Balunan faces acid test vs. veteran foe

RISING PUG. Christian Balunan (center) is set to fight Clyde Azarcon in “Kumong Bol-anon XIV. /
RISING PUG. Christian Balunan (center) is set to fight Clyde Azarcon in “Kumong Bol-anon XIV. / File photo Edri K. Aznar

ONE of the hottest Cebuano prospects, Christian Balunan, is in for a tough fight as he faces veteran Clyde Azarcon in the main supporting bout of PMI Bohol Boxing Promotions’ “Kumong Bol-anon XIV” on March 8, 2024, at the Saulog Gymnasium in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

“This is an very important fight for me. This is my first 10-rounder and this should help me move up the rankings. My opponent is a veteran. That’s why I have been training hard and we are focusing on our game plan,” Balunan told SunStar Cebu.

Now ranked No. 15 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight division, the 24-year-old Balunan needs to win impressively over Azarcon to continue his ascent in the world rankings.

“We’ll focus on our game plan and I should not take any chances. I’m thankful that I’m already in the top 15 in the world by the WBO. I thank coach Edito Villamor and sir Floriezyl Echavez Podot and the whole team of Villamor Boxing Gym and PMI Bohol Boxing Promotions,” said Balunan.

Balunan had sparring sessions in different gyms in Cebu. Aside from the Villamor Boxing Gym, he’s visited the ZIP Boxing and Wellness Center and ARQ Boxing Gym for sparring.

Balunan got the chance to spar with four-division world champion Kosei Tanaka and other Japanese fighters Ryoji Miyashita, Raiki Shimada and Kiyoto Narukami. He’s also sparred with Ian Paul Abne, Ramil Macado, Yeroge Gura, John Paul Gabunilas and Gabriel Santisima.

Balunan, who trains under the tutelage of Edito Villamor, broke into the world rankings after winning the WBO Asia-Pacific Youth minimumweight strap with a third-round knockout of 17-year-old Thai prospect Adetip Maungcharoen last Nov. 4, 2023 in Bohol.

The 29-year-old Azarcon is a very experienced fighter who has faced some of the best in boxing’s lower weight divisions. He has fought the likes of current International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight king Ginjiro Shigeoka, and former world champions Rene Mark Cuarto and Vic Saludar.

Azarcon, however, is currently in a slump. He lost his last six fights, wherein he suffered a second-round technical knockout loss to Saludar in his last outing.

Balunan is 9-0 with five knockouts, while Azarcon is 17-9-1 with six knockouts.

The main event features Virgel Vitor (21-3, 14 KOs) fighting South Korean Tae Sun Kim (11-1-2, 8 KOs).

Balunan’s Villamor Boxing Gym teammate, Reymart Tagacanao (7-0, 6 KOs), is seeing action in the co-main event. He’ll be up against Indonesian Hamson Lamandau (12-5-1, 9 KOs) for the World Boxing Association (WBA) Asia super flyweight strap.

Big Yellow Boxing Gym’s Arlando Senoc Jr. (1-0, 1 KOs) is also seeing action in the undercard against Norman Rusiana (1-5-1). / EKA


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