“This fight will be a stepping stone for me and a chance to enter the WBC (World Boxing Council) rankings. I hope I will be given the chance to fight my dream fight with Juan Francisco Estrada,” Cataraja told SunStar Cebu.
The 27-year-old Cataraja is currently ranked No. 6 in the World Boxing Organization (WBO).
Although Heno is unranked in the world, he brings in a lot of experience. He challenged for the WBO light flyweight title in 2019 against Elwin Soto in the US. Heno gave Soto a run for his money but came up short and lost by a close unanimous decision.
The 30-year-old Heno is also the former OPBF light flyweight champion after winning the vacant belt with a seventh-round technical knockout of Seita Ogido in Japan in 2017. He also owns wins over former world champion Merlito Sabillo, Cris Ganoza and world-rated Jesse Espinas.
“Heno is a good fighter. He should not underestimate. He’s a stylist. I want to win the OPBF for the rankings. He isn’t in the rankings but he’s a former OPBF champion. This is a tough test for me because he’s experienced,” said Cataraja.
After the closure of the ALA Gym and ALA Promotions during the Covid-19 pandemic, Cataraja signed with Gen. Santos-based Sanman Promotions and Japan-based ZIP Boxing.
Cataraja has already fought four times under his new handlers, knocking out former world title contender John Mark Apolinario, Cris Alfante, Romshane Sarguilla and Ronel Dela Cruz.
Cataraja is currently training in Japan at the One Fitness Gym and has been sparring with three-division world champion Kosei Tanaka.
Cataraja was expected to fight an OPBF title fight against a Japanese opponent in Japan. However, Cataraja’s team wasn’t able to secure the fight, paving the way for the fight with Heno.
Cataraja is 15-0 with 13 knockouts, while Heno is 15-1-6 with five knockouts.