Boxing: Why Jonas Sultan savors being the underdog

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2021 11:46 PM

Jonas Sultan  Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News
Jonas Sultan holding his WBO intercontinental bantamweight crown. Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Newly crowned WBO intercontinental bantamweight champion Jonas Sultan has no problem playing the underdog's role whenever he fights.

In fact, the Filipino fighter relishes it, especially if he gets the chance to tangle with Japanese boxing star Naoya Inoue.

"Pangarap ko talaga si Inoue, kahit sabihin na underdog ako.
Kasi kapag underdog ka mas pressured sila. Walang pressure sa akin," Sultan said.

He proved his point when he pulled off an upset against rising Puerto Rican knockout artist Carlos Caraballo last month.

Sultan came out charging like a bull, knocking down Caraballo 4 times en route to a decision win.

"Sabi nila hindi ako mananalo kasi sobrang galing niya. Sabi ko sa sarili ko kaya ko ito, may paraan para manalo," he said.

If he gets the opportunity to meet Inoue in the ring, Sultan said he and his team will surely devise a strategy to surprise the hard-hitting Japanese.

"Kailangan lang masaktan ang kalaban mo. ’Wag tayong matakot. ’Yan kasi ang pinapangarap ng bawat boxer, maging world champion," he said.

"Kailangan talaga think positive, ’wag kang aayaw. Face your fears."

His handler-manager, Rolando "Junie" Navarro, said this was precisely the reason they signed up Sultan.

"Naalala ko ’yung tinalo niya si (John Riel) Casimero . . . So sabi ko why not give him a chance? Matapang siya, kahit sino ang kalaban," said Navarro, who also owns the Zamboanga Valientes basketball team.

With the right training, Sultan has become a more dangerous fighter. In his US debut, Sultan demolished Sharone Carter in 7 rounds. This was followed up with the surprise victory against Caraballo that resulted to his WBO intercontinental title win.

"Nag-start kami like 2 years ago. Maganda ang samahan namin kasi ngayon 2-0 na kami," said Navarro. 

"Dati maraming coaches nagsabi that time bakit ko ipinirma si Jonas? Ngayon sabi nila tamang ipinirma n'yo si Jonas."

Sultan is scheduled to fly to the US on December 6.

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