High Regard for a Flag Bearer
26 Jul 2006
Though it's still way too early to proclaim him as a boxing star, the word ‘exciting’ may not be an overstatement to describe the future of Boholano teener Alex John Banal.
Saturday night in Tagbilaran, Bohol, the 17-year old Banal displayed exceptional boxing attributes, both in maturity and skills in disposing off Ali Rochmad of Indonesia.
What made Banal’s performance groovy was the fact that he faced an Indon fighter armed with decent offensive skills, slick footwork and a hunky-dory defense.
AJ Banal (second from left) sends Indonesian Ali Rochmad to the canvas in the first minute of the first round in their battle of the undefeated last Saturday in Tagbilaran. Photo by Dong Secuya.
After flooring Rochmad twice in the opening round, Banal never became too eager, which is typical among young fighters, to finish off his foe.
Despite the twin knockdowns, Rochmad fought back and even tried to turn the tide but to no avail as the Indon was finally stopped in the 5th canto with perfectly-timed combos.
Banal currently sports a mean record of 8-0-1 with 7 knockouts.
Making Banal, who carries the ring name AJ, accustomed with the dazzling life in the United States is the next goal of his benefactor Tony Aldeguer.
But Aldeguer is not about to feed this young pup to the lions.
Only 17-years old, Banal will set about to the United States within the year not to see action but to see for himself the hoopla of Vegas.
Aldeguer admitted that he learned his lessons well while handling the career of then Cebuano hotshot Ala Villamor.
Back in 1996 in Las Vegas, Villamor bloodied the nose of Mexican legend Ricardo Lopez, only to fold up after 8 rounds of their world strawweight title fight.
Aldeguer disclosed that Villamor had a hard time adjusting to the resplendent scenery of Vegas and had few sleepless nights days before the fight.
And Aldeguer wants to make sure they won’t commit the same mistake again.
Part of their plan is to make Banal hoist the Philippine flag as kababayan Rey Boom Boom Bautista enters the ring on September 16 against a yet-to-be-announced
foe in Las Vegas.
With this, the Corella, Bohol-native Banal can have a first-hand feel of life and leisure in Vegas without the pressure of preparing for a fight.
It will also be nice to see a young upcoming boxer get the task of waving the RP flag while his compatriot prepare for the battle at hand, an act that will also give a new, respectable meaning and importance to the duty of being a national flag
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