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.
Earlier today in Digos City fight fans had the chance to see IBF Minimumweight champion Rene Mark Cuarto (20-2-2, 11) make his first defense of his title as he defeated the man he beat for the title last year, Pedro Taduran (14-4-1, 11). This bout, much like their first bout, was a controversial one, and one with a lot to talk about. In fact this one was much more controversial than their first, which was marred by Cuarto holding to survive for much of the later rounds.
The fight started with Taduran looking to be the aggressor, but it wasn't long until Cuarto found his range and used the ring well to counter Taduran's aggression and press . It was as if the fight had started in round 12 of their rivalry, and neither seemed to feel too much of a need to ease their way into the bout. This made a fun start to the action, but also one that had more than it's share of holding, and wrestling as the stances, as Cuarto tried to thwart Taduran up close.
In round 2 we had the first moment of drama, as Taduran touched down following a scrappy series of shots from Cuarto, ended with a left hand that sent Taduran off balance. The knockdown wasn't a painful one for Taduran but did secure Cuarto a 10-8 round.
We had more drama the following round when Cuarto was punished for an intentional headbutt, losing 2 points for the infraction. The headbutt wasn't the first time Cuarto's head had been involved in the fight, but was a pretty blatant one which left the referee with little option but to remove points from the champion and give him a very stern warning before looking through Tarudan's hair for a cut. Although it didn't appear there was much, if any blood, this wouldn't be the only time heads would collide in the bout.
The flash point in round 3 seemed to serve as a wake up to both men to sort stuff out and the fight clean up afterwards, with Taduran again becoming the aggressor and Cuarto the boxer. The aggression of power of Taduran certainly caught the eye, though so did the boxing, moving and counter punching skills of Cuarto who moved well and picked his spots very well, despite being under intense pressure late in the round. Round 5 was much like round 4, with Taduran applying pressure, and the bout being a very hard one to call as both were incredibly competitive in some great back and forth.
As we looked to be heading towards a really good fight we then ended up with more drama in round 6 as we got the second knockdown, which was an odd one as Taduran seemed to get pushed down and have a count put against him. The drama for the round however wasn't over and a headclash, just moments later, lead to Taduran being cut on the hair line. This time blood was pouring from his head and the doctor was forced to have an inspection. Taduran passed the inspection but by the end of the round his face was a crimson mask. The two men began round 7 but it wasn't long until the cut was a mess again, and this time the doctor said enough was enough, and halted the bout.
The stoppage from the doctor lead to the bout being stopped and us going to the scorecards early in round 7. The cards were, understandably, odd looking but close, with scores of 65-64 to Cuarto, 65-65 even and 66-64 to Cuarto who retained his title with a majority technical decision.
If we're being honest we feel that Cuarto is a very lucky boy here. Both knockdown calls were some what questionable and the repeated headclashes could have seen him DQ'd, especially after the early deductions. If Ginjiro Shigeoka and his team are sniffing around for a world title it wouldn't be a huge shock to see them target Cuarto after this bout.
To close the month of February in the Philippines we got a rare All-Filipino world title bout as the defending IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-3-1, 11) clashed with the unheralded Rene Mark Cuarto (19-2-2, 11). The bout was an interesting one going in, with Taduran having a reputation for his heavy hands and pressure and Cuarto being a talented boxer, but a man taking a big step up in class.
Early on it was the boxing of Cuarto that was the key, with the challenger boxing really well on the back foot. Cuarto seemed fully aware that having a firefight with Taduran in the middle of the ring wasn't going to be a good idea, and instead moved, boxed, and picked his spots, landing some brilliant uppercuts as Taduran came in. It was the boxing, counter punching and movement of Cuarto that allowed him to control the pressure of Taduran, and the clean, crisp, combinations that Cuarto landed allowed him to catch the eye and rack up the rounds.
From the early part of the fight it was round 3 that really got the blood flowing, with Taduran being tagged hard by a Cuarto counter in a thrilling exchange, Cuarto pressed forward himself at one point during the round, before Taduran tried to finish with a strong rally. It was a brilliant round but it was another that showed the obvious skill level of Cuarto, which was higher than that of Taduran.
After 6 rounds it seemed the challenger was comfortably in the lead, but that was only half the task and Taduran wasn't in the ring to hand over his title, or to change tactics, as he kept coming forward. No matter what Cuarto landed Taduran came on, and came on. And had limited success until round 7, when he shook Cuarto to his knees. The challenger was suddenly in trouble, and was clearly hurt for almost a minute of the round, before regrouping, surviving what was left of the round and seeing his way to his corner. He was hurt again in round 8 as Taduran's pressure began to find more and more cracks in Cuarto's resistance.
To his credit Cuarto didn't panic, he didn't worry and he didn't seem to doubt himself. Instead he began to spoil, create distance and try to kill the momentum that Taduran was building. He knew he had to survive, and that's what he was doing, despite being rocked again at the end of round 9. He knew he was in the lead, he knew he only needed to win one of the late rounds and he knew that this was his bout to lose.
Sadly round 10 saw the stream fall apart, though when we were back in round 11 we saw an exciting round, as Taduran continued to try and march forward, hunting a stoppage and Cuarto turned into a seasoned veteran, trying to old man Taduran. He was walking around the ring, landing single shots and getting on his toes. It wasn't the most appealing style at times from Cuarto, but it was exactly what he needed.
Cuarto's toughness and determination saw him surviving round 12 as well, despite looking tired at times and being rocked, again. It was clear he could be hurt, but he was not going to be stopped. Not today, this was his day.
After 12 rounds we went to the scorecards, and it was clearly a close fight, with Cuarto dominating the early rounds with his clean boxing, good movement, and accurate punching, then Taduran coming on strong in the second half. The scorecards reflected the close nature of the bout, with all 3 judges turning in identical 115-113 scorecards. Unfortunately for Taduran they didn't side with him, instead going with Cuarto who's early success saw him do enough to take the title and become the new IBF Minimumweight champion.
Sadly for Taduran this ends a reign that started with a lot promise, following a sensational win over Samuel Salva, though never really got going, due in part to Covid19. As for Cuarto this is a career defining win, and he looked much, much better than the man who lost to the aforementioned Salva in early 2019.
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.