Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing wishes to congratulate the fighter he co-promotes, former WBO Super Flyweight Champion “Marvelous” Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 15 KOs), who announced his return to the elite levels of professional boxing in sensational fashion on Saturday night (February 22) in the main event of a Top Rank-promoted show at the Cotai Arena in the beautiful Venetian Resort in Macao, China.
With HBO cameras rolling, Sonsona, from General Santos City in the Philippines, knocked out former WBA Junior Featherweight Champion (and current WBA #2-ranked) Akifumi Shimoda (28-4-2, 12 KOs) of Japan, with one perfectly placed left uppercut to the chin at the 1:17 mark of the third round.
The victory, a sure-fire candidate for annual “Knockout of the Year” awards, gained Sonsona the WBO International Featherweight Championship and left Shimoda senseless for nearly five minutes. So dramatic was the finishing blow, referee Danrex Tapdasan didn’t even bother to count.
For Lewkowicz, the win was especially sweet as many had given up on the now 23-year-old southpaw Sonsona, who in 2009 at age 19, became the second-youngest Filipino to ever win a world title, but was then beset by personal problems and an admitted lack of dedication. He has since won four straight fights, three inside the distance.
“Marvin is still one of the three most popular fighters in his homeland, alongside Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire,” said Lewkowicz. “He had the problem that many big-name boxers run into: he surrounded himself with the wrong people and stopped taking his sport seriously. He has matured so much since then and completely rededicated himself with his original team of me, his trainer Jun Agrabio, his other co-promoter Sammy Gello-ani and his manager Dr. Rajan Yraola. He knows his mistakes now and they will never happen again.”
So dramatic was the KO of Shimoda, legendary promoter Bob Arum was quoted as calling it one of the best he’s seen in 50 years of boxing. Lewkowicz says he’s proud to also announce that he and Top Rank will be joining forces in the guidance of Sonsona’s career.
“I want to thank Carl Moretti and Bob Arum for the trust they have given me and for agreeing to help me turn Marvin Sonsona into the next world superstar from the Philippines. I consider him another of my sons and he calls me ‘Papa’ in return. This is a wonderful comeback story in boxing and Marvin will be champion of the world once again very soon. I also want to thank the beautiful Venetian Macau for their incredible hospitality and all their work in turning Macau into a new boxing capital in the world.”
The four major champions in the featherweight division are currently: Jhonny Gonzalez (WBC), Orlando Salido (WBO), Evgeny Gradovich (IBF) and Simphiwe Vetyeka (WBA).