Philippines, 14 Apr 2021
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Taduran (L) and Cuarto face off this Saturday in Gensan with Taduran's IBF belt at stake.

Since the pandemic struck last year, seven pro boxing shows have been staged and there’s another coming off the wraps in General Santos City this Saturday. It hasn’t been easy to get the ball rolling as promoters are finding it difficult to cover expenses with no live audience. Because of government restrictions, shows are allowed only in MGCQ areas and promoters must provide quarantine bubbles for fighters. But with GAB’s support, pro sports is back on track, slowly although surely.

Last Saturday, GAB chairman Baham Mitra personally supervised proceedings in promoter Bebot Elorde’s six-fight card in Binan, Laguna. It was the third pro boxing event in Luzon during the pandemic----Gerry Balmes put on the first in Rizal, Laguna last December and Cucuy Elorde the second in Paniqui, Tarlac, last month. Other shows were two by Sanman in General Santos City and two by Omega Sports in Mandaue. This Saturday’s card is headlined by IBF minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran’s second title defense against Rene Mark Cuarto.

What’s significant is despite limited resources, a second world title fight involving two Filipinos will be launched locally this month. The Binan card saw Vic Saludar carving out a win by split decision over Robert Paradero to claim the vacant regular WBA 105-pound throne. Mayor Arman Dimaguila hosted the Binan event which was mounted under strict safety conditions with health facilitators in PPEs. To set an example, Mitra wore a facemask throughout the show which started at 11 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m.

Taduran was recently cited by the weekly London trade magazine Boxing News as one of 10 “young guns” in the fight game today, “those under-25s (who) have already achieved notable success.” Also in the list were Teofimo Lopez, Jamie Munguia, David Benavidez, Elwin Soto, Wilfredo Mendez, Shakur Stevenson, Junto Nakatani, Devin Haney and Brandon Figueroa. Here’s what Boxing News wrote about Taduran: “Twelve months after an unsuccessful attempt to claiming WBC strawwweight honors, Filipino Taduran collected the vacant IBF crown at 105 pounds in September 2019 … his one defense so far ended in a majority technical draw (with Daniel Valladares in Mexico in February last year).” Taduran has a 14-2 (11 KOs) record compared to Cuarto’s 18-2-2 (11 KOs). They’re both 24. Cuarto is ranked No. 3 by the IBF and is the highest-ranked available contender since the No. 1 and No. 2 slots are vacant. Four other Filipinos are in the top 10 ladder, No. 4 Melvin Jerusalem, No. 5 Samuel Salva, No. 6 Lito Dante and No. 8 Marco John Rementizo.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.


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