PINOY BOXING 1: JOHN PAUL GABUNILAS BATTLES KANAMU SAKAMA IN THE INOUE-TAPALES UNDISPUTED FIGHT
By Maloney L. Samaco
Wed, 01 Nov 2023
John Paul Gabunilas will face Kanamu Sakama of Japan in an eight-round bout as an undercard in the Naoya Inoue vs. Marlon Tapales world title unification on December 26, 2023. WBC/WBO champion Inoue and IBF/WBA champion Tapales will battle for the undisputed super bantamweight championship at Tokyo’s Ariake Arena.
According to Cebu Daily News Digital, the scheduled fight was officially announced by ARQ Boxing Stable’s strength and conditioning trainer Roger Justine Potot a few days after Inoue and Tapales finalized their much-sought undisputed match.
Gabunilas called “Angas ng Cebu” will be the underdog as he battles the World Boxing Association (WBA) number 14 contender Sakama in his home turf in Japan.
“John Paul Gabunilas will have him Comeback Fight in Japan as part of the Undercard bout of Inoue vs Tapales. This is announced official Instagram of Sir Ohashi Manager of Inoue. Let it be known, that it’s game time for John Paul (Gabunilas),” said Potot over CDN.
Potot said that they trained Gabunilas hard for months now, after his shocking first round technical knockout defeat to Miel Fajardo last August 15 in Lapu-Lapu City.
Fajardo scored a devastating first round TKO victory in what was believed to be an interesting encounter against a rising fighter in Gabunilas. Fajardo came out as the better fighter and won the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) light flyweight title .
Despite the loss, Gabunilas was able to sign a big comeback fight. The 23-year-old Cebuano prospect from Carcar City, south Cebu was on an eight-fight winning streak since 2019 before his loss to Fajardo.
Prior to the Fajardo loss he had wins over Wandi Priman Hulu by TKO, Jesse Espinas by MD, Ruben Dadivas by TKO, Ricardo Sueno by UD, Clyde Azarcon by TKO, Jonathan Almacen by KO, Maurino Agum by TKO and Garry Rojo by KO.
He owns a career record of 10 wins with seven knockout victories and two defeats, while Sakama is undefeated in eight bouts with seven knockouts.
The December assignment will be Gabunilas’ first fight in Japan and he will take on his first Japanese opponent. Same with Sakama, who is the reigning Japan Boxing Commission youth light flyweight champion, as he will be fighting his first Filipino foe. In his last fight he won by 8th round TKO over countryman Ryu Horikawa.
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