus, relieve stress and improve productivity according to a 2009 study. Drawing or painting can keep the brain active and help you to recall information more efficiently, which can be helpful in boxing.
Create For Calm
Many fighters quickly report physical injuries or issues, but mental health problems are often under reported. This is perhaps due to the perceived strength of boxers and the stigma that surrounds mental health problems. However, as one in four people are likely to have a mental health condition, it is likely that many boxers do too. Getting creative can help to soothe your mood before a fight. Creation comes in many forms: some people create a new piece of furniture; others prefer to try a little DIY around the home. Crafting can also be a new skill, and you can even customize your own boots and shorts with your brand.
Boxing is often seen to be an art-form in itself, but learning another skill can help you to regain focus and improve your strategy. As art requires concentration and thought, it could help you to apply the same principles to your boxing technique.
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.
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.