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Coach Nonoy Neri Confident on Astrolabio's Skills Against Potapov on IBF Eliminator in Las Vegas

Much-appreciated Filipino coach Nonoy Neri - a man who with all his heart helped boxing king Manny Pacquiao in many of the Pacman’s legendary battles - feels confident on the power and skills of his promising fighter Vincent "Asero" Astrolabio in his rumble against tough Russian Nikolai Potapov (23-2-1, 11 KO’s), when the two warriors collide in a crucial IBF Bantamweight World Title Eliminator on Saturday, December 17, in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

World-ranked #6 by the IBF, the 25-year-old General Santos City-native from the MP Boxing Stable will wage the most important fight of his life when he climbs the ring in Vegas to trade heavy artillery against the experienced IBF #3 Nikolai Potapov; and coach Neri could not feel more positive.

That's because coach and boxer have kept their training and focus on after their outstanding, clear, unanimous decision win over Cuban former world champ Guillermo Rigondeaux (now inactive), last February in Dubai.

"That was a really good win over a very talented, complicated boxer. Now, we are ready to win an even more important battle," thinks coach Nonoy Neri of Davao, a committed trainer of vast experience in high-profiled fights in Vegas.

Vincent Astrolabio (R) with Coach Nonoy Neri.

In fact, it seems that in such a crucial war as the one coming, Astrolabio (17-3, 12 KO’s), could not be in better hands.

Notably, the 12-round eliminator is of the utmost importance because the winner becomes mandatory IBF challenger to the bantamweight world champion.

And that world champion, king and ruler right now is none other than sensational Japanese "Monster" Naoya Inoue, the Planet's most devastating and exciting 118-pound fighter. (I think you agree, do you?)

Then, after the smoke dissipates, will that one warrior go on to trade hard fire against Naoya Inoue be the Filipino Astrolabio or the Russian Potapov?

However, the 29-year-old Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20 KO's), is busy too.

One of the world's top-5 pound-for-pound fighters and winner of the prestigious Muhammad Ali Trophy, Inoue needs to first clash and beat Briton belt-holder Paul Butler (34-2, 15 KO's), for the undisputed bantamweight world title on Tuesday, December 13 in Tokyo, Japan.

(Will Inoue become “undisputed” together with the other undisputed champions Canelo, Charlo and Haney?)

You can take this to the bank: the 32-year-old Nikolai Potapov - who eight years ago outclassed Filipino Jason Canoy (now inactive) in Russia - wants to be the one to battle either Inoue or Butler for the undisputed Bantamweight crown. 100%.

Nevertheless, interestingly, Potapov hasn’t climb the ring for a fight in over 18 months.

The last time he saw action was in his native Russia against unheralded African boxer Oscar Duge (11-5-1, 4 KO’s) of Tanzania, an 8-rounder skirmish that Potapov easily won by points.

In sharp contrast, Vincent Astrolabio fought and defeated a man of superb boxing talent and experience as former 2-division champ Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-3, 13 KO’s), knocking down and decisioning the ex Olympic gold-medalist to claim the important WBC international belt.

What sounds more appealing to you?

But then, will that matter? At the end, will the Russian born in the industrial Russian City of Podolsk in the Moscow Oblast succeed in getting his dream fight against Inoue come true?

Or will the Filipino heavy-handed slugger Vincent Astrolabio, a 7-year pro with dream of his own ruin the Russian’s big plans for glory?

Astrolabio vs Potapov in IBF 118lbs Eliminator comes to fruition due to the matchmaking effort of veteran man of boxing Sean Gibbons, the former light heavyweight boxer who for years has served as president of MP Promotions.

On December 13, May the Best Man Win!

The author veteran boxing writer Carlos Costa can be reached at, and Whatsapp +639184538152.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Carlos Costa.

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