Cataraja of Cebu to defend OPBF title against Raquinel in Japan

By: Glendale G. Rosal - Multimedia Correspondent - CDN Digital | October 26,2023 - 06:00 AM

Cataraja of Cebu to defend OPBF title against Raquinel in Japan. In photo are Kevin Jake Cataraja (right) and Japanese boxing superstar Naoya Inoue. | Photo from Cataraja's Facebook

Kevin Jake Cataraja (right) and Japanese boxing superstar Naoya Inoue. | Photo from Cataraja’s Facebook

CEBU CITY, Philippines — World-rated Cebuano boxer, Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja can’t contain his excitement to finally step inside the ring in Japan for a fight and not for a sparring session.

The 28-year-old Cataraja of ZIP Sanman Boxing Team will face fellow world-rated boxer Jayr Raquinel on November 11, 2023, at the Prefectural Budokan in Nagoya, Japan. 

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

Cataraja, in-demand sparring partner

Cataraja became popular in the local boxing scene for being one of the most in-demand sparring partners for various Japanese world champions.

It includes boxing superstar Naoya “Monster” Inoue, former three-division world champion Kosei Tanaka and former WBO world minimumweight world champion Riyuya Yamanaka. 

READ: Tapales, Inoue unification showdown officially set on Dec. 26 in Tokyo

OPBF title at stake

This time, he finally made one of his dreams come true, which is to fight in Japan. 

At stake will be Cataraja’s Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super flyweight title.

It will serve as the main event of the fight card promoted by Kameda Promotions. 

READ: Cataraja working hard in US, waiting for perfect opportunity to show boxing skills

Cataraja grabs ‘big opportunity’

“Dako kaayung oppurtunidad nga dili gyud angay palampason. Dugay na jud ni naku gipangandoy sad makadula sa laing nasud, dili lang sparring partner sa mga world champions. Mao ako jud gigrab dayun ni nga opportunity,” Cataraja told CDN Digital. 

(This is a big opportunity that should not be wasted. This has long been my dream to fight in another country, not just as a sparring partner of world champions. That is why I immediately grabbed this opportunity.)

Cataraja, a native of Tabuelan, northwest Cebu is unbeaten in 16 fights with 13 knockouts. 

Raquinel (15-2-1, 12KOs) will be one of his toughest opponent to date. 

READ: Tabuelan, Cebu’s ‘KJ’ Cataraja earns OPBF title via unanimous decision win over Heno

Lean on his abilities

Cataraja’s most previous foe was Edward Heno (15-1-6, 5KOs), where he won the OPBF title via unanimous decision last February in General Santos City. 

“Sa akoa, siguro ang advantage naku kay akong abilidad nga akong dalhon sa dula kung naa man siya weakness. Kahibalo ko iya nang gitrainingan pud. Mao kung naa man gani siya weakness nga ako makita sa dula, ako jud nang pangitaag paagi,” Cataraja said. 

(For me, perhaps my advantage is my ability that I will bring in the fight if he has a weakness. I know that he has trained for this fight too. That is why if he has a weaknes that I can find in the fight, then I will always find a way [to exploit that].)

READ: Domingo battles Japanese in undercard of Cataraja-Raquinel headliner

9th in WBA super flyweight division

Cataraja is currently training with veteran coach Michael Domingo at their gym in Barangay Guadalupe in Cebu City. He trains alongside stablemate Esneth Domingo who will fight in the undercard against Japanese Keisuke Iwasaki. 

Cataraja is currently ranked ninth in the WBA’s super flyweight division and No. 12 in the IBF. Raquinel comes in at the 13th spot in the IBF and seventh in the WBC. 

“Para nako, this fight is very important. Mao ra ni siya og one step closer na lang para world title. So, ako jud trabahuon ug paningkamotan basin pwede na ta para sa world-title level,” Cataraja concluded. 

(For me, this fight is very important. This will be a step closer for a world title. So, I will work and try hard and perhaps, we can be for the world-title level.)

READ: Marlon Tapales says he will be Naoya Inoue’s ‘worst nightmare’


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TAGS: Jayr Raquinel, Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja, OPBF super flyweight title

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