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Bare-knuckle bout between Kenjhons Serrano, Map Soberano to highlight URCC 80

URCC 80 will feature four bare-knuckle boxing exhibitions. Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

TAGUIG—For the first time ever, a bare-knuckle boxing bout will happen in the Philippines.

The Universal Reality Combat Championship formally announced on Thursday a bare-knuckle showdown between Kenjhons Serrano and Map Soberano to headline URCC 80 on Oct. 27 at the Xylo at the Palace.

While the clash will be a four-round exhibition for now, both Serrano, a former dancer turned into a rapper, and Soberano, a vlogger, are already too pumped up about their main event as if this is a championship bout.

Both fighters, who are making their combat sports debut, traded barbs during the pre-fight press conference at the said party club and had a heated moment too during the face-off.

Serrano lit up his fist straps in the fire to show off against Soberano, but the latter, probably not amazed with the flaunting, hurled some choice words at the former, leading to Serrano shoving Soberano off with URCC founder Alvin Aguilar and the security personnel dragging both rookie pugs from each other to pacify matters.

The trash-talking, however, spilled to their teams as some members of Team Kenjhons and Team Map almost went to blows as well.

Professional boxing matches actually began with bare-knuckle bouts until the use of boxing gloves became mandatory in 1867, effectively outlawing bare-knuckle boxing.

However, bare-knuckle boxing experienced a resurgence last decade especially in England, inspiring Aguilar, the father of Philippine mixed martial arts, to bring the sport to the URCC.

“It's worth noting that BKF (bare-knuckle fighting) is steadily gaining popularity in the U.S. and Europe, so it's only a matter of time before it enjoys mainstream acceptance here,“ Aguilar said.

Renowned talent manager Arnold Vegafria, also the URCC chairman, believes that holding a bare-knuckle fight could be a crowd drawer.

"We at URCC feel that Filipino fight fans are clamoring for something more exciting, and this could very well be what we've all been waiting for!" Vegafria said.

Three bare-knuckle bouts have been announced too in the undercard: Rocky Vergara against Marvin Dela Cruz, Kimbert Alintozon against JV Baldonasa, and Mark Alcoba against Zarco Gales.

Bare-knuckle fights will last for three rounds of two minutes each, but according to Aguilar, some of the usual boxing rules, like the 10-point must-score system, will be used as well.

On the other hand, the URCC will not divert from its MMA roots as three MMA fights will take place too, one of which involves Ruel Catalan.

Ruel, a member of the renowned Catalan Family, takes on Edrion Macatangay in one flyweight fight, while the other battle at the 125-pound division will pit Rex De Lara and Jayson Margallo.

The other MMA bout scheduled for Oct. 27 is a bantamweight showdown between John Ornido and Janedie Bernardo.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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