CEBU CITY — The country’s youngest ever boxing world champion at 19 years old, Marvin Sonsona, could be back in the limelight next year.
Sonsona, who became a world champion with a unanimous decision win against Jose Lopez for the World Boxing Organization super flyweight title on Sept. 4, 2009 in just his 13th fight as a pro, is being eyed to take on the tough Jayson Velez in a World Boxing Council featherweight title eliminator bout.
The winner of the bout between Sonsona (19-1, 15 Kos) and Velez (22-0-1, 16 Kos) will become the mandatory challenger of world champion Jhonny Gonzales (57-8, 48KOs).
The veteran Gonzales has more knockout wins than the combined total fights of both Sonsona and Velez.
“There is no date yet but that fight has been pending for a while and it will definitely happen next year,” said his manager Cebuano Samson Gello-ani.
Sonsona has been on a comeback trail for years since losing his world title on the scales.
In 2009, he blazed his way into Philippine boxing, coming out of nowhere to beat Jose Lopez (39-7-2) by unanimous decision to win the WBO 115-pound world title.
After becoming a world champion at 19 years old, one month and two weeks, he became the latest toast of Philippine boxing.
He even got compared to Manny Pacquiao, who won his first world title–the WBC 112-pound title–13 days before he turned 20 years old.
Like Pacquiao, Sonsona is from General Santos City but has been training in Cebu.
But before he could even start living up to the hype of being the next Pacman, he stumbled.
He was forced to vacate his world title after coming up almost three pounds over the 115-pound limit in his first title defense against Alejandro Hernandez.
Though the fight ended in a draw, one fight after becoming the youngest champion from the Philppines, Sonsona set another Philippine record by reigning for just two months and 17 days.
Sonsona took a break for a month but started preparing again after he got another world title shot, this time for the WBO super bantamweight crown.
To avoid the weight troubles that hounded him in the super flyweight division, his handlers decided to let him fight in the 122-pound division, skipping the 118-pound junior bantamweight division altogether.
It still didn’t matter as Vazquez handed him his only loss so far, stopping the young Cebu-based fighter out of General Santos City in four rounds.
And just like that, the once promising career of the young boxer ended.
He picked up the pieces again, one year and eight months after his only loss and won a unanimous decision against Carlos Joan Jacobo (14-2-1), but that unanimous decision victory was far from impressive as Jacobo had been primarily fighting patsies before taking on Sonsona.
Though Sonsona had two more tuneup bouts in small events in Cebu it seemed his career was going nowhere as the bouts came more than a year apart.
He knocked out journeyman Carlos Fulgencio (19-6-1) in five rounds on March 17, 2012 and 18 months later, forced Jason Egera (21-8) to retire on Sept. 7, 2013 in a small event in Balamban.
It was only this year that the boxer who earned the nickname Marvelous showed he still has it.
On Feb. 22, he stopped one-time world challenger Akifumi Shimoda (28-4, 12KOs) in just three rounds for the WBO international featherweight title and on June 7, finally got back at his tormentor Vazquez with a sweet split decision win for the vacant North American Boxing Federation title.
Sonsona knocked down Vazquez in the first round to win, 96-2, 96-92, in two cards, while the other judge had it 96-92 for Vazquez.
Now 24 years old, Sonsona, who is now a grizzled veteran after seeing so many ups and downs in his career is 19-1, with 15 KOs.
“”He will be training in Manila and in Florida for his next bout under Jun Agrabio,” said Gello-ani.
In 2015, he could get a shot against the dangerous Gonzales, a three-weight division champion from Mexico if he wins his next bout against Velez.