PINOY PRIDE XIII: BANAL VS. HIDALGO
By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.
Mon, 27 Feb 2012
Mandaue City ? AJ ?Bazooka? Banal (26W-1L-1D, 17 KO?s) of Ermita, Cebu City will defend his WBO Asia-Pacific bantamweight title against Raul Hidalgo (15W-5L, 11 KO?s) of Mexico this March 24.
But the favourite question among the sportswriters was if Banal can fight for a world title this year.
?We are not treating this as a mere tune-up,? ALA Promotions CEO Michael Aldegeur said, ?You can never underestimate a Mexican fighter. Yes, AJ is nearing a title fight and we?ll assess after this fight. We are also looking at the possibility of AJ fighting on the undercard of a Nonito Donaire fight in the U.S.?
Banal for his part said, ?I am satisfied with the results of my last two fights. My confidence is back. I have prepared long and hard, I?ve been in the gym since December. I will not look past Hidalgo. He could be better than his record.?
Banal is the number ranked contender in the WBO. The reigning champion, Jorge Arce, of Mexico, has been reported to be planning another move up in weight.
Last year, Hidalgo lost by knockout to Daiki Kameda in his bid to win the WBC International superflyweight title.
Top and above photos (L-R): Rocky Fuentes, Albert Pagara, ALA President Michael Aldeguer, AJ Banal, Arthur Villanueva and trainer Edmund Villamor pose during the press conference held at the Cityscape Hotel in Mandaue City Monday afternoon announcing Pinoy Pride XIII on March 24, 2012 at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.
The undercards also promises to be interesting with Rocky Fuentes (32W-6L-2D, 19 KO?s),Arthur ?El Matador? Villanueva (17W-0L, 12 KO?s) and ?Prince? Albert Pagara (10W-0L, 8 KO?s).
Pagara has started to make waves in his two year career and is comparable to Banal when he was starting his ascent as a prizefighter.
?I don?t feel any pressure. I am focused in my training. I am thankful to be part of Pinoy Pride? Pagara said.
Villanueva will finally make his ring return after suffering a hand injury last October. Fuentes, who just got married, is also inching closer to a title shot.
The opponents of the main undercards will be announced soon.
PINOY PRIDE XIII: Road to Glory will be at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu City.
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