Fuentes trains through the holidays

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

THE HOLIDAY season didn’t at all hamper Rocky Fuentes’ training for one of the biggest fights of his career.

Fuentes, the reigning Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation flyweight titleholder, didn’t take a day off from training for his International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight title eliminator bout against former Olympian McWilliams Arroyo in Puerto Rico on January 25.

“He is training really hard, Rocky knows that this is the fight that he has been waiting for. It will be a make-or-break fight for him,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

“No, he did not take a break. It would be a really tough fight.”

Fuentes, unbeaten since 2008, is coming off a long layoff for this fight. His last fight was back in April 20, wherein he scored a one-sided unanimous decision over Mexican Juan Kantun here in Cebu City.

The 28-year-old Arroyo, a native of Cieba, Puerto Rico, is on a longer hiatus and last fought in Feb. 2, knocking out Mexican Miguel Tamayo in four rounds.

Fuentes and Arroyo are some of the best in the stacked 112-pound division. The 27-year-old Fuentes is rated highly in all four major boxing sanctioning bodies – No. 2 in the World Boxing Council (WBC), No. 3 in the World Boxing Association (WBA), No. 5 in the IBF and No. 7 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Arroyo, on the other hand, is No. 6 in the IBF and No. 11 in the WBA.

“Our concern is if Rocky could adjust to the style of Arroyo,” said Aldeguer. “Arroyo is versatile. Rocky will have to be aggressive but also calculated.”

Fuentes has waited for year at a shot at a world title. This is his moment because the winner becomes the mandatory challenger of long-time IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane, who has held the belt since 2009.

After a rough patch in his career, Fuentes has found his rhythm and has been on a roll with a 15-fight winning streak. He is 35-6-2 with 20 knockouts.

Arroyo is just as impressive and has won his last 11 fights. He is 14-1 with 12 knockouts.

In the undercard, Fuentes’ unbeaten stable mate Mark Acub (13-0, 10 KOs) steps up in competition as he faces off with one-time world title challenger Jose “Chelo” Gonzalez (22-1, 17 KOs) for the IBF International lightweight crown.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 27, 2013.


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