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Boxing moves on

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 23, 2021 - 12:00am

Since the pandemic struck last year, seven pro boxing shows have been staged and theres another coming off the wraps in General Santos City this Saturday. It hasnt been easy to get the ball rolling as promoters are finding it difficult to cover expenses with no live audience. Because of government restrictions, shows are allowed only in MGCQ areas and promoters must provide quarantine bubbles for fighters. But with GABs support, pro sports is back on track, slowly although surely.

Last Saturday, GAB chairman Baham Mitra personally supervised proceedings in promoter Bebot Elordes six-fight card in Biñan, Laguna. It was the third pro boxing event in Luzon during the pandemic -- Gerry Balmes put on the first in Rizal, Laguna last December and Cucuy Elorde the second in Paniqui, Tarlac, last month. Other shows were two by Sanman in General Santos City and two by Omega Sports in Mandaue. This Saturdays card is headlined by IBF minimumweight champion Pedro Tadurans second title defense against Rene Mark Cuarto.

Whats significant is despite limited resources, a second world title fight involving two Filipinos will be launched locally this month. The Biñan card saw Vic Saludar carving out a win by split decision over Robert Paradero to claim the vacant regular WBA 105-pound throne. Mayor Arman Dimaguila hosted the Biñan event which was mounted under strict safety conditions with health facilitators in PPEs. To set an example, Mitra wore a facemask throughout the show which started at 11 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m.

Taduran was recently cited by the weekly London trade magazine Boxing News as one of 10 “young gunsin the fight game today, “those under-25s (who) have already achieved notable success.” Also in the list were Teofimo Lopez, Jamie Munguia, David Benavidez, Elwin Soto, Wilfredo Mendez, Shakur Stevenson, Junto Nakatani, Devin Haney and Brandon Figueroa. Heres what Boxing News wrote about Taduran: “Twelve months after an unsuccessful attempt to claiming WBC strawwweight honors, Filipino Taduran collected the vacant IBF crown at 105 pounds in September 2019his one defense so far ended in a majority technical draw (with Daniel Valladares in Mexico in February last year).” Taduran has a 14-2 (11 KOs) record compared to Cuartos 18-2-2 (11 KOs). Theyre both 24. Cuarto is ranked No. 3 by the IBF and is the highest-ranked available contender since the No. 1 and No. 2 slots are vacant. Four other Filipinos are in the top 10 ladder, No. 4 Melvin Jerusalem, No. 5 Samuel Salva, No. 6 Lito Dante and No. 8 Marco John Rementizo.

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