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‘THE JUGGERNAUT’ WEIGHS IN

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By Robert Balajadia

‘The Juggernaut’ Baby Joe Taimanglo

It has been a little more than half a year since Baby Joe “The Juggernaut” Taimanglo has fought in the octagon and this coming Saturday at PXC 32 will feature a first for one of Guam’s most popular Mixed Martial Arts fighters.

Taimanglo defeated Harris Sarmiento at PXC 27 to capture the featherweight title and will be defending it for the first time in his MMA career. PXC 32 will showcase two title fights, including Ryan Bigler vs Lim Hyun Gyu. His opponent Saturday, Jang Yong Kim, is coming off a win over Ronnie Borja this past March but Taimanglo feels he has the advantage.

“[Kim] is well rounded in every aspect of MMA but I love the challenge, I want to beat him in everything. I know I possess power in wrestling, jiu-jitsu and the stand-up game so wherever the fight goes I want to break him down in every category,” stated the defending champ.

Baby Joe does some tire flips to work on his strength and stamina. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Kim, fighting out of Korean Top Team, is no stranger to the PXC having fought in four events in the past two years going 3-0-1. Taimanglo, fighting out of Spike 22, is on a seven-fight win streak and knows there is no better feeling than fighting in front of the home crowd.  Taimanglo holds a 16-4-1 record heading into PXC 32.

“It is an honor to fight in front of the Guam crowd especially with their support of local fighters. That gives us an extra push inside the ring. For me, I’ve got my family there so that puts the cherry on top,” he went on to say.

Baby Joe strengthens his upper body with some chin ups at Spike 22 gym. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Taimanglo was originally scheduled to fight in March but a back injury forced the fight to be pushed back to July. Injury is often unavoidable especially when training for a mixed martial arts fight. The tough question is how do you train for a fight while minimizing the chance of injury?  ‘The Juggernaut’ made it clear that, “Injury is always going to be there no matter what. The only way that you can do that is to push through it. If you’re injured then be smart about it and pull out of the fight. If you can push through it then if it’s not too serious then fight through it.”

The dedication to the sport mixed with the drive to be the best has forced Taimanglo into serious training. GSPN caught up with “The Juggernaut” during his training with UFC Champion Dominick Cruz earlier this year and Taimanglo feels like he is at the peak of his career. He explained that the past eight years of training, learning and experience has molded him into the fighter he is today.

PXC 32 has a stacked fight card with Ronnie Borja going up against Kyle Reyes and Bigler and Gyu to face off for the first welterweight belt. “The Juggernaut” is scheduled to be the last fight of the night and although he is a fan of the sport he will not be watching.

“I just kick back in the back. I know I will be able to watch the fights later on tape. The only fight I’m interested in is my fight.”

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Since forming the GNYFF in 2009, the league has never gone without a season until 2020. The league announced their plans to cancel the 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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RIP: Former Guam football player Phil Mendiola, shown here with son Tano, passed away in Las Vegas due to a heart attack. Mendiola played for numerous Guam teams from youth to varsity. He was 39.
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Morgan McKenna (left with black face mask) poses for a photo with Guam Football Association Technical Director Sang Hoon Kim (seated, with blue face mask) and Guam Football Association Assistant Technical Director Ross Awa (standing) after signing his letter of commitment to play intercollegiate men’s soccer for Muskingum University in Ohio. The Fighting Muskies compete in NCAA Division III’s Ohio Athletic Conference.

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