BANAL FACES 'MANNY PACQUIAO OF URUGUAY'
By Salven L. Lagumbay
Fri, 07 Mar 2008
He may have battled more hardened veterans in the past, but for the first time in his career, ALA Boy AJ 'Bazooka' Banal will be facing an opponent with a better record than his, and is touted as the "Manny Pacquiao of Uruguay."
The 19-year-old Banal, who is unbeaten in 16 fights with 13 KO's, is set to tangle with the undefeated Caril Herrera in a 12-round IBF superflyweight eliminator on April 6 at the Araneta Coliseum. The bout is in the undercard of the Gerry Penalosa-Ratanachai Vorapin WBO title bout.
The 27-year-old Herrera, nicknamed "El Raton" in his country, boasts of 21 wins, no loss with 13 KO's, one no-contest, and goes into the fight as the WBC Latino superflyweight champ.
"We have watched a video of his fight, and he fights like Pacquiao with his swarming, crowding style. And people in his country are crazy over him," said Banal's manager Michael Aldeguer in an interview the other day.
The winner of the Banal-Herrera fight has been assured to get the no. 1 spot in the IBF's superflyweight division, although hardly the mandatory position. Vic Darchinyan is now the mandatory challenger to champion Dmitri Kirilov, and the Aussie fighter is under contract to face Z Gorres next should he wrest the title from Kirilov.
"We just want to make sure Banal gets the no. 1 spot, although not really a mandatory position. But our aim is to position him at the top," said Aldeguer, who credits international matchmaker Sampson Lewkowicz for making the match-up with Herrera as well as Golden Boy vice-president Eric Gomez for approving the match.
"We have plans for Banal, but as long as the fight with Herrera is not over yet, we really can't look beyond that. We are very, very seriously taking Herrera as a credible opponent," said sportsman Antonio Aldeguer.
Meanwhile, Banal continues to train at Aldeguer's ALA Gym, along with Rey 'Boom Boom' Bautista, who is set to cross paths with Mexican Genaro "Duro" Camargo on the same April 6 card at the Big Dome.
If victorious, Bautista is set to headline a huge Bohol Day card on July 22 in Tagbilaran City.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Salven L. Lagumbay.
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