‘Boom’ ends ‘struggle’ with title defense win

The last 21 months were a “struggle” for Roman “Sonic Boom” Alvarez as he could do nothing but watch from the sidelines as his fellow members at Trench Tech Gym either trained or fought inside the eight-sides.

Alvarez was sidelined by injuries for almost two years, first in his hamstring and the last one in his groin while he was training to fight Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran and Japanese Masanori Kanehara in DEEP Cage Impact in Tokyo in December 2016.

Then last Friday, he was one of the three champions that defended their belts, as he forced Vida BJJ Guam’s Robin Eclavea to tap out from a rear-naked-choke with 2:15 left in the second round of their 145-lb title bout. His Trench Tech teammate Jordan “The Machine” Manglona kept the flyweight crown as the latter won by technical knockout against McKlane “The Game” Alfred of Vida MMA Guam after letting loose a flurry of punches at the 2:43 mark of the first round. Robert “The Deal” Wusstig fought in the main event and foiled the bid of Korean Top Team’s Min Gu Lee to take the lightweight belt back to South Korea. The fight went the full five rounds with Wusstig winning by split decision.

Roman “Sonic Boom” Alvarez, second left, reacts as referee Mike Ulloa declares him the winner against Robin Eclavea of Vida BJJ Guam in their featherweight title bout in last Friday’s s Rites of Passage 22: Rampage held at the Marianas Business Plaza in Susupe. (Jon Perez)

Alvarez, moments after beating Eclavea, told Saipan Tribune he just followed the doctor’s advice to rest and heal his injuries. “The last two years were a real struggle for me. I was really itching to fight but I could not do anything about it.”

“I just took some time off and rested. Good thing my injuries did not require an operation, so I just followed the doctor’s orders and allowed it to heal. My groin injury was a minor tear and the doctor said it would heal in six months. So I just enjoyed my break,” he added.

His last match was in Guam’s Pacific Xtreme Combat 50 last Dec. 4, 2015 where he lost by TKO to New Zealand’s Mark Abelardo at the four-minute mark of the second round. That was his first loss overall and in a PXC event. Alvarez’s win over Eclavea last week then improved his fight record to 6-1, with three of his wins by KO while the Guam warrior suffered his third straight loss since beating Jeff Mesa by armbar submission in PXC 44 last June 27, 2014.

Alvarez has no issue if he needed two rounds to beat Eclavea. “The important thing is the win. As long as I get the job done I’m good with that. I don’t predict the result of my fights but I always try to go for the finish.”

Four of Alvarez’s seven fights ended in the first round with the fastest against Jay Taijeron via knockout by a head kick just 20 seconds into the first round. His second quickest was 26 seconds when he KO’ed Wusstig in Trench Warz 18: Rock and Rumble last Dec. 12, 2014.

Now, Alvarez considered his latest match against Eclavea as a warm-up bout for his anticipated duel against Kanehara in Japan this December. Alvarez will have his hands full against the veteran Kanehara, who has fought three times as an undercard in UFC events and holds a 1-2 record.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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