by Ronnie Nathanielsz
The Chairman of the Championship Committee of the International Boxing Federation Lindsey Tucker has informed the manager of super featherweight contender Michael Farenas, former two division world champion Gerry Penlosa that the scheduled purse bid for a fight against Diego Magdaleno to determine the mandatory challenger on September 16 has been cancelled.
Penalosa was upset over the cancellation and told BoxingScene/Manila Standard/Viva Sports that “Diego Magdaleno pulled out from fighting Farenas” and branded the American “a chicken heart.”
Penalosa said Tucker had informed him that next in line would be undefeated Jose "Sniper" Pedraza, the 25 year old Puerto Rican who is ranked No. 6 by the IBF and has an impressive record of 18-0 with 12 knockouts.
Pedraza won the vacant International Boxing Organization super featherweight title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Alberto Garza last March 22 and successfully defended his title with a rousing 6th round stoppage of Juan Carlos Martinez who was reportedly outclassed on the co-main event on ESPN’s Friday Night Fight last August 15 and forced to retire in the 6th round of a scheduled ten round bout.
A report on the fight referred to Pedraza as Puerto Rico’s “shining star” and said he “looked sensational as he defeated rough and rugged Juan Carlos Martinez (20-15-1, 7 KO’s) by way of a knockout when Martinez quit on his stool after the 6th round.”
It said the win gets Pedraza one step closer to a world title opportunity. In a post fight interview Pedraza said he wanted to make a statement and “let the whole boxing world know that I am for real. I feel I’m ready to fight any of the champions in my weight class. I know I have the talent to bring a world title back home to my people of Puerto Rico.”
A multi-titled amateur boxer, Pedraza lost in the round of 16 at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 to France’s Daouda Sow who eventually won the silver medal.
Penalosa told the Standard that while Pedraza is tall compared to Farenas “he has never been tested” and added that Farenas in fact prefers to fight him instead of Magdaleno.