Sports Eye

Helluva fights in Cebu City

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


INSPIRED by the statement of their promoter ALA Promotions top honcho Michael Aldeguer that they will be given a crack at a world title fight if they win impressively, Jeo “Santino” Santisima, Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja and Prince Albert Pagara fought like growling tigers in their quest for world ranking and won by unanimous decisions and the delight of the partisan crowd in Cebu City.

I went to Cebu to watch the latest ALA Promotions project, another Filipino-Mexican showdown dubbed as “Pinoy Pride 45 Quest for Greatness” held at I.E.C. Convention Center last November 24 .

You must have also seen on TV how the three potential world champions Santisima, Cataraja and Pagara survived the relentless blitzes by the three visiting Mexicans from the opening bell up to the last bang, particularly how the 22 year-old Masbate-born Santisima (17-2, 14KOs) successfully retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Oriental super bantamweight title in his fight against World Boxing Council (WBC) Latino super bantamweight titleholder 23-year old Uriel “Yuca” Lopez, (13-6-1, 6 KOs) of Mexico City . Santisima threw more telling blows than Lopez despite the relentless onslaught by the Mexican from the second up to the 12th and final round to get the nod of the three ring judges.

Yes, that was really a hell-of-a-fight. The two stood toe-to-toe throughout the entire 12-round, taking each other’s best shots but it was Santisima who succeeded in unloading a clean 1-2-3 barrage of combinations numerous times to the head and belly of Lopez. But the Mexican refused to hit the deck and instead pushed forward, responded with furious combinations of his own that earned the praises of the spectators. In fact, despite Lopez loss, the partisan crowd mostly from Cebu City, mobbed him after the fight for photo ops and a chance to shake his hands as a big gesture of admiration for his gallant stand.

“Jeo really has the potential to be a world champ in the future,” said ALA Promotions’ top honcho Aldeguer “The fight was crucial for him as a stepping stone to the big time and he proved his worth.”

Like Santisima, the unbeaten Cataraja (8-0, 7 KOs) also survived relentless attacks by Hugo “Scarface” Reyes of Mexico but Cataraja delivered more and heavier punches to also convince the three ring judges that he deserved the WBO Youth super flyweight belt.
As expected and promised, it was an easy victory for the former world number one contender Prince Albert Pagara (30-1, 21 KOs) knocking out the Ghanaian fighter George Krampah (14-3, 12KOs) 2:50 minutes in the first round to retain his WBO Intercontinental super bantamweight crown.

In the undercards that was not shown on TV, ex-world title challenger King Arthur Villanueva and local boy Carlo Demecillo scored a ten-round majority draw. Another world title wanabe Jonas “Zorro” Sultan unanimously defeated journeyman Ardin Diale in 10 rounds while Filipino-Japanese Go Hosaka won by six rounds unanimous verdict over local bet Jason Tinampay.

In the curtain raisers, Regie Suganob technically knockout Mark Torella in the second round and Lorenz Ladrada unanimously beat Barcua (I forgot his first name) in eight rounds.

Like in the past, I play neutral for having Fil-Mex genes.

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ERRATUM: In my last week column I inadvertently wrote Gilas Pilipinas plays Australia on December 3. It should be Iran and not Australia. Sorry.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” JOHN 10: 10

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