Magramo guns for vacant title
Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 17, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — It’s the chance of a lifetime for Giemel Magramo as the fighter nicknamed “Pistolero” shoots for the vacant WBO flyweight crown against unbeaten Junto Nakatani in a scheduled 12-round bout at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, on April 4.

Magramo, 25, is ripe for a title shot. He’s won his last seven bouts, all inside the distance and he’s the reigning WBO Oriental champion with a record of 24-1, including 20 KOs. Magramo is ranked No. 1 by the WBO, No. 3 by the IBF and IBO, No. 4 by the WBC and No. 5 by the WBA. Nakatani, 22, turned pro in 2015, three years after Magramo’s debut. The 5’7” Japanese has a three-inch height advantage and boasts a 20-0 record, with 15 KOs. His last two victims were Filipinos Milan Melindo (KO6) and Philip Cuerdo (KO1).

The throne was relinquished by Japan’s Kosei Tanaka who has moved up to the superflyweight division. The WBO picked No. 1 Magramo to battle No. 3 Nakatani for the vacant crown with the winner to stake the championship against No. 2 contender Angel Acosta of Puerto Rico.

Magramo said he’s studied Nakatani’s style on video and he’s confident of bringing back the belt. “Kayang-kaya,” he said. “Huwag lang sobrang kumpyansa. Walang problema ang taas niya, sanay akong lumaban ng matangkad. Wala rin problema yung kanyang pagka-kaliwete. Paborito ko yung kaliwete kasi madaling tamaan ng right straight. Pinanood ko ang ilang mga laban ni Nakatani. Baka baguhin niya ang style pagdating sa laban kanya hindi ko iniintindi yung mga dating laban niya. Basta preparado at insayado, hindi tayo matatalo.”

Magramo said he’ll watch for Nakatani’s left straight and right uppercut. “Hindi amateur style,” he said. “Sumusugod at hindi umaatras. Tamang-tama sa akin. Kung tumakbo siya, handa rin akong humabol.” Magramo said he’ll bob and weave to dodge Nakatani’s punches then move closer to bang the body.

Tokyo’s cold weather won’t be an issue, he said. “Sanay ako sa lamig,” said Magramo. “Lumaban na ako sa China at Korea. First time ko sa Japan. Dati na ako nag-umpisa mag-training. Dalawang Hapon naka-spar ko kailan lang, isa kaliwete at isa kanan. Si Delmar Pellio, isang kaliwete na walang talo, ka-spar ko rin.”

An uncle, former WBF minimumweight champion Ronnie Magramo, has given sound advice on how to beat Nakatani. “Magkapit-bahay kami kaya madalas ko siyang makita,” said Magramo. “Ang payo niya ay tuloy-tuloy ang suntok. Kung bibitaw ako ng right straight, dapat sampung right straight. Kung bibitaw ako ng left hook, dapat sampung left hook. Sunud-sunod ang suntok. Bawal ang mapagod, dapat walang pahinga sa bawa’t round.” Magramo’s buzzsaw style is reminiscent of how his uncle brawled his way to the WBF throne twice in 1994 and 1995.

Magramo said he’s dedicating the fight to the Elorde family that has backed his career from Day One, to his partner of five years Claudine and their four-year-old daughter Queenie Claudia, to his loyal fans, to the Filipino people and to the country. Magramo is managed by the husband-and-wife team of Johnny and Liza Elorde.

GIEMEL MAGRAMO
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