Araneta, Magramo fight for mandatory challenger status in ‘Kumbati 16’

FIGHT. Christian Araneta and Arvin Magramo pose during the weigh-in a day before their big fight at “Kumbati 16” at Nustar Cebu Resort and Casino.
FIGHT. Christian Araneta and Arvin Magramo pose during the weigh-in a day before their big fight at “Kumbati 16” at Nustar Cebu Resort and Casino.CONTRIBUTED

EXPECT an all-out war between world-rated Filipino fighters Christian “The Bomb” Araneta and Arvin “Hurricane” Magramo as they fight for mandatory challenger status in an International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight title eliminator in the main event of “Kumbati 16,” which is co-promoted by Omega Sports Promotions and Japan-based Treasure Boxing Promotion, on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, at the Nustar Cebu Convention Center in Cebu City.

“I trained long and hard. I never took a break in the Holidays because I knew the importance of this fight. However, I won’t predict a knockout because we are both Filipinos and I respect him. We both want to become world champions,” the 28-year-old Araneta said.

“This is a challenge for me because Arvin is a pressure fighter and I’m a slugger. This will be a good fight and I’m more than ready for it.”

Though Araneta was reserved with his words, his trainer, Jinggoy Junco, kept his earlier prediction of a knockout win by his prized fighter.

“We had a scientific approach in training for this. I’m confident that Christian will get the victory,” said Junco, Omega Boxing Gym’s chief trainer. “Magramo is a decent fighter and an experienced boxer. My knockout prediction is my opinion because that’s what I see after being with Christian for six years. I’m very confident that my boxer has the maturity and a class A defense to beat Magramo.”

The 27-year-old Magramo assured that he didn’t come all the way to Cebu from Manila to just be a stepping stone for Araneta for a world title shot.

“They can never be too sure that they will be able to knock me out. I’ve trained for almost three months and we didn’t come here to lose. I will use my skills in training and we’ll see if ‘The Bomb’ can stop ‘The Hurricane,’” said Magramo. “My advantage over him is the volume of punches that I’ll throw against him. He needs to do a better job on defense if he wants to win.”

Both Araneta and Magramo weighed-in at identical weights of 107.8 pounds.

Araneta holds the 6th position in the IBF rankings, and he is placed fifth in the World Boxing Association (WBA), eighth in the World Boxing Organization (WBO), and 17th in the World Boxing Council (WBC). Magramo is positioned at seventh in the IBF, sixth in the WBO, and 30th in the WBC rankings.

Araneta is 23-2 with 18 knockouts, while Magramo is 17-1-1 with 11 knockouts.

The winner of the title eliminator becomes the mandatory title challenger of the winner of the rematch between IBF light flyweight king Adrian Curel and Sivenathi Nontshinga on Feb. 16 in Mexico.

In the co-main feature, Froilan Saludar is fighting Japanese veteran Keita Kurihara for the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) and IBF Pan Pacific bantamweight straps in a rematch.

“I got knocked out in our last fight. This time, I’ll beat him up and get the win,” said Kurihara. “I really want to avenge my loss to Saludar. I will win by knockout.”

The 34-year-old Saludar got the better of Kurihara in their first meeting last year in Japan. He stopped Kurihara in the opening round to win the OPBF bantamweight title.

“If he’s planning to beat me up then I’m also beating him up. I got a bit lucky and landed the knockout punch in the first fight. I expect this fight to be tougher. However, I’m confident that I’ll win,” said Saludar.

Saludar is 34-7-1 with 24 knockouts, Kurihara is 17-8 with 15 knockouts.

In the undercard, Benny Cañete (9-1, 6 KOs) exchanges blows with experiences Thai Phissanu Chimsunthom (50-13-2, 17 KOs), Al Toyogon (14-8-2, 9 KOs) is up against undefeated Japanese knockout artist Kotaro Sekine (7-0, 6 KOs), veteran Ronnie Baldonado (17-5-1, 9 KOs) locks horns with Japanese Kenshin Hosokawa (6-1-1, 5 KOs), Japanese Kyota Watanabe makes his pro debut against Lourinz Biasong (1-0), former world title contender Jeo Santisima (22-7, 19 KOs) trades leathers with Pablito Canada (8-24-6, 2 KOs), one-time world title challenger Jayson Mama (19-1, 10 KOs) faces off with Dennis Gaviola (3-3-2, 2 KOs) and Ramil Roda Jr. (2-1-2) clashes with Anthony Galigao (10-20, 5 KOs).

Pio Paulo Castillo, president of Omega Boxing, shed light on the future plans for the promotion:

“With the right partners, with the right team, I think we can hold continuous big boxing events such as this one. As much as I’d like to tell you guys where this is headed, I want to get through this fight first and see what we can do after. But I’ll tell you this, with the right partners, with the right team, I feel like we can bring the world championship here in Cebu, or at least in Manila for the Filipino boxing fans to enjoy.” (PCG)

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