MANILA, Philippines – Former junior bantamweight titleholder Marvin Sonsona will take the next step towards getting his career back on track when he faces former junior featherweight titleholder Akifumi Shimoda on February 22 at the Venetian Resort and Casino in Macau.
Sonsona (17-1-1, 14 knockouts) of General Santos City, Philippines has won three straight fights since his lone career loss – a knockout to Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in 2010. The 23-year-old burst onto the world scene in 2009, winning the WBO junior bantamweight title with a win over Jose “Carita” Lopez in Canada, becoming the second-youngest Filipino in history to win a world title.
Sonsona lost the belt just two months later, drawing with Alejandro Hernandez after failing to make the contracted weight of 115. Sonsona has been largely inactive since the loss to Vazquez due to out-of-the-ring distractions. Most recently, a fire tore through the Sonsona home last year, burning all of Sonsona’s possessions and making him seek refuge in a gymnasium.
Shimoda (28-3-2, 12 KOs) of Tokyo, Japan has been gone 5-0-1 since his last loss in 2011, which includes a win over Sonsona’s old foe Hernandez in his previous bout. Shimoda had won the WBA 122-pound title in 2011 but was knocked out in six rounds by Rico Ramos in his first defense later that year.
A press release from Sonsona’s promoter Sammy Gello-ani erroneously cited Toshiaki Nishioka as Sonsona’s opponent. A source with the show’s promoter Top Rank confirmed that Sonsona will indeed be on the card, but against Shimoda.
The show will also feature IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13 KOs) defending against Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18 KOs), plus three Olympic gold medalists – Zou Shiming, Egor Mekhontsev and Ryota Murata – in separate bouts. Filipino prospects Jerwin Ancajas (18-1-1, 10 KOs) and Harmonito De La Torre (11-0, 6 KOs) will also be in action.
The Venetian in Macau has become a launching pad of top Asian boxing talent in the past year, particularly Filipino boxing, having hosted Manny Pacquiao, Brian Viloria, Milan Melindo and Genesis Servania fights since Top Rank began hosting events in April. – Rappler.com