Rene Mark Cuarto outpointed countryman Pedro Taduran to snatch the IBF minimumweight crown in their 12-round slugfest at Bula Gym in General Santos City on Saturday.
All three judges scored the bout 115-113 in favor of the Zamboanga del Norte fighter, who now holds a record of 19-2-2.
The Albay-born Taduran was the aggressor for most of the bout, connecting a huge left hand that nearly floored Cuarto in the seventh round.
But Cuarto, who fights under MP Promotions, survived using his effective counter left while battled his way toward the end despite fatigue.
"Matibay din si Pedro. Sure talaga ako, pinag-aralan namin ang style niya . . . Matagal namin pinaghirapan ito," said the new champion in the post fight interview.
Cuarto also acknolwedged getting hurt in the seventh. Fortunately, he said, he was well-conditioned enough to continue.
"Solid 'yung pagkatama niya sa akin sa Round 7. Pero ensayado ako, nangibabaw 'yung tapang at lakas ng loob ko para mapanalunan ko ito," said Cuarto.
It was the second all-Filipino title tiff in a week on local soil, following Vic Saludar's WBA minimumweight title victory over Robert Paradero last week in Laguna.
The fight card was staged by MP Promotions.
Taduran, who tried to extend his reign since winning the crown in 2019, fell to 14-1-1.
FROM THE ARCHIVES