After graduating college, KJ Cataraja can now fully focus on boxing
Santino Honasan on Jul 10, 2017 05:22 PM
"Nabigyan ako ng chance na matapos yung four-year degree, and now isa na lang yung focus ko ngayon, boxing na lang." - Kevin Jake Cataraja
After scoring a 41-second knockout back in November of 2016, ALA Promotions young gun Kevin Jake "KJ" Cataraja took a seven-month hiatus from boxing, but it wasn't because of an injury or a suspension.
The 22-year old took time off to chase something that could possibly be, in the long run, more valuable than any championship in sports: a college degree.
"Last fight ko po, November 28, sinabihan ko yung coach ko na after this fight, i-fofocus ko muna yung graduation ko, yung OJT ko," Cataraja told ABS-CBN Sports. "pagkatapos ng graduation ko, balik agad ako."
March 21 of this year, Cataraja graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from the University of the Visayas. He made good on his promise though, hitting the gym the morning after his graduation.
"Day after graduation, kinaumagahan nun, training agad ako."
According to the Cebuano, finishing college was important for him, serving as a fallback, just in case his career in boxing doesn't pan out.
"Actually po yan kasi yung target ng father ko, dalawa yung option namin, if in case hindi mag-click yung life natin sa boxing, kasi hindi naman natin alam yung buhay natin sa boxing whether mag-chachampion ka or hindi, yung sabi ng father ko, ipag-focus ko muna yung pag-aaral para may pangalawang option ka, tapos pwede ka na magpatuloy sa boxing, kahit ano yung magkinahinatnan mo sa boxing."
For Cataraja, having a degree means that boxing doesn't have to be his end-all-be-all.
"Confident ako kahit na sabihin ng iba na wala akong pag-asa sa boxing, kasi meron naman akong nagraduate eh. Ganyan ka-importante yung pagtatapos."
With the rate things are going however, "KJ" looks like he's on the right track towards a bright boxing career. Saturday at Pinoy Pride 41 in Cebu, the seven-month layoff didn't seem to slow Cataraja one bit, as he notched his second straight first-round knockout win, blasting Lony Cadayday in just a minute and 47 seconds to improve his perfect record to six wins, with five wins coming via KO.
Cataraja put in the work and earned himself a college degree. With that in the bag, he can now fully focus on putting in the work in the gym and in the ring to earn himself championship gold.
"Syempre masayang-masaya kasi of course, yan yung target ko nung una eh, makapag-tapos. Nabigyan ako ng chance na matapos yung four year degree, and now isa na lang yung focus ko ngayon, boxing na lang."