IT was quick and devastating.
Christian Araneta destroyed Arvin Magramo in the opening round of their International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight title eliminator in the main event of the blockbuster "Kumbati 16" boxing show promoted by Omega Sports Promotions and Japan-based Treasure Boxing Promotion on Friday night, Jan. 26, 2024, at the NUSTAR Resort Cebu Convention Center in Cebu City.
The 28-year-old Araneta shocked Magramo after knocking him down with a solid left uppercut early in the round. Araneta sensed that the end was near and unleashed a solid right hook to the head of Magramo to end his night at the 1:50 mark of the first.
"I'm very happy because we achieved what we've dreamed of. This is my third title eliminator and I was praying for this because I was about to quit if ever I lost this one. I thank the Lord for guiding me and I also thank my team," Araneta said. "I didn't expect it to be that quick because he was strong and talented. I thought that I'd give it my all if I connected with a punch and I timed it well."
Araneta failed in his first two world title eliminators. In 2019, Araneta lost to Daniel Valladares by a fourth round stoppage in their IBF light flyweight title eliminator in Mexico after suffering a shoulder injury. Two years later, he lost to Sivenathi Nontshiga by a controversial unanimous decision in South Africa in a similar world title eliminator.
"There were only two ways that the fight would have gone. If Magramo was aggressive, it would be an early knockout but if he would not engage then it would be a late knockout," said Araneta's trainer, Jinngoy Junco. "It's muscle memory. His uppercut is his signature punch. It's been there ever since. I didn't give it to him. God gave him that. I'm just here to enhance it and when to throw it. His power has always been there with him since he was a kid."
Araneta improved to 24-2 with 19 knockouts, while Magramo suffered just his second career defeat and dropped to 17-2 with 11 knockouts.
Araneta is now the mandatory challenger of the winner of the fight between IBF light flyweight king Adrian Curel and challenger Sivenathi Nontshinga next month in Mexico.
That fight would dictate his future and the plans of Omega Sports Promotions to possibly bring the world title fight to Cebu.
"We'll do our best (to bring the world title fight here). I'm not sure yet because there are a lot of parties involved but at least we won and there is a possibility that we'll bring it here," an ecstatic Pio Paulo Castillo, the head of Omega Sports Promotions, said after the fight.
"It was a clear win. We got it. Now, we'll look at the situation first with IBF and we'll see what will happen with the current champion because he's about to defend. What happens to that fight will have a huge say on what will happen with Christian. What's clear is that he's mandatory for the world championship. What Omega Sports Promotions is working with Treasure Boxing Promotion and NUSTAR is to try to bring the world championship right here. If we get the world title, then we get one of four. If we get that then that means we can have a world championship after that and if everything goes well then there's a huge possibility that we become undisputed. The names are getting closer, names like Kenshiro (Teraji) and the other world champions. They are so close and we may be able to reach them. This is Christian's third title eliminator attempt. The first two were very controversial. We trust Christian so much that we believe he could win it. It was just an opportunity. We lost the first two attempts, one was through an injury while the other was we got robbed. With the experience and not getting discouraged, this was what you saw tonight."
In the co-main event, Japanese Keita Kurihara (18-8-1, 16 KOs) exacted his revenge on former world title contender Froilan Saludar after knocking him out in eight rounds to claim the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) and IBF Asia bantamweight belts in an action-packed fight.
In the undercard, Benny Cañete (10-1, 7 KOs) knocked out experienced Thai Phissanu Chimsunthom (50-14-2, 17 KOs) with vicious body shot, hard-hitting Japanese Kotaro Sekine (8-0-1, 7 KOs) stopped Al Toyogon (14-9-2, 9 KOs), 21-year-old Japanese prospect Kenshin Hosokawa (7-1-1, 5 KOs) walked away with a split decision over tough Ronnie Baldonado (17-6-1, 9 KOs), Lourinz Biasong (2-0) beat Japanese newcomer Kyota Watanabe (0-1) by majority decision, one-time world title challenger Jeo Santisima (23-7, 19 KOs) dominated Pablito Canada (8-25-6, 2 KOs) for a lopsided unanimous decision and Ramil Roda (3-1-2, 1 KO) demolished Anthony Galigao (10-21, 5 KOs) in the sixth round of the show's curtain-raiser.