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Japan hosts all-Filipino ring war

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF KJ Cataraja Orient-Pacific super-flyweight champion KJ Cataraja (second from right) makes a tough first defense against Jayr Raquinel in an all-Filipino encounter on 11 November in Nagoya.

Top Filipino prospects KJ Cataraja and Jayr Raquinel face off in a rare all-Filipino clash for a regional strap on 11 November in Nagoya, Japan.

Both world-ranked, Cataraja and Raquinel are colliding for the Orient-Pacific Boxing Federation super-flyweight crown titlebelt Cataraja currently holds.

This will mark the first time Cataraja, 28, will defend the OPBF 115-lb crown he had snatched away from the hands of another Filipino, Edward Heno, last February in General Santos City.

Parading a perfect 16-0-0 win-loss-draw record with 13 knockouts, Cataraja fights out of JC Mananquil’s Sanman Boxing and is rated No. 9 by the World Boxing Association and No. 12 by the International Boxing Federation.

Raquinel. 26, punching out of Negros Occidental, totes a 15-2-1 mark with 12 knockouts.

Like Cataraja, Raquinel is also recognized by the world sanctioning bodies.

On a three-fight winning streak, Raquinel is rated No. 7 by the World Boxing Council, No. 13 by the IBF and No. 12 by the World Boxing Organization.

The last time two Filipino punchers figured in a major matchup took place weeks ago when fast-rising light-flyweight Miel Fajardo of Agusan del Sur took out John Paul Gabunilas of Cebu City in just 60 seconds at the Hoops Dome on Mactan Island.

Catajara, who used to spar with pound-for-pound star Naoya Inoue, is currently neck-deep in training in Cebu.

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