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Magramo a win away from title shot

By Joaquin Henson
Wed, 14 Aug 2019

Magramo (C) with Liza (L) and Johnny Elorder.

Giemel Magramo is a win away from a crack at the IBF flyweight crown but his obstacle is a Thai veteran with nine Filipino victims in his resume and it won?t be easy hurdling Eaktawan Krungthepthonburi in their 12-round title eliminator at the Jurado Hall of the Philippine Marine Corps, Fort Bonifacio, on Sept. 7.

Magramo, 24, is the only Filipino rated by the four major world boxing governing bodies and stakes his lofty reputation against Eaktawan. He?s ranked No. 2 by the WBO, No. 4 by the IBF and No. 5 by both the WBC and WBA. Eaktawan, 30, is rated No. 3 by the IBF where the No. 1 and No. 2 slots are vacant. The winner of the Magramo-Eaktawan bout will be IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane?s next mandatory challenger. Mthalane, 36, is a South African who holds wins over six Filipinos, including two-time world champion Johnriel Casimero.

Magramo, the second of four children, comes from a boxing family. His father Melvin went the full route with Sen. Manny Pacquiao when they were flyweights in 1997. Pacquiao won by a unanimous decision but at the end of one round, he was so dazed that he went to the wrong corner. Magramo?s younger brother Arvin is a fighter, too. His uncle Ronnie once held the WBF minimumweight crown and another uncle Ric, Jr. lost on points to Paul Weir in a WBO lightflyweight title fight in Scotland in 1995. His grand-uncle Ric, Sr. was a rugged Philippine flyweight champion who battled world titleholders Erbito Salavarria, Bernabe Villacampo, Walter McGowan and Hiroyuki Ebihara and retired in 1970.

Magramo?s manager Johnny Elorde said it?s a golden opportunity for a world title shot. Magramo, nicknamed ?Pistolero,? has won his last six outings, all inside the distance. Last January, he halted Wenfeng Ge in Suzhou as referee Danrex Tapdasan ruled the Chinese fighter unable to continue with a swollen right eye, blood coming out of his nose and a cut over the right eye at the end of the 10th round. The win raised Magramo?s record to 23-1, with 19 KOs.

Magramo?s only setback was a decision to Korea-based Pakistani Muhammad Waseem in Seoul for the WBC silver flyweight title in 2016. Japanese referee Yuji Fukuji ordered a point deduction on Magramo for an accidental headbutt and it cost him. Without the deduction, the outcome would?ve been a majority draw.

Eaktawan has previously fought thrice in the Philippines, losing to Albert Pagara on a second round knockout in Maasin in 2012, Froilan Saludar on points in Makati in 2013 and Donnie Nietes on points in an IBF flyweight title fight in Cebu in 2017. But his long list of victims includes Filipinos Rollen del Castillo, Crison Omayao, Jeny Boy Boca, Jayar Diama, Jomar Fajardo, Lionel Legada, Edison Berwela, Renz Llagas and Jimmy Masangkay. The Thai?s record is 25-5, with 16 KOs. He?s the reigning IBF Pan Pacific flyweight champion while Magramo is the WBO International and Oriental flyweight ruler.

?This fight will be very exciting as both are volume punchers,? said Elorde?s wife Liza who promotes Magramo. ?Eaktawan is a good boxer but I think Giemel is a better one as he delivers clearer punches aside from the fact that he?s a thinking and hungry fighter. Once Giemel figures out his opponent, he won?t back off. Sugod ng sugod, hindi umaatras.?

The Magramo-Eaktawan fight will be in the undercard of the main event between Filipinos Samuel Salva and Pedro Taduran for the vacant IBF minimumweight crown. The card will be staged by MP Promotions in the same venue where Jerwin Ancajas defeated Puerto Rico?s McJoe Arroyo to wrest the IBF superflyweight crown in 2016.

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

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