By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
It will not be an easy mission for Filipina Jessebelle Pagaduan (12-1-1,5KO's) when she challenges WBO Female light flyweight world champion Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1,15KO's) of Japan next month at the Uchinoura Ginga Arena, Kimotsuki-cho in Kagoshima, Japan.
Asianboxing first reported this story last November 20 with the date of the fight on December 16. Last check on boxrec, Tsunami is on a card set on December 14, so there may be changes on the date later on.
Pagaduan is trained by Jhun Agrabio, who has former world champions Marvin Sonsona and John Riel Casimero on his resume.
Agrabio knows his boxer is in for a tough task, “I am familiar with the Japanese’s style.” He told this writer in a short chat, “She has speed and power. But we will prepare and train hard for this title fight.”
It was in 2014 when Pagaduan had her first world title attempt and lost to Japanese Nao Ikeyama by unanimous decision in Osaka for the WBO Atomweight (102lbs) world title. Ikeyama is known for being the WBO Atomweight champ for four years with six successful defenses before she lost by split decision to fellow Japanese Mika Iwakawa.
Pagaduan’s second world title attempt in 2015 was also against another Japanese. It ended in a technical draw against WBO world female miniflyweight champ Kumiko Seeser Ikehara.
Pagaduan is a 35 years old southpaw from Benguet. Since her last attempt at world crown she scored five wins, including two against Christine Latube and a unanimous verdict against Thai Sarayanphong Theinthong in Bangkok.
Tsunami is also 35 years old and has seen her share of ups and downs. In 2009 She won the WBA world junior bantamweight title by split decision against Xiyan Zhang of China. After four defenses she lost to fellow Japanese Naoko Yamaguchi by unanimous decision.
She had failed attempts to win the WBC and IBF world titles and then moved down in weight in 2018 and won the vacant WBO world junior flyweight title by RTD round 8 against another Japanese Chaoz Minowa. Tsunami defended twice against Filipina Gretchen Abaniel (TKO4) and Japanese Naoko Fujioka in a split draw last July.
When it comes to world title experience, Pagaduan will be the underdog. But Agrabio will be her asset in the corner. Agrabio guided Marvin Sonsona to the WBO world junior bantamweight title in 2009. Sonsona became the second youngest Filipino world champion when he beat Puerto Rican Jose Lopez by unanimous verdict in Canada. But his career was marred by reported lack of discipline and he lost his belt at the scales in his first defense. Despite the efforts of many to motivate him, Sonsona never won a world title again.
Agrabio was the trainer of John Riel Casimero in 2016 when he captured the IBF flyweight title with his revenge fourth round knockout win over Thailand’s Amnat Ruenroeng in Beijing. The first bout of Ruenroeng and Casimero was a controversial foul-fest which ended in a unanimous win for the Thai in Bangkok. Casimero and Agrabio have since parted ways with Casimero now looking for a third world title against Zolani Tete while Agrabio looks for a third world champion.
File photo – Jessebelle Pagaduan with Trainer Jhun Agrabio on the left
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