By Ryan Songalia
Former WBC flyweight champion Malcolm Tunacao has relinquished his OPBF bantamweight title in hopes of securing a showdown with WBC super flyweight titlist Tomas Rojas, possibly for October.
The 32-year-old Tunacao - a native of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines now based out of Kobe, Japan with a record of 28-2-3 (17 KO) - has won seven straight since losing a cut abbreviated technical decision to fellow Pinoy Rolly Lunas in 2007.
Tunacao hopes to return to world championship glory for the first time since losing the title to Thai legend Pongsaklek Wonjongkam ten years ago.
"I think my manager is planning for me to fight for a world title," said Tunacao, who is handled by Japanese promoter/manager Masahito Yamashita. "But they are still negotiating until now."
The 5'7" Tunacao will have to drop three pounds to the 115 pound weight limit to challenge Rojas. Though Tunacao hasn't made that weight since 2003, he doesn't feel it would be any trouble.
Tunacao is still training with former world title challenger and boyhood friend Eriberto Gejon, while working as a personal trainer from 2-5PM in the afternoons.
Rojas, 31, from Veracruz, Mexico, has made two successful defenses of the belt since defeating Japan's Kohei Kono to win the title last year. Rojas is promoted by Mexican outfit Zanfer Promotions and will face an opponent to be named on September 3 in Mexico.
Rojas' 36-12-1 (24 KO) record indicate his inconsistencies during his fifteen year career. Rojas has been stopped by hard-hitting world champions Jorge Arce and Vic Darchinyan, and lost by decision to now retired champ Gerry Penalosa in a 2006 non-title match.
"He's a good boxer, technician and fighter, but I know I can beat him," Tunacao said of Rojas, who like him is also a southpaw.
"I have good experience and a lot of people here fully support me."
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News and the Filipino Reporter newspaper in New York City. He can be reached at [email protected]. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ryansongalia.