Quijano: ‘Kumbati 16’ was the BOMB

Quijano.File photo

Huge congratulations are in order for Omega Sports Promotions for throwing a huge haymaker to start 2024, signaling the revival of big- time boxing in Cebu.

Last Friday, the convention center at the NUSTAR Resort pulsated not only with the bombastic fists exchanged by the protagonists but also teemed with heartbeats of a throng of boxing aficionados excited to come together again for shared passion for the “Sweet Science.”

ARANETA. In the main event, Christian “The Bomb” Araneta (24-2, 19KOs) provided a fitting finis to the action-packed proceedings as he made short work of Arvin Magramo, deposing him twice to the canvas and ending matters in a little under two minutes of the very first round.

The fight was short but eventful. After a few cautious moments where both men sized each other out, both boxers unloaded combinations.

This is usually where the cream rises to the top and during these exchanges we often discover who is the superior fighter. A sneaky left uppercut just as Magramo was attempting to land his own left stunned Magramo. Araneta followed that up with another uppercut which resulted in the fight’s first knockdown.

A few seconds later, another knockdown ensued courtesy of a beautifully placed counter right hook knocked Magramo down and my esteemed companero and boxing referee par excellence Danrex Tapdasan wisely called for the denouement of the fight.

Afterwards, a jubilant Julus Erving Junco — Araneta’s trainer, told this Last Rounder that he knew that if Magramo decided to exchange with Araneta it would not last more than six rounds.

SALUDAR-KURIHARA. In what would turn out to be the fight of the night, visiting Japanese pug Keita Kurihara was able to exact revenge on Saludar for knocking him out in the previous fight by stopping the gritty Pinoy in the 8th round.

The fight started out with a frenetic pace as Kurihara bull-rushed Saludar from the get-go, forcing the latter to stand his ground and go toe to toe with his bigger opponent.

From then on, it would turn out to be a slugfest to which Saludar would come up short.

When I ran into my “tocayo” after the fight, he revealed that it was a body shot that hurt him and took the wind out of his sails.

True enough, in rounds 3-5, Kurihara hurt Saludar several times prompting us to think he would not last each round. But miraculously he pulled through each time and survived. He also gained his second wind by Round 6 and was countering beautifully and had Kurihara wobbly on several occasions. That fight had shades of Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo written all over it.

Unfortunately, Saludar succumbed to the physicality brought about by Kurihara and when he was knocked down again in the 8th his body failed him and he was counted out.

LAST ROUND. It’s on one of my dearest friends, Siegfred Melleza who celebrates his birthday this week. Cheers, bro!


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