Pinoys lined up for title shots

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star
Pinoys lined up for title shots
Jerwin Ancajas
STAR / File

Jerwin Ancajas failed in his bid to end the country’s world boxing title drought last Saturday but more Filipinos are in the queue to fill the void. On March 31, two Filipinos are on the same card to challenge undefeated Japanese world champions, the Shigeoka brothers, in Nagoya. Melvin Jerusalem takes on WBC minimumweight titleholder Yudai while ArAr Andales battles IBF minimumweight ruler Ginjiro in a pair of 12-rounders.

Jerusalem, 30, is ranked No. 6 by WBC and held the WBO 105-pound crown for four months last year.  He stopped Masataka Taniguchi in two for the throne in Osaka in January then lost it to Oscar Collazo in Indio, California, in May. His record is 21-3, with 12 KOs.  Yudai, 26, claimed the WBC crown on a unanimous 12-round verdict over Thai Panya Pradabsri in Tokyo last October and is making his first defense. His record is 8-0, with five KOs. His Filipino victims were Lito Dante (UD6) and Cris Ganoza (KO3).

Andales, 24, turned pro in 2017 and racked up a 10-0 mark until he lost to WBA minimumweight titlist Knockout CP Freshmart on a unanimous technical decision in the eighth round in Thailand in 2019. He has since compiled a 4-1-3 record, with four KOs to solidify his ranking as No. 8 by WBA and No. 9 by IBF. Ginjiro, 24, won the IBF minimumweight championship on a fifth-round stoppage of Mexico’s Daniel Valladares in Tokyo on the same night his older brother took the WBC diadem. Ginjiro’s record is 10-0, with eight KOs and a No-Contest. His Filipino victims were Joel Lino (UD8), Clyde Azarcon (KO1), Rey Loreto (KO5) and Rene Mark Cuarto (KO9).

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said other Filipino fighters lined up for world title cracks this year are WBO No. 1 bantamweight Reymart Gaballo, WBC No. 2 bantamweight Vincent Astrolabio, IBF No. 1 minimumweight Pedro Taduran and IBF No. 1 light-flyweight Christian Araneta. Gaballo, 27, lost to Nonito Donaire Jr. on a fourth-round knockout for the WBC bantamweight title in Carson City, in 2021 and will face reigning WBO king Jason Moloney of Australia in August or September. Gaballo is coming off a first-round disposal of Thai Paipharob Kokietgym at Midas Hotel last Feb. 13.

Astrolabio, 26, will get a shot at newly-crowned WBC bantamweight champion Junto Nakatani in June or July. He lost to Moloney on a majority 12-round decision for the vacant WBO bantamweight title in Stockton last May and bounced back to halt Thai Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai in the 11th round last August. Astrolabio’s record is 19-4, with 14 KOs.

Taduran, 27, won the vacant IBF minimumweight crown on a technical decision over countryman Samuel Salva in Taguig in 2019 and yielded the throne to another countryman Cuarto in 2021. He climbed back to pole position with back-to-back wins over Powell Balaba and Jake Amparo. His record is 16-4-1, with 12 KOs. Taduran will challenge the winner of the Ginjiro-Andales bout.  Araneta, 28, has a record of 23-2, with 18 KOs. Since losing to Svenathi Nontshinga on points in South Africa in 2021, Araneta has scored five straight wins, four by KO. Of his 18 KOs, eight came in the first round. Nontshinga is now the IBF lightf-lyweight champion and a rematch with Araneta as mandatory challenger is in the offing.

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