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Cuello on track for title shot

By Joaquin Henson
Mon, 08 Apr 2019

Denver Cuello.

After undergoing two shoulder surgeries and a stem cell procedure, one-time WBC minimumweight title challenger Denver Cuello is back on track for a crack at the throne, this time in the flyweight division with plans to headline a blockbuster card at the 12,000-seat Jesse Robredo Coliseum in Naga City on June 16.

Cuello, 32, ended a nearly four-year layoff to stop Indonesian veteran Jack Amisa in two rounds in Angono, Rizal, last month and declared himself 100 percent ready to go for the crown. In 2013, he dropped WBC 105-pound champion Xiong Zhaozhong of China in the first round and was on the way to wresting the title when the rotator cuff in his right shoulder tore in the fourth round. Fighting with one arm, Cuello pushed Xiong to the brink but lost a majority 12-round decision.

Cuello had two operations to repair the rotator cuff, two years apart with Dr. Agripino Beng Javier and Dr. Manuel Pecson performing both surgeries at the Makati Medical Center. The second operation in 2015 involved screwing a piece of bone to fasten the shoulder permanently. For close to four years, Cuello stepped away from the ring to heal the injury. He focused on his religious duties, opened a coffee shop and did some trading. Eventually, he decided to make a comeback with his shoulder now fully healed.

During his layoff, Cuello?s weight ballooned to 147 pounds but slowly, he brought it down to 118, the bantamweight limit for the Amisa fight. A southpaw, Cuello said he felt no pain throwing his right hand against Amsia and used it to pound the body for a submission. ?Hinataw ko yung right upper,? he said. ?Hindi sumakit yung balikat ko. Malaking tulong ang ginawa nina Dr. Beng at Dr. Pecson. Sila ang nagpagaling sa akin.?

Cuello said Mexican trainer Eddy Reynoso of Canelo Promotions has reached out to offer any assistance in bringing him back to contention. Cuello met Reynoso during his Mexican campaign in 2010-12 when he stopped Sebastian Arcos, Carlos Perez and Ganigan Lopez, outpointed Ivan Flores and lost to Juan Hernandez on a disputed disqualification. ?Ang balak ni Eddy ay maginsayo ako sa Mexico at siya ang bahala sa akin,? said Cuello.

But Cuello said he plans to fight for the vacant WBC silver flyweight title, likely against a Mexican, in Naga City then explore possibilities overseas with Reynoso. Naga City Mayor John Bongat is opening the Robredo Coliseum doors for Cuello whose new manager is Chad Colocado. Cuello was recently in Naga City to meet with Bongat and gave his thumbs-up after looking over the Robredo Coliseum.

Matchmaker Brico Santig said Cuello will be in the main event in Naga City with WBO Oriental superbantamweight champion Jeo Santisima of Masbate, comebacking one-time WBO featherweight title challenger Bernabe Concepcion of Catanduanes, former WBC flyweight titlist Sonny Boy Jaro of Negros Occidental and unbeaten bantamweight Carl Jammes Martin of Ifugao in the undercard. Bongat said the Coliseum will be packed to the rafters if the promotion pushes through.

Cuello said now more than ever, he?s determined to make his championship dream come true. His wife Rowena and their three children Prince, 9, Dentry, 5 and Dwyane, 2 are all in Iloilo, his home province, while he concentrates on training in Metro Manila. Cuello said he?s training every day in the gym without distractions and his target is to win the world title that was almost his six years ago.

?Buo ang loob ko,? said Cuello. ?OK na ang kinikilos ko. Bumalik na ang lakas at bilis ko. Handa na ako makipagsapalaran. Last card ko na ito. Unang target ay ang WBC silver championship. Tapos, tuloy na sa world title fight.?

Cuello?s record is 37-5-6, with 25 KOs. What?s impressive is he has never lost in fights in the US, Japan and Thailand (twice). He has won 16 of his last 17 fights dating back to 2010 and is a leading candidate to become the next Filipino world champion.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.

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