Tuesday, June 25, 2024  |


With Daniel Valladares in his sights, Ginjiro Shigeoka faces Rene Mark Cuarto, Sunday

Ginjiro Shigeoka (left) attacks the body of veteran Rey Loreto. Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

In early January, Ginjiro Shigeoka challenged Daniel Valladares for the IBF strawweight title. For much of the opening three rounds, the diminutive Japanese fighter had his way with Valladares. Unfortunately a clash of heads left the defending champion in no position to continue and the fight was declared an unsatisfactory third round no-contest.

Shigeoka, The Ring’s No. 8 rated strawweight, had hoped to get a direct rematch. However the Mexican’s cut hadn’t sufficiently healed and he wasn’t ready to duke it out for the proposed mid-April date. That meant Shigeoka’s team sorted out the next best thing and will instead face former IBF titlist Rene Mark Cuarto for the vacant interim IBF title at Yoyogi #2 Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan, on Sunday.

The 23-year-old southpaw is taking this fight in his stride but welcomes the opportunity to face another top-level opponent.

“Cuarto is a good fighter and I think it’s a test of what I’m capable of,” Shigeoka (8-0, 6 knockouts) told The Ring through Daisuke Shindo. “You won’t know if you’re good until you try but he is strong physically.”

Shigeoka admits to being a little disappointed with how things went against Valladares in January.

“I think we were on our way to winning,” he said, “but it can’t be helped that it’s over.”

With that in mind, Shigeoka wants a second chance to beat Valladares if all goes well against Cuarto: “If the match is fair, I want to do it [again.]”

Ginjiro’s elder brother Yudai had been due to face WBC titlist Petchmanee CP Freshmart on the same card until the Thai was hospitalized. The brothers wish to create a mini dynasty, similar to what the Klitschko brothers enjoyed at heavyweight, only at the opposite end of the boxing weight scale, at the lightest weight, and be champions at the same time.

“As long as we both win at the same night, the achievement will have great value,” he said philosophically. “If not, it’s worth nothing.”

Shigeoka’s handler Hitoshi Watanabe firmly believes his fighter will deliver a big performance before switching his attention to the full title.

“I believe in Ginjiro’s power and will to win, even if Cuarto is a strong opponent,” said Watanabe.

“We will have a unification match between the interim champion and the resting champion and we want to settle it this time.”

Cuarto (21-3-2, 12 KOs), The Ring’s No. 7-rated strawweight, turned pro at 17. He suffered an early setback, which he later avenged, then lost to compatriot Samuel Salva (UD 12) in an IBF title eliminator. He eventually won the belt by edging past Pedro Taduran (UD 12) but lost it to Valladares (L SD 12) in controversial fashion.



Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright.