Taduranstakes title in Mexico
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — IBF minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran leaves for Mexico via Tokyo this morning to make the first defense of his crown against hometowner Daniel Valladares at the Gimnasio Cedereg in Guadalupe, Nueva Leon, on Feb. 1 with former IBF lightflyweight titlist and trainer Tacy Macalos providing sage guidance in his corner.

Taduran, 23, will be accompanied by Macalos, promoter Art Monis, registered manager Vilma Monis and Juan Monis to Mexico. MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons arranged for Taduran to arrive a week before the fight to acclimatize and has designated Javier Jimenez, a Mexican who has worked with Zanfer Promotions for 20 years, to take care of the traveling party. Gibbons plans to fly in for the weigh-in and attend the fight.

“Pedro’s a tough kid,” said Gibbons. “He went 12 rounds against undefeated Wanheng Menayothin in Thailand. If Pedro survived Thailand, he’ll survive Mexico. He reminds me of Sen. Manny (Pacquiao). Pedro’s a non-stop punching machine. I’m confident he’ll win by a late stoppage or decision.”

But Valladares is no pushover. He logged four fights last year, including two against Filipinos Christian Araneta and Merlito Sabillo both of whom were stopped. His record is 22-1, with 13 KOs, and he’s unbeaten in his last 11 outings. Valladares’s only loss was by a majority eight-round decision to countryman Genaro Rios in 2016 and that came after an 11-0 start. Taduran’s record is 14-2, with 11 KOs. He has won eight of his last nine assignments.

Macalos’ presence is a huge influencer, considering his experience. Macalos, 54, campaigned from 1984 to 1994 and compiled a 29-12-3 record, with 12 KOs. He held the IBF lightflyweight crown in 1988-89 and battled six world champions in his career. Macalos knows what it’s like to fight with the world title on the line.

Taduran fought only once last year, halting compatriot Samuel Salva in the fourth round to capture the vacant IBF 105-pound crown in Taguig. But the Libon, Albay, native has been in the gym preparing for his first defense since November. Taduran has sparred over 100 rounds with Toto Landero, Ronald Alapormina and Jerome Baloro. Yesterday, he closed camp in Manila after sparring four rounds with Landero.

Art Monis said if Taduran executes according to plan, he can’t lose. “Napag-aralan namin ang style ni Valladares sa video,” said Monis. “Counter-puncher siya kagaya ni (Juan Manuel) Marquez. Ang style niya parang Landero at Joey Lino. Dapat aggressive si Pedro at matakaw siya sa katawan. Yung dalawang laban ni Valladares kontra Araneta at Sabillo, hindi siya halos tinamaan sa tiyan o tagiliran. Nahirapan siya kay Araneta pero nagkaroon ng injury sa balikat si Araneta kaya umayaw na lang. Kung tatakbo si Valladares, hahabulin ni Pedro. Kung papasok siya, makikipagpalitan si Pedro. Handa siyang lumaban kung anong style ipakita ni Valladares.”

Monis said fighting overseas is a challenge but Taduran is ready to do what it takes to bring back the title. It will be his second bout abroad. In 2018, he lost to Wanheng on points in a bid for the WBC minimumweight crown in Thailand.  

“Disiplinado si Pedro,” said Monis. “Walang asawa, walang anak. Bumagsak siya sa first round noong laban kay Salva pero nakabalik siya at binugbog niya si Salva. Parang si Senator kung lumaban, suntok ng suntok, hindi umaatras, walang pagod. Alam namin mahirap talunin si Valladares at dayo tayo pero gagawin ni Pedro ang lahat upang maibalik niya ang korona sa ating bansa.”

Taduran and his traveling team will leave Mexico the day after the fight and return home on Feb. 4.

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