Former WBO 115-pound titleholder Marvin Sonsona has withdrawn from his July 6 featherweight clash with 2000 Puerto Rican Olympian Orlando Cruz due to a strain in his left lumbar (lower back) region, according to Sonsona’s adviser Sampson Lewkowicz.
The 21-year-old Sonsona (16-1-1, 12 knockouts), of General Santos City, Philippines, was to make his American debut against the 30-year-old Cruz (18-2-1, 9 KOs) in the main event of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, but will now be sidelined for at least six weeks to undergo chiropractic treatment, said Lewkowicz.
“We’re very disappointed,” said Lewkowicz of Sonsona, who had been training in Oxnard, Calif. with Gabriel Sarmiento, trainer of middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. “We’re thinking about whether he will either stay in the States or (return to) the Philippines, but we haven’t made a decision yet.”
Lewkowicz had offered up another of his young southpaw featherweights in Javier Fortuna (19-0, 14 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, to replace Sonsona in the main event against Cruz, but Cruz’s team rejected the offer. Fortuna is coming off of a first-round knockout of previously undefeated (16-0) Yuandale Evans and may fight on the July 6 undercard.
“We are getting close to fight for the championship so we don’t think it’s a good idea to face somebody that we don’t know,” said Juan De Leon, Cruz’s manager/trainer. “We want to keep him active and we are waiting for the call any minute to hear the other options. Now we have a position to pick and choose because we’re ranked number 5 [by the WBO.]
“I feel sorry about what happened to Sonsona, but things happen in boxing.”
Cruz will continue to train in North Bergen, N.J. and The Bronx, N.Y. until a replacement opponent is found.