Philippines, 24 May 2018
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PARAÑAQUE CITY – Merlito “Tiger” Sabillo is all set for his big moment as a ‘Pinoy Pride’ headliner when he defends his WBO world minimumweight title against challenger Jorle Estrada of Colombia. The protagonists met and exchanged pleasantries today during the final press conference held at the Solaire Resort and Casino.

Estrada (17-6, 6 KO's) said that he is here to avenge the loss of his countryman and bring back the title to Colombia.

“I trained for three months for this fight. I sparred with boxers who can mimic his style,” Estrada said. He also repeated his vow to win by seventh round knockout.

When he asked if he has adjusted to the time zone difference and the effects of the long travel to the Philippines, Estrada replied, “I have adjusted well, there is no difference.”

Sabillo (22-0, 11 KO's), who fights out of the ALA Gym, won the title in Colombia last March against Luis dela Rosa by 8th round TKO. This was initially for the interim title but the southpaw Sabillo was recognized as the regular world champion by the WBO last April. He will be defending his crown for the first time.

“I am excited, tense to be fighting here in Manila for the first time,” Sabillo said, “I trained hard, I have sparred for twelve straight rounds twice already. If the knockout presents itself, then I will take it.”

ALA Promotions Pres. and CEO Michael Aldeguer and ABS-CBN VP for sports Peter Musngi emphasized their shared vision to produce the next generation of Filipino world champions and to bring big time championship boxing to the Philippine casinos that have the facilities to compete with Macau as a boxing haven.

WBO VP for Asia-Pacific Leon Panoncillo stressed his organization’s endeavor to give talented and deserving boxers a chance to compete for a world ranking and world titles.

L-R: ALA Promotions President Michael Aldeguer, WBO Vice-President Leon Panoncillo, Merlito Sabillo, Jorle Estrada and Asia Brewery's Michael Ngo pose during the final presscon of Pinoy Pride XXI at the Solaire Resort Hotel & Casino in Paranaque City.

L-R: Arthur Villanueva, WBO's Leon Panoncillo and Arturo Badillo.

AJ Banal and Abraham Gomez.

For the supporting main event, ‘King’ Arthur Villanueva (21-0, 11 KO’s) faces another acid test when he faces hard-hitting Mexican Arturo Badillo (21-4, 19 KO’s) in a battle for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific superflyweight title.

Villanueva is coming off back to back career best performances against Taiki Eto of Japan and Marco Demecillo of the RWS Gym of Cebu. Villanueva won the OPBF super flyweight title against Eto by unanimous decision in Japan; a fight that saw Villanueva hit the canvas in the first and ninth rounds and Eto getting knocked down in the fourth. He defended his belt for the first time against the previously undefeated Demecillo and gave a terrific boxing display en route to another unanimous points win.

Villanueva and Badillo vowed to leave an impression and knock each other out. AJ ‘Bazooka’Banal will once again try to get rid of his inner demons when he faces another Mexican, Abraham ‘Cholo’ Gomez.

Topnotch former amateur standouts ‘Prince’ Albert Pagara, Jessel Magsayo and Vic Saludar will be featured on the undercards. Pagara (16-0, 11KO’s), a winner of ten golds in national and regional tournaments, will face Thai Khunkhiri Wor Wisaruth (9-4-1, 5 KO’s). Magsayo, who won 9 golds and 2 silvers at the national and regional level, had an explosive pro debut in Pinoy Pride XX, dropping Melton Sandal twice enroute to a first round KO win. He will face Jamjam Ungon of Bantayan Island, Cebu.

Vic ‘Vicious’ Saludar - the brother world ranked flyweight Froilan Saludar and Asian games gold medalist Rey Saludar – will make his pro debut against Juanito Hundante of Metro Manila. Vic was an Asian games bronze medalist and chosen as the best boxer during the Tammer Cup in Finland three years ago.

Completing the card are Elmo Traya vs Diover Mangaya-ay (4 rounds) and Brian Lobitania vs Gilbert Donasales (6 rounds). PINOY PRIDE 21: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE will be held on Saturday July 13 at the Solaire Resort and Casino Grand Ballroom. Fight time is at 6PM.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Rene Bonsubre, Jr..

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