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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Elorde in must-win fight at Okada

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
08 Mar 2019


Juan Miguel Elorde.

To keep his world title hopes alive, WBO Asia-Pacific superbantamweight champion and WBO No. 2 contender Juan Miguel Elorde is in a must-win situation as he takes on Japan’s Shohei Kawashima in a 12-rounder at the Okada Hotel and Casino in Paranaque on March 25. A loss will derail Elorde’s plans to challenge WBO 122-pound titlist Emanuel Navarrete of Mexico before the year ends.

The fight will headline a card of four bouts, starting at 3 p.m., to precede the annual Elorde Awards Night. Elorde, 32, will make his fourth defense of the WBO Asia-Pacific crown he won in 2015. Elorde’s older brother Juan Martin, 34, will also see action in a six-rounder against a still unnamed opponent on the same card.

The brothers aren’t giving up on their quest to follow in their grandfather’s footsteps. They’re the sons of Johnny and Liza Elorde and grandsons of the late Flash Elorde who reigned as world junior lightweight champion from 1960 to 1967. Losing isn’t an option for the brothers particularly as they’re fighting on the day that D’Flash would’ve turned 84.

Elorde stopped Thailand’s Artid Bamrungauea in his most recent outing last Dec. 16 and after a break of one week, was back in the gym training through the Christmas holidays. His dream is to become a world champion like his grandfather. “That’s every fighter’s dream,” he said. “I hope I’m given the chance. I’ve studied Navarrete’s style. He’s a pressure fighter. I know it’s difficult to promote a world title fight in Manila because of the expense but I’m willing to fight anywhere for the chance to win a world championship. Sobra ang pressure tuwing lumalaban ako but as my parents always tell me, if I’m 100 percent ready and I’m well-trained, bahala na ang resulta.”

Elorde moved up from No. 3 to No. 2 in the latest WBO ratings and it’s the highest he’s ever been ranked. It’s a position he’ll want to preserve until the title crack is in the bag. The No. 1 contender is another Filipino Albert Pagara. The only stain in Elorde’s record was a four-round loss on points to Texan Jerry Guevarra in Las Vegas in 2011. “We were both undefeated at that time,” said Elorde, who is trained by Toto Laurente. “Nanibago ako kasi first time to fight abroad. Tinakbuhan ako at pumuntos lang siya.” But Elorde has since bounced back to win 17 in a row and raise his record to 27-1, with 15 KOs.

Kawashima, 27, is coming off a fifth round knockout win over Filipino Ronnie Campos last October. His record is 17-2-2, with 4 KOs. One of his losses was a decision to former world champion Cristian Mijares in Mexico in 2016. Elorde said he’s not looking beyond Kawashima. “Hindi basta-basta ang kalaban ko kaya 100 percent ang focus ko sa kaniya,” he said. “Ma-utak si Kawashima at maganda ang kaniyang jab. More of a boxer siya than puncher. Hindi ko muna iniisip si Navarrete.”

His brother Juan Martin or Bai, a southpaw lightweight, will make his first appearance in the ring since a sixth round defeat by stoppage to Isa Chaniev in Russia in December 2017. For a while, Bai considered retirement particularly as his wife and two children were at ringside when he bowed to Chaniev. But now, he’s determined to fight on.

“It’s back to zero for me,” said Bai. “I felt the referee (Benny Decross of Belgium) stopped the fight against Chaniev too soon. There was no solid shot only a lot of punches but I wasn’t defenseless and I was fighting back. I never went down. Even Papa (Johnny) thought the stoppage was premature and was surprised. Babawi na lang ako.” Bai’s record is 23-2-1, with 10 KOs.


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