Quijano: How our contenders fared last year

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


(Editor’s note: Jingo Quijano’s previous column was erroneously printed yesterday. We apologize for the error.)

Denver Cuello-one of our promising young stars, saw his lengthy win streak come to an end last year with a majority decision loss to Xiong Zhao Zhong.

Denver scored a knockdown in the first round, but a shoulder injury reduced him into a one-armed fighter, unable to utilize his right hand for the second half of the fight.

Cuello (33-5, 21KOs) is a native of Iloilo City who turned pro in 2004. His career started off quite unremarkably until he fought and stopped former world champ Muhammad Rachman in nine rounds.

He then embarked on an incredible seven-kayo streak up to May 2012 and followed it up with a unanimous decision win over Ivan Meneses in Mexico and a majority decision over Takashi Kunishige in Japan.

Zhong (22-4, 12KOs) was a relative unknown up until he annexed the WBC minimum-weight crown against Javier Resendiz.

Coming into the fight, I thought Denver was a sure-shot to become our next world champion, but this is a stark reminder that anything can happen on top of the squared circle.

For now, Denver just needs to recuperate and get back in line.

Drian Francisco of Batangas, also faltered in his bid for the WBO/NABO super-bantamweight belt, losing via unanimous decision to Chris Avalos in July of last year.

It was a close, rugged contest but Avalos was the busier fighter, throwing more than 100 punches per round in eight of those 10 rounds.

Franciso now carries a record of 24 wins, 2 losses with 19 knockouts. His only other loss came via close decision to Thai Tepparith Kokietgym.

Prior to that loss, Francisco won the interim WBA super flyweight title when he stopped the Thai Duanpetch Kokietgym. He also owns a decision win over another
formidable Pinoy pug in Michael Domingo of the ALA Gym stable.

Speaking of the ALA Gym stable, Rocky Fuentes is another contender who was content to sit on the periphery with his blue collar ways, but it seems like Lady Luck has smiled on this affable young man as he is penciled to fight for a world title against Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand for the vacant IBF flyweight diadem.

I’m confident that Fuentes will become our next world champion. Though he has a record of 35-6, 20KOs, the “Road Warrior” is actually a better fighter than his record suggests.

He is undefeated since 2007 and is currently on an incredible 15-fight win streak. Good luck Rocky, make us proud!

Michael Farenas was unable to follow up his admirable performance against Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2012 (L via UD) with another high profile fight, but he did register three knockouts last year (KO1 Gerardo Zayas, KO2 Kosol Sor Vorapin, TKO2 Jesus Rios).

All these opponents hardly mattered, and it’s a pity for a talent like Farenas to be stuck in a rut, unable to capitalize on the worldwide attention he garnered in the Gamboa fight.

WHERE ARE THEY? Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista (34-3, 25KOs) retired last year after losing to Jose Ramirez via split decision in April. However, he is reportedly eyeing a comeback this year and will probably compete in a higher weight class.

Speaking of comebacks, his stable-mate AJ “Bazooka” Banal embarked on one last year and won two fights against pedestrian opponents. As far as comebacks go, he is certainly applying the right template, but this year, he should step up the level of competition so his handlers will find out if he has registered some improvement on the stamina department.

Former world champion Rodel Mayol was not active last year. In 2012 he lost via KO in nine rounds against Juan Carlos Sanchez.

Bernabe Concepcion fought only once last year, winning a meaningless fight against Thai Boido Simanjuntak (16-21, 5KOs).

LAST ROUND. It’s on Dr. Ricson “Yongyong” Tiu who celebrated his birthday yesterday. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)Follow me on Twitter @thelastround)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 23, 2014.

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