By Ronnie Nathanielsz
“Marvelous” Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14 KO’s) who became the second youngest Filipino world champion at the age of 19 when he handily beat veteran Puerto Rican super flyweight champion Jose Carita Lopez but then fell prey to good times and a carefree lifestyle, seeks to resurrect his stature in what many consider a career defining fight on February 22 in Macau.
Sonsona, his manager Dr. Rajan Yraola and veteran trainer Jun Agrabio all concede the 23 year old southpaw from General Santos City, the hometown of “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao and someone who was considered a possible heir-apparent to Pacquiao, faces a daunting task against former WBA world super bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12 KO’s) of Japan who lost his title in a stunning 7th round knockout when he was in control of the fight and leading on the scorecards of all three judges but has since won six straight fights.
Sonsona and his team left for Macau on Tuesday, mindful of the fact that aside from the southpaw Shimoda being a tough opponent, they had less than a month to prepare for the fight.
Team Sonsona has worked diligently to get Marvin in shape. He’s been jogging religiously every morning and working out in Dr. Yraola’s Gym along Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City and sparring at Pacquiao’s gym at MP Towers in Manila, regularly going twelve rounds with southpaw featherweights Cristian Abila and Archie Toquero.
Dr. Yraola told the Manila Standard that when Sonsona began training about a month ago he was 140 pounds but has now come down to 130 which is four pounds over the featherweight limit which shouldn’t be a problem as they reach the weigh-in on Friday.
Both Yraola and Agrabio told us that Sonsona had given up his fun-loving ways in a determined effort to regain his standing as a world title contender which he would surely accomplish with an impressive win over Shimoda who is quick, moves well but doesn’t have the power that Sonsona possesses.
With strength and conditioning coach Warren Pirante and nutritionist Roxanne De Villa in training camp Sonsona told us he feels stronger than ever and is in good shape.
The newly launched ABS-CBN Sports & Action Channel on Studio 23 will telecast the Top Rank fight card at 12:00 noon on Sunday.Tags: Akifumi Shimoda , Marvin Sonsona