Late on Saturday night we saw a new IBF Minimumweight champion being crowned in Mexico as local fighter Daniel Valladares (26-3-1, 15) over-came Filipino fighter Mark Rene Cuarto (20-3-2, 11), and dethroned the Filipno who was looking to make his second defense of the title, in a fight that was something of a hard to watch, sloppy affair with an awful lot of incidental head clashes and wrestling.
Early on Valladares tried to box, using good footwork, defensive skills and technical boxing to land clean at range and control the tempo. The action picked up in round 2 after Cuarto had seen what he challenger had, and in round 3 Cuarto some of his best shots, as he found a home for right hands that bothered the challenger. They were good rounds from the champion, but he didn't really look as skilled or as heavy handed as ghe challenger.
From there the bout descended into a bit of a downward spiral with head clashes marring round 4, which saw Valladares get the worst of them. Head clashes continued to play a role through the middle portion of the bout, as Cuarto had some really good moments whilst Valladares was left bloodied, damaged, cut and forced to pass a doctors inspection in round 7. The action could, genuine, have been stopped not due to the severity of the cuts, but due to the fact it was clear more head clashes would be happening, and they did.
Despite being cut Valladares showed a lot of grit in round 8, though did seem to touch down and perhaps should have had a knockdown scored against him, before having another doctor's inspection at the start of the following round.
The cuts were playing an issue for Valladares, who seemed to be more hurt and annoyed by them than anything Cuarto actually threw in the later rounds, with Cuarto further angering people in round 10 when his tape repeatedly came undone forcing the referee to deduct a point, something he could have done for the head clashes.
Having worked hard through much of the middle portion of the bout, and been fighting through cuts, Valladares slowed down in round 11 with the bout becoming a messy clinch fest for the final final 2 rounds. Which made an already ugly and frustrating bout even more ugly and frustrating. By the end of the bout both men looked tired, both swollen and busted, and although it had been messy there were exciting moments.
As we went to the scorecards it seemed hard to have this as anything but a clear win for Valladares, despite the cuts, and the punishment he took from the head of Cuarto. Surprisingly however this was closer on the cards than expected with scores of 115-112 and 116-111 for Valladares and a bizarre 114-113 to Cuarto, to give Valladares the win, and see him become the new IBF Minimumweight champion.
Following the it bout, it was reported that Cuarto's manager Sean Gibbons would be seeking a rematch due to the point deduction and the botched knockdown call.
The final big fight of the weekend saw us shifting our focus to Mexico to see IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2-1, 11) face off with Daniel Valladares (22-2-1, 13). This had the potential to be something very special, with both men being willing to let their hands go and fight.
Sadly the bout failed to truly live up it's potential, but it did end up being a fight well worthy of a watch, with 2 brilliantly matched fighters involved in it.
From the opening round it was clear that Taduran hadn't travelled with losing on his mind, and set a high tempo from the opening bell. On the other hand the more technically skilled Valladares looked to create room and space to work with, but it was the pressure of Taduran which seemed to catch the eye, and he seemed to rock the challenger once or twice before the round was over.
Notably the major talking point from the opening 3 minutes wasn't actually a punch, but instead a big accidental headclash that left Valladares badly cut on his right eye. The cut essentially meant that the bout wasn't going to go 12, unless miracles could be done by his corner.
Despite being cut Valladares fought a smart second round and began to control the distance better, limiting Taduran's raids along the way. It was just what the challenger needed to give his cut time to heal.
In round 3 the touch paper was lit, with both men putting their foot on the gas and letting their shots go more freely. The increase in action saw both men having moments as we began to see more and more frequent back and forth fighter, in what an excellent round. It seemed like Valladares may have just sneaked it, but it was close either way and set the platform for an intense and thrilling round 4 that saw almost none stop trading from the two men. This was a sensational round, with both wanting to make a statement.
Sadly the bout was curtailed after the 4th round to the cut, which had become uncontrollable and was covering Valldares' face with claret, and we went to the judges scorecards early. One of the 3 wise men gave the bout to Valledares, but thankfully he was over-ruled by the other 2 judges who both gave the bout to Taduran, who retains his title with a 4th round technical draw.
Given how exciting the bout was, and how it was really warming up when we hit the premature conclusion, we would love to see a rematch here, for both men. However we wouldn't be surprised if both ended ups going in different directions.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.