By Boxing Bob Newman
In other world title action which was overshadowed by the Canelo Alvarez-Avni Yildirim mega-event in Miami, Florida, unheralded Rene Mark Cuartos snatched the IBF mini flyweight title from defending champion Pedro Taduran over twelve very close rounds at Bula Gym in General Santos City, Philippines.
Southpaw champion Taduran was making the second defense of the vacant title he won with a RTD4 nod over compatriot Samuel Salva in September 2019. One year ago in February 2020, Taduran travelled to hostile territory taking on hometowner Daniel Valladares in Guadalupe, Nueva Leon, Mexico. In his second consecutive bout marred by a clash of heads, Taduran walked away with the belt still around his waist after Valladares was deemed unable to continue and a majority draw was scored.
This time out, Taduran would face another countryman in “Mighty Mouse” Cuarto, on home soil. Taduran spent the entire fight coming forward in his aggressive southpaw stance, throwing and landing punches-in-bunches, while a retreating Cuarto chose to counter, often with singular, eye catching shots, which drew cheers from the limited crowd.
The southpaw vs conventional stances did cause for more clashes of heads in this affair as well. Cuarto fell to his knees, courtesy of an unintentional head clash in round nine while in a clinch. Round eleven saw a tackle of Taduran by a tired Cuarto. After a time out in round trwelve for loose tape on the left glove of Cuarto, “Mighty Mouse” chose to get on his bicycle and retreat for the remainder of the round, often raising his hands as if assured of having the fight in the bag. Both fighters celebrated with their hands in the air at the final bell.
In the end, all three Filipino judges tallied identical scores of 115-113 for the new champion Cuartos! Taduran appeared in disbelief as he had pressed the fight, landing voluminous punches throughout, as opposed to Cuarto’s sporadic counters. Cuarto moves to 19-2-2, 11 KOs, while Taduran falls to 14-3-1, 11 KOs. A rematch of this nip & tuck affair between these two fellow Filipinos seems a natural.