2 all-Filipino world title fights set in February

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FEBRUARY will be a huge month for boxing in the Philippines as it hosts two all-Filipino world title fights.

Former world champion Vic Saludar slugs it out with unbeaten Robert Paradero for the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) minimumweight strap on Feb. 20, 2021 in a yet-to-be determined venue. International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight titleholder Pedro Taduran will defend his belt against Rene Mark Cuarto in General Santos City on Feb. 27.

Saludar and Paradero are two of the country’s best 105-pounders. They are rated No. 4 and No. 5 by the WBA, respectively.

The 30-year-old Saludar once held the World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight championship after a unanimous decision win over Ryuya Yamanaka in 2018. After one successful title defense, he lost the belt to Wilfredo Mendez by unanimous decision in 2019.

Saludar is coming off a sixth round knockout win over Mike Kinaandaman in Naga City in 2019.

Paradero, on the other hand, also didn’t see action in 2020. His last fight was a first round knockout over Jonathan Almacen in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

Saludar is 20-4 with 11 knockouts, while the 24-year-old Paradero is 18-0 with 12 knockouts.

The fight between Saludar and Paradero will be held either at the Elorde Sports Center in Sucat, Parañaque or in Biñan, Laguna, depending on the quarantine status of Metro Manila, which is currently under general community quarantine.

Meanwhile, Taduran makes his second world title defense since winning the belt with a fourth round stoppage of Samuel Salva in 2019. He defended his title once in 2020 and walked away with his belt around his waist after a technical draw with Daniel Valladares in Mexico.

After falling short against Salva in an IBF minimumweight title eliminator in 2019, the 24-year-old Cuarto has won two of his last three fights. He stopped both Jayson Francisco and Mike Kinaadman and settled to a draw with Jayson Vayson. Cuarto is the third rated minimumweight in the IBF.

The 24-year-old Taduran is 14-2-1 with 11 knockouts, while Cuarto is 18-2-2 with 11 knockouts. / EKA