FIGHTING thousands of miles away from his country, Christian Araneta perfectly knows what needs to be done to walk away as the victor of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight title eliminator fight with hard-hitting South African prospect Sivenathi Nontshinga on April 25, 2021 in East London, South Africa.
Araneta and his team are unfazed even though Filipinos rarely win in South Africa, especially when the fight goes the distance.
“That’s why we need to score a knockout or a convincing win. We are aware of that situation,” Omega Pro Sports International (OPSI) vice president Jerome Calatrava told SunStar Cebu.
Araneta has only fought once outside the Philippines. In 2019, Araneta faced Daniel Valladares in Mexico and lost via a fifth round stoppage due to a shoulder injury.
Nontshinga, ranked No. 3, was originally scheduled to fight No. 4 rated Abraham Rodriguez in the IBF eliminator. Rodriguez, however, refused the offer which opened up an opportunity for No. 5 ranked Araneta.
“This is very important because this will make him fight the champion in his division if he wins,” said Calatrava.
The winner of the eliminator becomes the mandatory challenger of current IBF light flyweight champion Felix Alvarado, who’s coming off a stoppage win over DeeJay Kriel on Jan. 2, 2021.
The 25-year-old Araneta fought twice in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic. He outclassed Richard Rosales by unanimous decision in OPSI’s first “bubble” boxing event on Oct. 7, 2020. He followed up his win with a rousing first round knockout win over Roland Jay Biendima in OPSI’s second “bubble” boxing show on Dec. 18, 2020.
Meanwhile, Nontshinga is one of South Africa’s highly touted prospects. He has been knocking out opponent after opponent and knocked out Filipino Ivan Soriano in the fifth round of his IBF International light flyweight title defense on March 8, 2020.
Araneta is 19-1 with 15 knockouts, while Nontshinga is 9-0 with nine knockouts.
Araneta, along with his coach Jinggoy Junco and one more team member, will fly out to South Africa on April 9, 2021 for the biggest fight of his life. (EKA)