by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Mexico’s Christian “Italiano” Esquivel has said he plans to use his famed right hook when he battles Filipino southpaw Malcolm “Eagle Eye” Tunacao in a WBC bantamweight title eliminator at the Central Gym in Kobe, Japan on December 22.
Esquivel who is ranked No. 4 paid a courtesy call on WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman at the World Boxing Council officesto thank Don Jose for the chance to face Tjnacao, the former WBC flyweight champion who is ranked No,.2 , for the right to challenge reigning 118 pound champion Shinsuke Yamanaka of Japan.
Esquivel fought Yamanaka in a title bout last year but lost by an 11thth round knockout.
Esquivel said “It is a real pride to fight a WBC eliminator. This organization is yje most prestigious in the world of boxing.”
Esquivel said “I feel motivated to win the title and I want to get to that fight but first I have to defeat Tunacao.”
The lanky Tunacao fights for the Shinsie Gym Promotion of Kobe and is managed and trained by Masato Yamashita.
He won the WBC flyweight title with a 7th round TKO over undefeated Medgoen Singsurat (20-0) on May 19, 2000 after Singsurat had won the title with a 3rd round TKO over Manny Pacquiao who failed to make the weight in their September 17, 1999 title showdown.
After a split draw in his first defense against Ceres Kobayshi when he was penalized two points for head-butts, Tunacao lost the title to Thailand’s Pongsaklek Wonjongkam on March 2, 2001.
Tunacao also lost the OPBF bantamweight title the first time around to countryman Rolly Lunas (Matsushita) who also fights out of Japan in a 10th round technical decision on January 13, 2007. However, Tunacao regained the title and has since racked up ten straight wins, the last being an easy eight round decision over Uganda’s Martin Mubiru with all three judges turning in identical 77-73 scorecards.
The 26 year old Esquivel who has a record of 25-3 with 18 knockouts won the North American Boxing Federation title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Jesus Ruiz last April 14.