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Taduran stakes IBF title
GAB chairman Baham Mitra
STAR/ File

Taduran stakes IBF title

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 27, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — IBF minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran realizes the odds are stacked against him in his second title defense against countryman Rene Mark Cuarto at the Bula Gym in General Santos City this afternoon but he’s not bothered by the challenger’s handlers promoting the fight, the judges coming from Mindanao and the 14-day quarantine after a long journey from his training camp in Bangar, La Union.  Taduran’s focus is to score a knockout, not leaving anything to chance.

GAB chairman Baham Mitra will make sure proceedings are fair and square. He was requested by New Jersey-based IBF president Daryl Peoples to supervise the title fight at ringside. Former fighter Rodel Garde, 31, will be the referee and Brembot Dulalas, Sabas Ponpon Jr. and Sergio Densing the judges. MP Promotions, represented by Cuarto’s trainer Nonoy Neri, is staging the event which will be split into two cards – the first to start at 9 a.m. with five fights and the second to begin at 2 p.m. with five more fights. The first part will feature a total of 30 rounds and the second, 44 rounds.  

Taduran, a southpaw, arrived in General Santos City last Feb. 11 with manager Art Monis and trainer Tacy Macalos. Monis said despite the quarantine, Taduran has stayed in shape working out under strict safety conditions. “Ipakikita ni Taduran na karapat-dapat siya ang champion,” said Monis. “Kung sasabay si Cuarto, magandang laban at bahala na kung sino makatama ng maganda, siya ang tatayo. Kung tatakbo si Cuarto, kailangan i-pressure ni Taduran. Inaalala namin mga judges taga Mindanao kaya dapat KO ang panalo.” Cuarto is from Zamboanga del Norte while Taduran hails from Albay.  Both are 24.

Neri said Cuarto will do what it takes to wrest the crown. “Handang handa na si Cuarto, sobra sa 100 percent,” he said. “Pinag-aralan namin ang laban ni Taduran kay (Samuel) Salva noong kinuha niya ang korona.  Si Salva, kulang sa body shot at kumbinasyon. Gugulatin ni Cuarto si Taduran, suntok na kabit-kabit, sundot sa katawan tapos step back.  Counterpuncher si Cuarto at ‘di kami sasabay kay Taduran.” Neri said Cuarto will rely on hand and footspeed to fluster Taduran, borrowing from Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s style.

This will be the second world title fight between two Filipinos in the country this month and seventh in history.  In yesterday’s weigh-in, Taduran scaled 104 pounds and Cuarto, 105.  Taduran’s record is 14-2-1, with 11 KOs compared to Cuarto’s 18-2-2, with 11 KOs. Cuarto is the IBF’s highest-ranked contender at No. 3 as the No. 1 and No. 2 slots are vacant.

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