PH’s Sultan shies away from fighting countrymen, targets Japan’s Inoue instead

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2021 11:14 PM | Updated as of Nov 07 2021 12:43 AM

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Newly crowned WBO intercontinental bantamweight titlist Jonas Sultan has become a hot topic in boxing after he upset rising Puerto Rican knockout artist Carlos Caraballo.

There were talks that he might face fellow bantamweight champions Nonito Donaire Jr. and John Riel Casimero, but Sultan said he was not inclined to challenge his countrymen in pursuit of a world title.

Instead, he would like to take on a foreign champion, specifically Japan's boxing superstar Naoya Inoue.

"Para sa akin hanggat maiiwasang lumaban sa kapwa Pinoy huwag muna. Mas gusto kong kalabanin ’yung mga foreigner," he told ABS-CBN News.

"Malaki ang tsansa na foreigner ang makakalaban natin. At ang target ko talaga si Naoya Inoue."

Inoue is the most sought after opponent in the bantamweight class since he holds 3 titles — the World Boxing Association (Super), the International Boxing Federation, and Ring magazine crowns.

The hard-hitting Japanese fighter remains unbeaten in 21 fights and has already defeated 6 Filipinos, including current WBC bantamweight champion Donaire and Michael Dasmariñas.

Sultan, however, is confident he can hold his own.

"Kahit sabihin na underdog ako hanapan ko ng paraan. Malay mo, ako pa ang makatalo d'yan," said the Zamboanga City native slugger.

Just recently he pulled off an upset versus Caraballo, knocking down the Puerto Rican star 4 times before winning by unanimous decision.

"Na-shock nga ako na, 'O, napabagsak ko siya.' Na-surprise ako, sabi ko, 'May laban tayo' kasi alam natin na KO artist at magaling," Sultan said.

It was Sultan's third consecutive victory. 

He credited coach Joven Jimenez and his former opponent, IBF junior bantamweight champion Jerwin Ancajas for the win.

"Dati hindi ko alam kung paano lumaro kapag ang kalaban ay kaliwete," he said. "Tinulungan ako ni coach Joven ng technique at si Jerwin tinuturuan din ako."