Jonas Sultan knocked down knockout artist Carlos Caraballo four times to clinch the World Boxing Organization intercontinental bantamweight crown on Saturday, October 30 (Sunday, October 31, Philippine time).
Proving he’s the bigger puncher, Sultan dropped the Puerto Rican who has stopped all of his 14 previous opponents, in the second, third, sixth, and ninth rounds to earn a unanimous 94-93 decision and put himself in line for another world title crack.
Living up to his newly coined moniker “One Punch Man,” Sultan first put down Caraballo in the second round with a sneaky right hook, surprising the big crowd at the Hulu Theater of Madison Square Garden in New York City.
In the third, Sultan floored Caraballo with a left-right combo to the face and again in the sixth when he landed a solid right.
Sultan asserted his dominance when he decked Caraballo anew with a crackling counter right in the ninth of the 10-rounder, raising his record to 18-5 with 11 knockouts.
Caraballo, who had never gone beyond six rounds before, took the fourth round when he stunned Sultan a few times with left straights and the eighth when he landed loaded straight lefts.
The gap would have been bigger had not the referee ruled a knockdown for Caraballo when Sultan got off-balanced and touched his gloves to the canvas late in the fourth round.
Sultan challenged but lost to International Boxing Federation super flyweight king Jerwin Ancajas, now his friend and sparring partner, in 2018.
“He was good, but I felt I’m stronger,” said Sultan in Filipino, baring he could have finished off Caraballo in the last two rounds were it not for his aching feet caused by the wraps he put on his ankles for the first time in his career.
“This is boxing. This is war. And I came to win tonight. Caraballo is a tough man, but I wanted this one,” added Sultan.
Though satisfied with the overall performance put up by Sultan, trainer Joven Jimenez said there’s room for improvements.
“After a brief rest we’re going to continue training, build up his stamina, and work on his jabs and footwork,” said Jimenez, also the trainer of Ancajas.
Sultan, the pride of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte, who also boasts a unanimous decision win over current World Boxing Organization bantamweight champion Johnriel Casimero in 2017, was the busier fighter, throwing 480 punches and landing 92.
Caraballo, newly signed by Top Rank, connected on 137 of 352 punches he unloaded.
Jimenez was joined at the corner by Ancajas, Sultan’s promoter Brendan Gibbons, and Junnie Navarro, who co-manages Sultan with Mike Venezuela of Zamboanga Valientes MLV.
“I’m proud of Jonas. He showed his valiant heart in fighting for Zamboanguenos and the Filipino people at the Mecca of boxing,” said Navarro, who also noted the support Sultan received from MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbon, Deputy House Speaker Mikee Romero of NorthPort, and philanthropist Cory Navarro.
“We’ll let Jonas rest, enjoy his victory, and arrange for his flight back home and reunite with his family,” said Navarro. – Rappler.com