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List of Articles by Manny Piñol


 

Asia Shows Hunger for Sports Entertainment; Tickets to May 5 Boxing Event Wiped Clean

By Manny Piñol
PhilBoxing.com
03 May 2012



City of Singapore - The first signs of Asia's hunger for sports entertainment have been seen this early as tickets to the 4,000 seat-capacity Marina Bay Sands Resort Theater which hosts a double world boxing championships on Saturday, May 5, have totally been cleaned up.

"We have no more tickets to sell," said Lisa Williamson, head of the communications department of the 2,500-room resort which occupies a huge swathe of Singapore's Marina Bay, after the final press conference today.

Boxing fans' reaction to the double world championship has been described as surprising and dramatic considering that the four main event fighters are not even near the level of Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.

The May 5 double world title fight features Indonesia's Chris John, who is defending his World Boxing Association (WBA) title for the 16th time against Japan's Shoji Kimura, and another Indon fighter, Daud Cino Yordan, who is going up against the Philippines Lorenzo Villanueva for the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) featherweight title.

While John is considered as Indonesia's best boxer ever and a possible candidate to the Boxing Hall of Fame, he is largely unknown outside of Asia and has only fought in the United States twice.

The challenger to John's title, Kimura is expected to be an easy prey for the talented Indonesian champion who has defeated Pacquiao nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in a close fight in Indonesia a few years back.

The match up between Yordan and Villanueva, while both fighter may be largely unknown to many boxing fans, has been described by veteran ring announcer Jimmy Lennon, Jr. as a "barn burner."

Yordan, 25, is a former Olympian who fought twice unsuccessfully for the world title but who holds a record of 28 wins with 22 knockouts against two losses. He has never been stopped in his professional career.

He is expected to have his hands full against Villanueva, an orphan from Bual Norte, Midsayap, North Cotabato, who is touted to be one of the hardest hitters in his division now and who holds a spectacular record of 24 wins, 0 loss and 23 knockouts.

Villanueva, 26 and 5' 6" tall, however, lacks the experience having fought only in the Philippines in all of his pro career. While he fought and knocked out five foreign fighters in events staged by his Philippine promoter, ALA Boxing Promotions, the Singapore fight will be his first foreign exposure.

The fans reaction to the fight, gobbling up all available tickets three days before the event, could not be because of who is fighting Saturday night. It could be more of an indication of how Asian sports fans, especially boxing fans, would love to see the big fights in venues not far away from home.

Marina Bay Sands Resorts' involvement with boxing could mainly be because of the resorts' new head, American Mark Juliano, a veteran of many big sports events during his early days in Las Vegas.

Juliano obviously understands the impact of big sports events on the resorts and hotel business.

The math is simple: If you have 4,000 sports fans buying tickets and watching the fights, you will have 4,000 people prowling the huge Marina Bay Sands Resorts complex gobbling up everything that would interest.

It's good business for the resort.

For Asian boxing, it's a shot in the arm that it has long been waiting for.

At long last, Las Vegas will not have the monopoly of marquee fights that draw thousands who are hungry for the excitement that boxing brings.

There will be no more of the long flights to America.

Now, the big fights will just be two or three hours away from Hongkong, Japan, Thailand, Australia, Indonesia, China, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Photo: The Philippines' Lorenzo Villanueva shadow boxes in Singapore Wednesday with the Singapore's high-rise buildings in the background.


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