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List of Articles by Ed de la Vega, DDS


 

THE ALA BOYS ARE IN TOWN!

By Ed de la Vega, DDS
PhilBoxing.com
27 Mar 2007



LOS ANGELES--Moments ago, two young gladiators who are the pride of the famed ALA Gym in Cebu, Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista and AJ “Bazooka” Banal arrived in Los Angeles in preparation for their fights on May 5th on the undercard of the de la Hoya-Mayweather slambang affair at the MGM Resort Casino in Las Vegas.

Bautista and Banal were accompanied by the 2006 Philippine “Trainer of the Year”, Edito “ALA” Villamor. Villamor had been training the duo in Cebu for sometime. The duo’s training will be continued at the Wildcard Gym in Hollywood under the supervision of Justin Fortune, the main side-kick of Freddie Roach. Of course, Villamor will be assisting Fortune. After a week or so of training at the Wildcard Gym, Bautista, Banal and Villamor, will fly to Puerto Rico to finish up the final stages of the training regimen specified by Roach . Roach himself will supervise their final training at the very same venue where he is currently training Oscar de la Hoya .

What is so heartwarming to appreciate is the fact that the people at the ALA Gym headed by Don Antonio Aldeguer and Sammy Gello-ani really know their business! They prepared the travel papers for Banal as soon as they found out from the Golden Boy Promotions that he and Bautista will be included on the fight card in May. With such preparations, Banal who is traveling to the USA for the very first time had no problem getting a US visa that would allow him to travel to the USA and Puerto Rico.

Perhaps the people managing Jorge Solis and some people at Top Rank should take some lessons from the ALA management. Indeed, they may learn a thing or two in so far as securing visas for their fighters is concerned.

The undefeated Bautista (22-0-0-, 17KO) will be on the main undercard of the de la Hoya- Mayweather bout. He will be locking horns with the the WBC Mundo Hispano and WBO Latino Super bantamweight champion, Sergio Miguel Medina, who is himself undefeated (28-0-0, (16KO). The winner of their bout will face Daniel Ponce de Leon for the WBO Super bantamweight title. Ponce de Leon is best remembered as the fighter who was so lucky to have held on to his title via an unpopular decision over Gerry Penalosa.

Banal, who is traveling to the US for the first time can not conceal his joy about being in the USA. Sometime this week, he too will be a proud owner of a custom mouth guard courtesy of this writer. Then when he gets back to Cebu, he too can show off his mouth guard, one of the fringe benefits of Pinoy boxers who set foot in Los Angeles.

Banal’s opponent is yet to be announced. But, Villamor indicated that with or without a set opponent , Banal will be put through the same rigorous regimen all ALA Boys go through here in the US. “He will be
ready come May 5th.”, Villamor indicated. “ He is here to win and make the most of his first fight in the USA”, he added.

Tonight it was a tad lonely at the LAX. It was only I and the limo driver sent by the de la Hoya group who were there to meet the boys. But, that’s okay. In a year or two, when the boys start winning the alphabet soup titles, hordes of Pinoy boxing fans will be at the LAX. By then I am sure, I may even jockey for a position just to get a photo.

Above photo caption: ALA Boys from left, AJ "Bazooka" Banal, Trainer Edito "ALA" Villamor and Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista pose for a picture upon their arrival at Los Angeles Airport. Photo by Dr. Ed de la Vega.


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