STORY OF PHILIPPINE BOXING PART XL: MARVIN SONSONA, THE SECOND YOUNGEST FILIPINO TO WIN A WORLD TITLE
By Maloney L. Samaco
Sun, 24 May 2020
Marvin Sonsona, born on July 25, 1990 in General Santos City, is nicknamed "Marvelous" after his namesake former undisputed middleweight champion of the world Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
He began boxing at a tender age of seven years under the mentorship of his uncle. He fought 150 fights in the amateurs. One of Sonsona's trainers is Nonito Donaire Sr., father and trainer of four division world champion Nonito Donaire Jr.
He won his professional debut by unanimous decision over Richard Donaire, the cousin of Nonito and Glenn, on July 7, 2007.
Sonsona then knocked out his next ten opponents in short rounds including Noel Guliman by 4th round TKO, Daryl Amoncio by 2nd round TKO, Erwin Picardal by 4th round TKO, Jerome Bontog by 5th round TKO, Emer Barrientos by 1st round TKO, John Naimes by 1st round KO, Erwin Picardal by 5th round KO in a rematch, Jason Geda by 1st round TKO, Phaiboon Chumthong of Thailand by 5th round TKO, and Lowie Bantigue by 3rd round TKO.
He also stopped Joel Rafols by 2nd round TKO for the vacant World Boxing Organization Asia Pacific youth flyweight title on October 4, 2008 in Naga City, Cebu.
Sonsona also knocked out former two time WBC world champion On Doowiset of Thailand a.k.a. Wandee Singwancha for the vacant World Boxing Organization Oriental flyweight championship on January 31, 2009 at the Cebu Coliseum.
Sonsona climbed up to the next heavier weight division to challenge José López of Puerto Rico for the WBO world super flyweight title on September 5, 2009 in Ontario, Canada. He scored a sensational knockdown in the fourth round and obtained a unanimous decision victory.
Judge Harry Davis of Canada saw it 114-111, Ted Gimza of USA had it 116-109 and Kelly Zolnierczyk of Canada scored it 115-110 all for Sonsona.
With the victory, Sonsona became the second youngest Filipino world boxing champion at the age of 19 years and 5 weeks old. The youngest Morris East was 19 years and one month old when he won the WBA junior welterweight title.
On November 20, 2009, Sonsona was forcibly stripped of his newly acquired WBO super flyweight title after failing to make the weight limit for his first title defense. He missed the 115-lb weight division by 2.5 lbs.
The bout still continued with the WBO title at stake but only for his challenger Alejandro Hernandez of Mexico. The fight resulted with the judges divided with a split decision.
Judge Harry Davis scored a tie 114-114, Dave Dunbar favored Sonsona 115-113 while Kelly Zolnierczyk saw it 113-115 for Hernandez. All three are Canadian judges.
Sonsona was able to establish an unpleasant record of 2 months and 17 days for a Filipino with the shortest reign as world boxing champion.
On February 27, 2010, Sonsona moved up two heavier weight divisions, challenging undefeated Wilfredo Vázquez, Jr. of Puerto Rico for the vacant WBO super bantamweight title. He was knocked out in the 4th round.
Vázquez, the son of former three weight world champion Wilfredo Vázquez, handed Sonsona the only blemish in his pro career.
The next three years, Sonsona fought only three times on small time promotions, as rumors of excessive partying circulated in GenSan and Cebu, according to Rappler. He said it was his decision to fight only once a year because he admitted he didn’t want to train.
On October 15, 2011 Sonsona finally climbed back in the ring facing Carlos Jacobo of Mexico. He sent the visiting fighter to the floor in the 8th round and defeated him via unanimous decision in Lapu-Lapu City.
Sonsona claimed a 5th round KO victory against Dominican Republic's Carlos “El Burito” Fulgencio in Lapu-Lapu City on March 17, 2012.
Hes scored an 8th round stoppage of Jason Egera then a 3rd round knockout victory of Japan’s Akifumi Shimoda in Macau, China.
Sonsona fought a rematch with Wilfredo Vázquez, Jr. and exacted revenge by winning a split decision on June 7, 2014 for the vacant NABF featherweight title in Madison Square Garden, New York City. He knocked the Puerto Rican down in the first round. It was fought in the undercard of the Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez WBC middleweight championship.
He won by majority decision over Jonathan Arrellano of California in Carson City on June 6, 2015.
The last time Sonsona fought was in May 23, 2018 after a three-year inactivity when he was given another chance to do a comeback by Joven Jimenez, chief trainer of Jerwin Ancajas, the International Boxing Federation junior bantamweight champion.
Unfortunately, Sonsona fought 6 pounds over the contracted catchweight of 141 lbs. and was forced to wear 12 oz gloves. He won by UD and failed to knock out Indonesian Arief Blader, who had more losses than wins.
He is now inactive with only 23 bouts, winning 21 fights, 15 of them by KO, only a single loss and one draw.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.
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