‘Hammerfist’ wants ‘JuanMa’ as next foe

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Michael “Hammer Fist” Fareñas expressed his desire to face former super featherweight world champion Juan Manuel Lopez next year to avenge the loss of his trainer and promoter Gerry Peñalosa at the hands of the Puerto Rican four years ago.

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Fareñas, 29, who defeated Jesus Rios via second round technical knockout on Friday at the Solaire and Casino in Parañaque City, believes that a victory over Lopez (33-3 win-loss slate with 30 knockouts) would be a good stepping-stone for him to advance his quest for the world title.

“I’m very much willing whoever I face and for the case of Lopez, it will be an exciting fight because both of us are real fighters and not runners,” Fareñas (37-4-4 record with 29 knockouts) told The Manila Times in an interview.

“I also like to avenge the loss of my mentor Gerry Peñalosa to him four years ago. I really need to train harder because this guy is a strong and smart fighter. Unlike in my previous fights where I face tough opponents, Lopez is surely tougher than them,” he added.

Last week, Peñalosa said that he wants Fareñas to face reigning undefeated American World Boxing Organization featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (33-0 slate with 28 knockouts) next year. But Peñalosa had a change of heart, explaining that Fareñas needs to surpass one last test before going for the world title.

“I think it’s hard to arrange a fight with Garcia right now that’s why we’re looking first to the other big fish,” said Peñalosa, who lost to Lopez in Puerto Rico in 2009 via technical decision. “Lopez is a very popular and competitive boxer. If ever he wins over Lopez, Fareñas’ chances of facing Garcia for the world title will earn a lot of boost,” he added.

Peñalosa said he is now starting to negotiate for the match, which might be held in Manila next year.

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