Rocky chases dream

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Monday, January 20, 2014


FOR years, Rocky Fuentes has been patiently waiting in line for his turn at a shot for a world title. Despite being rated highly in the flyweight division of all the major boxing sanctioning bodies, the 27-year-old Cebuano somehow couldn’t get that elusive shot at the gold.

He was supposed to be in a title eliminator against former Olympian McWilliams Arroyo in Puerto Rico. However, after Moruti Mthalane was stripped of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight title for refusing to defend his title in Thailand against mandatory challenger Amnat Ruenroeng, Fuentes was finally given a chance to chase his dream of becoming a world champion.

“It’s perfect timing because Rocky is very prepared to fight. He was training for a fight in Puerto Rico but it was changed to a world title fight, this is the big opportunity that Rocky has been waiting for. It (the change) won’t matter, rather it will encourage him more because this is his dream to able to fight for a world title,” ALA Gym head trainer Edito Villamor, who is currently in the US with Genesis Servania and Milan Melindo, told Sun.Star Cebu.

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Instead of fighting Arroyo, Fuentes will step in to face Ruenroeng, a former Olympian,
for the vacant IBF flyweight tomorrow in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

After a few bumps in his career, Fuentes (35-6-2, 20 KOs) has been impressive lately, going into this fight with a 15-fight winning streak. He is ranked fifth in the IBF, second in the World Boxing Council (WBC), third in the World Boxing Association (WBA) and eighth in the World Boxing Organization (WBO).

The 34-year-old Ruenroeng (11-0, 5 KOs), rated seventh in the IBF, is unbeaten in the pro ranks. He has a knack for beating Filipinos with wins over journeymen Julius Alcos, Michael Rodriguez, Geboi Mansalayao, Danilo Peña, Wilber Andogan and the late Lowie Bantigue.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 21, 2014.

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