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Mike Plania Has to Negotiate A Virtual Minefield at 122 Lbs


PhilBoxing.com




After his morale, and hopefully world ranking, boosting victory over American top ranked bantamweight contender Joshua Greer, Jr. in their recent overweight match, Mike Plania has decided to continue to campaign in the super bantamweight class.

His decision not to move down to the bantamweight division may have been due to the fact that there are plenty of fellow Pinoys currently campaigning at 118 lbs including WBO titlist Johnriel Casimero, former WBA super champion Nonito Donaire, Jr. and IBF mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas.

Casimero is set to meet Naoya Inoue in a high profile titles unification bout and Donaire is ranged for a title challenge versus WBC champion Nordine Oubaali of France in bouts yet to be rescheduled in the US. Dasmarinas, the IBO titlist who vacated his title to vie for the IBF belt is waiting in the wings for the Inoue-Casimero winner.

For his part, Plania is now aiming to get a crack and win a world championship at the 122 lbs to duplicate the feat achieved before only by Bobby Berna, Manny Pacquiao and Donaire himself.

Plania, however, will be virtually negotiating a dangerous minefield in order to achieve his ambition and dream at super bantamweight as the division is stacked and loaded by undefeated champions and strong title contenders, including two former titlists.

A pair of tall, powerful and almost invincible Mexicans namely Rey Vargas (34-0, 22 KOs) and Emmanuel Navarette (32-0-1, 28 KOs) hold the WBC and WBO titles respectively. Former Uzbek amateur standout Morudjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) currently holds the WBA and IBF belts following his brilliant win over erstwhile unified titlist Danny Roman.

Ex titlist Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 18 Kos) is the IBF interim titlist after beating former WBO bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales last year and undefeated American Brandon Figueroa (20-0, 15 KOs) is the WBA regular champion.

Former unified champion Danny Roman (27-3-1, 10 Kos) is still very much in contention.

Plania 24-1, 12 KOs is currently rated #11 by the WBA and #12 by the IBF where Akhmadaliev is the defending champion. He is figured to move up in rankings following his victory over Greer and earlier win over erstwhile unbeaten Giovanni Gutierrez for the IBF NABF super bantamweight title last year.

But Plania is not the highest rated Filipino fighter in the division. Albert Pagara is rated #1 by the WBO and Tapales remains highly rated at #4 by the IBF.

Two more Pinoys are in the ranking namely Jeo Santissima, #5 by WBO, who failed in his bid against Navarette like erstwhile rated Juan Martin Elorde last year, and the equally promising Jhunriel Ramonal, the WBO Asia Pacific champion, #11 by WBC. Ramonal in fact scored impressive back to back knockout wins over former world rated Japanese fighters Shingo Wake and Yasuku Kuga late last year.

The super bantamweight division also now features former undefeated WBC bantamweight champion Luis Nery and still have around the likes of ex titlists Yukonori Oguni, Cesar Juarez and Isaac Dogboe.

Plania will certainly find the route to the championship a very difficult one fraught with dangers.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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