Filipino boxers

Gesta takes on unbeaten Tanajara for WBO US title

Roy Luarca
Coming from a loss and a technical draw in his last two fights, Mercito Gesta badly needs a victory over Hector Tanajara Jr to become a relevant fighter again

Whether Mercito Gesta will be a gatekeeper or be worthy of another world title shot will be known when he challenges unbeaten prospect Hector Tanajara Jr for the World Boxing Organization US National Boxing Council lightweight crown crown on Friday, July 24 (Saturday, July 25, Manila time) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

Coming from a loss and a technical draw in his last two fights, Gesta badly needs a victory over Tanajara to become a relevant fighter again.

Unfazed by Tanajara’s 19-0 record (5 knockouts), Gesta – born in Mandaue City, Cebu and a resident of San Diego, California – feels his 16-year experience en route to a 32-3 (17 KOs) slate will be a key factor in the 10-rounder to be streamed over DAZN.

Never mind the 3-inch height and 7-inch reach advantage of Tanajara, who is also 9 years younger at 23.

Gesta, now under the tutelage of Marvin Somodio at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, has challenged for a world title twice, losing both to Miguel Vasquez in 2012 and Jorge Linares in 2018.

Tanajara, under the stable of former Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia, trusts his skills enough to call out 21-year-old sensation Ryan Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) after beating Ezequiel Aviles by unanimous decision last August 10.

“I want to be a world champion and the only way to do that is to beat tough fighters like Mercito Gesta, who has challenged for a world title and is a southpaw with a lot of experience,” Tanajara said in a statement to Golden Boy Promotions.

Both Gesta and Tanajara were offered as opponents to Garcia, but the heartthrob opted to pass up.

Tanajara’s morale got a boost following the triumph of his stablemate and buddy Joshua Franco over erstwhile unbeaten Jason Moloney for the World Boxing Association junior bantamweight crown on June 23. – Rappler.com