Pitpitunge faces Jap foe in first title defense

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Monday, April 15, 2013


REIGNING Pacific Xtreme Combat bantamweight title holder Crisanto Pitpitunge returns to the cage to defend his title for the first time after almost one year of ring absence.

Pitpitunge will be the main card of the PXC 37 event slated May 18 at the Ynares Sports Complex.

The recently commissioned police officer will battle Japanese top contender Michinori Tanaka in the event which also includes a four-man featherweight tournament featuring Filipino rising star Mark Striegl and fellow 145-pounders Yusuke Yachi, Jang Yong Kim and Nate Thorell.

Flyweight champion Ale Cali will also defend his title against Louis Smolka.

Despite the ring rust, Pitpitunge likes his chances against the undefeated Japanese submission artist although he hasn’t fought since winning the PXC belt in July last year against former champion Justin Cruz.

“I’m willing to go toe-to-toe against the Japanese. Kasi sa ngayon naka pag adjust na ko sa training at work kahit na bitn yung training ang importante eh maka depensa ako ng maayos,” said Pitpitunge.

Even Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao likes Pitpitunge’s chances despite their losing streaks against Japanese fighters in their mix martial arts (MMA) career.

“Although malaking pressure kay Crisanto, what we’re doing sa training is additional time and may dagdag na skills sa kanilang regimen,” added Sangiao.

Meanwhile, Striegl, one of the country’s fastest-rising local stars, will fight debuting Japanese fighter Yusuke Yachi, a Shooto champion from the famed Krazy Bee dojo in Tokyo, while longtime contender Jang Yong Kim of Korean Top Team takes on Hawaii’s Nate Thorell in the other side of the bracket.

The winners will be scheduled to fight for the title in August after champion Joe Taimanglo making a move to US-based MMA promotion Bellator.

Undefeated in 12 MMA fights and 2-0 in the PXC, Streigl catapulted himself into contention after a high-profile win over PXC lightweight champion Harris Sarmiento at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in PXC 34.

The Filipino-American fighter out of Fight Corps MMA in Baguio has breezed through his PXC opposition, winning both of his fights with submission finishes in the first round.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 16, 2013.

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