Cataraja’s fight against Heno is a good test if he’s ready for bigger fights, says promoter

By: Dale Rosal - CDN Digital | January 18,2023 - 05:28 PM

Catarja fight

Kevin Jake Catarja. | Facebook photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Sanman Boxing Promotions’ chief JC Manangquil will test the mettle of Cebuano world-ranked prospect Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja to check if he’s ready for bigger fights, particularly for a world title.

Manangquil and Sanman Boxing recently announced Cataraja being featured in the main event of a fight card they’re promoting in General Santos City on February 11, 2023.

Cataraja, ranked No. 6 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and No. 13 in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super flyweight division, will fight an equally dangerous foe in Edward Heno.

They will battle for the vacant Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super flyweight title. 

“For sure kahibalo mo nga good fight ni para ni KJ (Cataraja), tinuod ni nga test kung asa na siya sa iyang career. Kung modaog siya, for sure, ready na siya for bigger fights,” said Manangquil, who is Cataraja’s promoter.

Manangquil and Cataraja’s manager Marivic and Nobuyuki Matsuura of ZIP-Sanman Boxing Team, were in Cebu to attend the turnover ceremony of the newly made WBO world minimumweight belt to Melvin Jerusalem, who recently won the title in Osaka, Japan, against erstwhile champion Masataka Taniguchi via a second round TKO. 


The 27-year-old Cataraja, a native of Tabuelan town, north Cebu, is unbeaten in 15 fights with a staggering 13 knockouts in his resume. 

Cataraja served as one of ALA Boxing Gym’s top prospects before it closed its doors in 2020. He is a former WBO Youth super flyweight champion.

“Sa pagkakaron, taas taas na mi ug training, especially kuyog mi ni Melvin (Jerusalem) sa Japan, daghan ko nakat-unan sa Japan, hopefully ma apply nato sa dula, hinay-hinay na ko ug naog sa weight. Mga 70-80-percent ready nako sa fight,” said Catarja.

Besides being a top-caliber prospect, Cataraja earned recognition as one of the favorite sparring partners of Japanese boxing world champions. 

Cataraja is one of the sparring partners of undisputed bantamweight Japanese world champion Naoya Inoue in the latter’s training camps. 

For Cataraja, sparring with Inoue helped him learn plenty of techniques and lessons which he can apply to his arsenal in the ring. 

“Dako ug tabang ang sparring namo ni Inoue. Pero ilado man si Heno nga aggressive ug molabay gyud ug kumo nga kusog sa duwa. Unya mas experienced siya kaysa nako. Para nako lang, di nako pasubrahan akong kumpyansa, pero ako gihapon tanan nakong best. Kung naay knockout atong paningkamotan,” Cataraja said.

Heno is a former world title challenger with a record of 15-1-6 (win-loss-draw) with five knockout wins. 

The 30-year-old Heno fought for the WBO world light flyweight title in 2019 against Mexican champion Elwin Soto in the United States but came up short after losing by unanimous decision. 

His most previous bout was also unimpressive after settling for a draw against Brian Lobetania in La Trinidad, Benguet. 

Nonetheless, Heno has earned more titles than Cataraja in his career. He is the former PBF light flyweight, OPBF light flyweight, and Asian Boxing Federation light flyweight champion, making him a dangerous foe for Cataraja. 



Cebuano boxer, sparring partner of many world champions, dreams of being a world champion one day 

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TAGS: CEbu boxing, General Santos, Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja, Philippine boxing, Sanman Boxing Gym

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