Cataraja unfazed, maintains discipline amid fight postponement
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebuano world-rated prospect Kevin Jake “KJ” Cataraja is unfazed despite the last minute postponement of his November fight against Jayr Raquinel in Nagoya, Japan.
Cataraja was supposedly scheduled to defend his Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) super flyweight title against Raquinel last November 11 in Nagoya, Japan, but this was postponed to February 2024, due to an unforeseen problem in the fight card.
Cataraja sees setback as opportunity to train harder
Despite this, Cataraja remained composed and unfazed, treating the huge setback an opportunity to train harder.
“Sa karon naa mi rule nga dili mi molapas og 15 pounds bisan og wala pa gyud exact date sa akong dula. Kinahanglan gyud prepare mi always, mao nang continuous ra gyud akong training kada adlaw. Disiplina lang gyud pirmi,” Cataraja told CDN Digital.
Cataraja was supposedly going to fight in Japan for the first time after serving several months there as a sparring partner with various world champions like Naoya Inoue.
One of country’s top prospects
The 28-year-old Tabuelan town, Cebu native is one of the country’s top prospects in the super flyweight division. He is unbeaten in 16 bouts with an impressive 13 wins by knockout.
Cataraja who fights under ZIP Sanman Boxing Team was thankful for his promoter and manager Nobuyuki Matsuura for giving him a one-week vacation in Japan after his fight was postponed in the last minute.
After that, Cataraja flew back to Cebu to continue his training under the supervision of veteran trainer Michael Domingo.
Why Cataraja was not discouraged by the postponement
“Wala ra man sad ko na discourage pagkapostpone kay naa ra si coach Mike (Domingo) gapasabot namo nga ing-ana gyud na ang dula, naa jud mga panghitabo. Syempre nadismaya ko pagannounce nila, wala dayon ko nakatuo kay grabe akong preparasyon, pero as a boxer, we need to move on and continue seeking another opportunity,” Cataraja said.
(I was not discouraged when I learned about the postponement because coach Mike (Domingo) is here, who helped us to understand that sometimes the game goes that way, there are things that will happen. Of course, I was disappointed when they announced it, I could not believe it at first because of my hard preparation, but as a boxer, we need to move on and continue seeking another opportunity.)
Cataraja added that one of his motivations to continue training despite the uncertainty of his postponed fight was his family.
“Walay hunong ang suporta sa akong pamilya through my ups and downs, ug samot na akong team pud nga naa pirmi mosalig ug motuo nako nga makab-ot nako akong gipangandoy nga world title,” added Cataraja.
(My family never stopped supporting me through my ups and downs, and especially now that my team also are here continuing to support and to believe in me that I can reach my world title dream.)
Raquinel also a world-rated prospect
Cataraja is ranked No. 7 in the WBA super flyweight division, and No. 11 in the IBF. A win over Raquinel in February, would further improve his chances to fight for a world title.
However, Raquinel (15W-2L-1D,12KOs) isn’t just another opponent. He is also a world rated prospect who once held the WBO Intercontinental super flyweight strap.
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