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Colombians are on the rise!

By Rick Scharmberg

Promoter Alfredo Marchio is the proof that persistence will pay off. Two of the fighters he promotes, Colombians Fulgencio Zunigo and Dionisio Miranda, will engage in important televised fights two weeks apart. IBF #8-ranked Dionisio Miranda (19-3-2, 17 KOs) will face IBF #5-ranked Giovanni Lorenzo (26-1, 18 KOs) on February 27 at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ in a 12-round title eliminator. The winner will earn the number one ranking and become the top contender to IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham. IBF #10-ranked Fulgencio Zuniga (22-3-1, 19 KOs) will challenge IBF super middleweight champion Lucien Bute (23-0, 18 KOs) on March 13 at the Bell Center in Montreal, Canada.

“I’m feeling proud right now,” states Marchio. “I got two title fights within six months for my fighters.” Indeed, he has. After two bouts with Canadian contender Jean Pascal fell through for Zuniga in 2008, Marchio negotiated a fight with up-and-coming Sebastien Demers. When that bout fell through after Zuniga became ill, Marchio arranged for Dionisio Miranda to take his place. Miranda scored the upset, defeating Demers by split decision.

Meanwhile, Marchio kept Zuniga busy while waiting for a significant fight to emerge. Zuniga scored a knockout over Diego Castillo in his hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia. Marchio then arranged for Zuniga to travel to Canada to spar with Lucien Bute to help him prepare for Bute’s bout with Liborio Andrade. Zuniga and Bute were supposed to work together for a month, but after only a week, German promoters offered Zuniga a bout with Denis Inkin for the vacant WBO title after Inkin’s original opponent, Karolay Balszay, fell out with a training injury. Zuniga lost that fight, but his performance was so good, he kept his top-10 world ranking.

“Zuniga has to do more than he did against Inkin,” added Marchio. “But he has a feel for Canada and a feel for Lucien Bute, because they sparred together for an entire week.”

Dionisio Miranda came out of nowhere to garner respect in a tough loss to rising star Peter Quillan last June in New York City. Two months later, he was Johnny-on-the-spot, as the opening came about to face Demers, and Miranda made the most of it.

Lorenzo, meanwhile, is coming off a very narrow defeat in an IBF middleweight title eliminator against Raul Marquez last June. A point deduction for a head butt in the tenth round cost Lorenzo a draw.

“Miranda will have to go for the KO. He can’t wait on Lorenzo,” stated Marchio.

Both the February 27 Miranda-Lorenzo fight and the March 13 Zuniga Bute bouts will be televised on Showtime’s “Shobox” series.

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