Sonsona resurrects career with one-punch KO of Shimoda

Ryan Songalia

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Former junior bantamweight champion Marvin Sonsona resurrected his career

BACK ON TRACK. Marvin Sonsona flashes a thumbs up sign at Friday's weighin. Photo by Ryan Songalia

MACAU – At Friday’s weighin, a confident Marvin Sonsona remarked to an intimate group of associates, “If I don’t knock this motherf–ker out in six rounds I’ll retire,” referring to his Japanese opponent Akifumi Shimoda. 

With one left uppercut, Sonsona resurrected his career, separating the former WBA junior featherweight titleholder from his senses with one left uppercut in the third round on Saturday, February 22 at the Venetian Resort in Macau, China.

The time of stoppage was 1:17.

The former WBO junior bantamweight titleholder Sonsona (18-1-1, 15 knockouts) of General Santos City, Philippines had lost the first two rounds to Shimoda (28-4-2, 12 KOs), as Shimoda pressured his ring-rusty opponent. Still, Sonsona fought with a knowing smile as he wandered around the ring looking for punching angles.

Sonsona, 23, finally began to assert himself in round three, using his long jab to establish the range. Moments later, Sonsona landed a cracker of a left uppercut, sending Shimoda down unconscious face-first and thrusting himself back into the world title picture. 

“For now let’s enjoy the victory and probably by Monday there will be an announcement,” said Sonsona’s long-suffering matchmaker Sampson Lewkowicz about future plans.” When asked whether Sonsona will be angling for a title fight next, Lewkowicz answered, “He deserves it.”

The win comes as redemption for Sonsona, who, after winning the 115-pound championship in 2009 with a decision victory over Puerto Rican Jose Lopez, had floundered into obscurity amid questions of out-of-the ring issues.

Sonsona lost the title in his first defense after missing weight and drawing with Alejandro Hernandez later that year. Sonsona was then knocked out in four rounds in his next fight by Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. in a vie for the vacant WBO junior featherweight title.

Sonsona had been limited to fighting once a year since 2010, and had been living in a boxing gym in General Santos City after his home burned down over the holidays. Sensing a bigger opportunity – and a bigger payday – Sonsona canceled a club fight appearance in his hometown set for February 28 and accepted the Shimoda fight on six weeks notice.

The gamble paid off.

“He was a champion at age 19, now he’s matured and knows what is right and wrong,” said Lewkowicz, who is credited with bringing Manny Pacquiao to the world stage. “Hopefully Marvin Sonsona knows now what is right for his family, his country and himself.”

Earlier in the night, Filipino prospects Jerwin Ancajas and Harmonito Dela Torre won fights by third and first round knockouts, respectively. –

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