Philippines, 29 May 2024
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Column: Raquinel Willing to Challenge WBO Champ Junto Nakatani

Raquinel (L) and Nakatani.

Filipino Flyweight "The Dreamer" Jay-R Raquinel (12-1-1, 9 KO's), a world-ranked action fighter sometimes referred to by some boxing fans in social media as "The Japanese Killer," has the dream of challenging newly crowned WBO Flyweight World Champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16 KO's) in Japan.

His dream fight against Nakatani would not only be for personal glory and pride for the country, but also to give payback for Junto Nakatani's brutal demolition work over fellow Pinoy fighter Giemel Magramo (24-2, 20 KO's) last week.

The undefeated Junto Nakatani, 22, engaged the Pinoy Giemel Magramo in battle for the vacant WBO Flyweight World Title, dominating and furiously overpowering the Filipino fighter in eight rounds last Friday in Tokyo.

"I want to challenge WBO Flyweight world champion Junto Nakatani," said Raquinel after watching Nakatani destroyed Magramo. "That one would be a dream fight for me."

Raquinel, born in the mountain town of Candoni in Negros Occidental, is well-known to boxing fans in Japan after knocking out three Japanese fighters while defending his OPBF Flyweight belt in the Land of the Rising Sun.

In 2018, the hard-hitting 23-year-old Raquinel stopped Keisuke Nakayama in nine rounds (see photo below). Then, he punished Shun Kosaka in four; and months later in 2019, "The Dreamer" ravaged the tough Takuya Kogawa in eight. How about that?

Raquinel blasts Keisuke Nakayama, overpowering him in 9. Photo coutesy of Naoki Fukuda.

Not bad at all. So, Raquinel's interest in battling Nakatani is not a wild, far-fetched, unthinkable thing at all. The fact is that "The Dreamer" Raquinel is experienced in fighting and winning devastatingly good in Japan, displaying confidence, speed and power.

"The Dreamer's" last battle was a fast and furious 50-second knockout victory over unheralded Indonesian journeyman Jack Amisa one year ago at the plush Cesar's Palace in Dubai.

Currently rated as #8 by the WBC, and as #9 by the IBF, "The Dreamer" Jayr Raquinel is a world-class exciting action fighter in the 112-pound division, deserving a title shot, and he would love that world title fight to be against a man as strong and dangerous as this unbeaten slugger Junto Nakatani.

Raquinel staggers Nakayama.

Conversely, whether fans call Raquinel "The Dreamer" or "The Japanese Killer," the harsh fact is that the Japanese Junto Nakatani could as well, very rightfully be called "The Filipino Killer" for viciously stopping a total of six Filipino boxers... so far. Wanting more.

Yes indeed, the devastating 22-year-old Nakatani began his reign of terror against Pinoy boxers by first stopping Albay's Joel Taduran in four chapters.

Then, in 2018 he roughly savaged Camiguin's Jeronil Borres in one round. He proceeded to do something similar to Iligan's Dexter Alimento, who succumbed in three, and before that year was over, Nakatani disassembled Mandaluyong's Philip Luis Cuerdo in less than 3 minutes.

But that was not all.

Last year, the heavy-handed Nippon stopped none other than ALA fighter Milan "El Metodico" Melindo in six stanzas, and last week Nakatani brutalized Manileño Giemel Magramo in eight, culminating his work of destruction over Pinoy boxers. None of those six Filipino warriors who faced Nakatani reached the final bell on their feet.

In short, Raquinel has stopped three Japanese, but Nakatani has knocked out six Filipinos.

Understandably, this adverse balance is what Jayr Raquinel wants to rectify. Urgently. The rumble makes sense. But really, could his fight against Nakatani ever happen? Could the dream of "The Dreamer" become a reality?

Importantly, Nakatani is WBO. Raquinel is not ranked in the WBO.

If Raquinel gets ranked in the WBO, that might facilitate things. But as of now, this fast southpaw Raquinel is only ranked in the IBF and the WBC.

But on the other hand, would Junto Nakatani like to defend against Raquinel?

I think the answer is yes, why not.

Nakatani, who is also a southpaw, might be interested in defending his newly acquired title against this dreaming Filipino boxer who is already known to Japanese fans for rocking hard three of their fighters.

In addition, Nakatani might consider that after already stopping six Pinoy boxers, including tough ones as Melindo and Magramo, he could easily dismantle one more.

"If I already victimized Melindo and Magramo, why I cannot knock out Raqueniel too," the Japanese might think...

The only way to know is above the ring.

Nevertheless, as mentioned above, for this fight against Nakatani to ever be considered, Raquinel would need to have a rating in the WBO, which at the moment he does not have...

The only other Filipino flyweight rated by the WBO is the unbeaten Gensan "Smasher" Jayson Mama (15-0, 8 KO's).

Luckily for Raquinel, "The Smasher" Jayson Mama will be fighting veteran champion Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26 KO's) for the IBF Flyweight World Title next month in South Africa, a few days before Christmas.

Should Jayson Mama win the IBF world title in South Africa, of course he would be be taken out of the WBO world rankings.

If Mama leaves the WBO rankings, another world-class Filipino, Jayr Raquinel, could be considered? Hopefully yes.

However, if despite his interest Raquinel is not lucky enough to get his dreamed world title shot at Junto Nakatani, that is not the end of the world for him because "The Dreamer" is still ranked in the IBF and the WBC.

In the IBF, the above mentioned Moruti Mthalane, 38, is the tough, experienced king.

In 2008, me and my colleague Dong Secuya of Philboxing attended Moruti's IBF fight against the "Filipino Flash" Nonito Doanire in Las Vegas. Mthalani did not defeat Nonito that night at the Mandalay Bay, but the South African showed that he is absolutely good. Some fans think that Mthalane is getting old. He is, but he is still a formidable adversary. This is a tough fight for Mama, a chance of a lifetime, and sure, Raquinel will be watching their IBF rumble.

Meanwhile, in the WBC the top 112-pound man is sizzling Mexican Julio Cesar Martinez (17-1, 13 KO's), who two weeks ago defended his green 'n golden belt with a knockout win. The Dreamer Raquinel is WBC #8. The friendly boxing rivalry between Mexico and the Philippines is exciting and legendary and Raquinel would not mind travelling to Mexico to challenge WBC world champion Julio Cesar Martinez.

Unfortunately, as we all know, Covid-19 is affecting boxing activities around the world, so it is not sure when Raquinel will see action next, though his handlers are working on it. Even though he loves to be active, the pandemic is a reason why Jayr Raquinel hasn't seen action this year.

Still, his many fans wish the very best of luck to the deserving, promising "Dreamer" Jayr Raquinel, praying that his dream of a world title shot one day soon becomes a reality.

The author boxing writer Carlos Costa lives in Cebu, and can be reached at and whatsapp +639184538152.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Carlos Costa.

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