Rene Mark Cuarto dethrones Pedro Taduran as IBF strawweight champion

A new International Boxing Federation (IBF) minimumweight champion was crowned Saturday afternoon at the Bula Gym in General Santos City after Rene Mark Cuarto dethroned Pedro Taduran via a razor-thin unanimous decision.

It was a good technical match between the attacker in Taduran and the counter-puncher in Cuarto. In the end, the judges sided with the fewer but cleaner connections of Cuarto as all three agreed on scoring the fight 115-113 in his favor.

Taduran, who fell to 14-3-1, was making the second defense of the title he won in 2019 against Samuel Salva. His first defense against Daniel Valladares of Mexico ended with a technical draw as the challenger suffered a bad cut in the fight.

It was the first fight for Taduran in a year while Cuarto was coming off a 14-month layoff.

"We had a good fight. Pedro was very tough," Cuarto (19-2-2) said in an interview in Filipino with Pow Salud who streamed the entire fight card on his PowCast Facebook and YouTube pages.

"We studied his style and we were able to employ our game plan. We really prepared hard for this. I'm so happy that we won. All of our sacrifices bore fruit."

It was an interesting stylistic match between the two as the roles were defined throughout the match with not a lot of adjustments happening. Both banked on what they did well and it resulted in an entertaining affair.

Taduran tirelessly moved forward, chasing Cuarto all over while leading in his vaunted straight lefts and uppercuts to do damage. The challenger, on the other end, used the usual weapons of orthodox fighters against southpaws as he connected with hooks and lead right hands.

The defending champion had his best moment in the seventh round when he buckled Cuarto but the challenger managed to stay upright even as Taduran launched an onslaught in an attempt to turn the match completely to his favor.

Although his foe survived the round, Taduran got a boost of energy from his success in the seventh round as he attacked with a purpose. However, Cuarto recovered nicely as he went back to what made him successful in the earlier rounds. The challenger used Taduran's aggression against him as he waited to feel the ropes on his back before unleashing his lead right hands.

"He hit me with a good shot but I trained well," admitted Cuarto after the match. "My heart took over to win this fight."

Asked if he'd be willing to give Taduran a rematch due to the close decision, Cuarto did not commit and instead pointed to his trainer and main backer.

"Coach Nonoy Neri and Senator Manny (Pacquiao) will be the ones to decide what's the next step for me."