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Sports

Pro Boxing Yearender

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Only four Filipino world boxing champions are left as 2021 came to a close with WBC bantamweight king Nonito Donaire Jr., WBO bantamweight titlist JohnRiel Casimero, IBF superflyweight ruler Jerwin Ancajas and IBF minimumweight beltholder Rene Mark Cuarto the holdovers. Manny Pacquiao lost his super WBA welterweight crown to Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas last August and has since retired while Vic Saludar surrendered his regular WBA minimumweight strap to Erick Rosa on a disputed split decision in the Dominican Republic last month.

The good news is 23 Filipinos were rated among the top 10 contenders by the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO at yearend. In the magic circle were WBO No. 5 superfeatherweight Joe Noynay, WBO No. 1, WBC No. 2, IBF No. 4 and WBA No. 7 featherweight Mark Magsayo, WBO No. 7 featherweight Jeo Santisima, IBF No. 4 superbantamweight Marlon Tapales, WBO No. 4, WBA No. 5 and IBF No. 10 superbantamweight Mike Plania, WBO No. 5 bantamweight Vincent Astrolabio, IBF No. 9 bantamweight Aston Palicte, WBA No. 10 bantamweight Jonas Sultan, WBO No. 2, WBA No. 4 and WBO No. 6 superflyweight Donnie Nietes, IBF No. 7 superflyweight Jade Bornea, WBO No. 9 superflyweight KC Cataraja, IBF No. 3 flyweight Jayson Mama, WBO No. 4 and IBF No. 5 flyweight Genesis Libranza, WBC No. 5 flyweight Giemel Magramo, WBA No. 7 flyweight Dave Apolinario, WBC No. 10 flyweight Jonathan Taconing, IBF No. 7 lightflyweight Christian Araneta, WBO No. 7 and WBC No. 8 lightflyweight Mark Vicelles, WBA No. 1 minimumweight Vic Saludar, No. 2 WBC, No. 2 WBO and No. 3 IBF minimumweight Melvin Jerusalem, IBF No. 4, WBO No. 8 and WBC No. 9 minimumweight Pedro Taduran, WBC No. 6 minimumweight Marco John Rementizo and WBA No. 10 minimumweight Robert Paradero.

Magsayo is booked to challenge WBC featherweight champion Gary Russell in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Jan. 22 while Cuarto will stake his IBF 105-pound strap against former titlist Taduran in a rematch in Digos on Jan. 29. Ancajas will defend his IBF superflyweight throne against unbeaten Argentine Olympian Fernando Martinez somewhere in the US on Feb. 5.

There were 11 world title fights involving Filipinos in 2021 with six emerging winners. Topping the list of victors was Donaire who dethroned Nordine Oubaali via a fourth round KO to wrest the WBC bantamweight crown in Carson City last May then halted countryman Reymart Gaballo, also by a fourth round KO, in the same venue last month. The other winners were Saludar over Paradero to win the vacant regular WBA minimumweight title in Binan last February, Cuarto over Taduran to take the vacant IBF minimumweight strap in General Santos City last February, Ancajas over Mexico’s Jonathan Rodriguez by a unanimous decision in Connecticut last April and Casimero over Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux by a split decision in Carson City last August. The losers were Pacquiao, Taduran, Mama, Michael Dasmarinas, Paradero (twice), Saludar and Gaballo. Aside from the top 10 contenders, Filipino fighters to watch in 2022 include Olympic middleweight bronze medalist Eumir Marcial (1-0), Charly Suarez (9-0, 6 KOs) who takes on Roldan Aldea for the WBA Asia superfeatherweight crown on March 5 and superbantamweight Carl Jammes Martin (18-0, 15 KOs).

BOXING

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