By: Lemuel P. Maglinte
Unbeaten Cebuano rising star Kevin Jake ‘KJ’ Cataraja proved that he is ready for the big stage after he successfully claimed the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super flyweight championship via unanimous decision over tough Edward Heno the other night in General Santos City.
The 27-year-old Cataraja took control in the majority of the fight using his sharp jabs as he landed combinations to the head and body of Heno, but the latter suddenly came to life in the ninth round as he connected with some solid shots that shook Cataraja.
Showing his maturity, Cataraja immediately recovered and regained momentum back as he continued to box his way until the final round.
When the verdict was announced, the ZIP Sanman Boxing Team stalwart won in all scorecards with the score 116-112, 117-111, and 118-110 to stay clean at 16-0, spiked with 13 KOs. Heno suffered his second defeat in 18 fights.
“It was not an easy fight. He (Heno) was tough but at least I got the chance to show that I am ready for the big fights,” said Cataraja. “I will probably defend my belt, maybe in Japan that is why I’ll be continuing my training after a short rest.”
“My manager was saying that I will be doing a training camp in the United States, and I am excited because I will have a chance to improve more,” added Cataraja, who previously said that he wants to gain more victories to get the shot at the WBC world title.
“I’ll just need to keep on winning and showing good performance. I am still young but I want to get a world title shot as soon as possible,” he added.
With the win, Cataraja will surely barge into the top 15 of the WBC super flyweight division currently reigned by Mexican-American Jesse Rodriguez.
He is currently ranked No. 6 in the WBO with Kazuto Ioka of Japan as the champion and No. 13 in the IBF with Fernando Martinez of Argentina currently holding the title. Cataraja is also ranked No.6 in the WBO and No.13 in the IBF. –LPM