Boxing: Jonathan Taconing aims to be 4th Filipino champion
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines could have a 4th world boxing champion this weekend as Jonathan Taconing faces off with WBC strawweight titleholder Ganigan Lopez on Saturday, July 2 (Sunday morning Manila time) at the Arena Coliseo in Mexico City, Mexico.
Speaking with Rappler from Mexico City, Liza Elorde, wife of Taconing's manager Johnny Elorde, said the 29-year-old southpaw from Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines is in good spirits, weighing just a pound over the 108-pound limit following Wednesday's media workout.
"That’s why he's still eating. Because if he trains, he's 108," said Elorde.
Taconing (22-2-1, 18 knockouts) will meet Lopez (27-6, 17 KOs) again for Thursday's final press conference, then once more at Friday's weigh-in before fight night on Saturday.
With a win, Taconing would join WBO junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire Jr, WBO junior flyweight titleholder Donnie Nietes, and IBF flyweight titleholder Johnriel Casimero among current boxing champions from the Philippines.
Taconing, 29, spent the first two days adjusting to the time difference and elevation in Mexico City, which sits 2,250 meters above sea level. Elorde noted that Taconing fought at a higher elevation last year when he stopped former champion Ramon Garcia in 10 rounds in Metepec, Mexico.
Taconing has won 9 straight fights since his last defeat, a controversial 5-round technical decision loss to Kompayak Porpramook in Thailand in 2012 for the same title.
Lopez, 34, won the title this past March with a majority decision over Yu Kimura in Japan after losing a decision to then-titleholder Pedro Guevara a year earlier.
In contrast with Taconing's calm, Elorde said she saw concern from Lopez during a face-to-face meeting at the World Boxing Council.
"I don't want to be biased but I can see in the eyes of Ganigan that he's a little bit nervous. In his interviews he was saying this is his toughest fight against Taconing," she added.
Elorde will reach out to the Philippine ambassador on Thursday about bringing Filipino fans to the 16,500-seat arena to support Taconing on fight night.
Part of Taconing's relaxation before the fight has been praying at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a famous Roman Catholic church in the Mexican capital.
Taconing's entourage in Mexico includes Johnny and Liza Elorde, plus two of their sons, Juan Miguel "Mig" Elorde and Juan Martin "Bai" Elorde, who both have over 20 pro fights to their credit, and trainer Eddie Ballaran, a former pro during the 1970s and 80s.
The fight will not be televised in the Philippines. – Rappler.com
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